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This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3 and ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1

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Analyzing a Character (Grades 11-12)

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Analyzing a Character

1. 
An excerpt from "The Man Who Could Not Lose" by Richard Harding Davis

The Carters had married in haste and refused to repent at leisure. So blindly were they in love, that they considered their marriage their greatest asset. The rest of the world, as represented by mutual friends, considered it the only thing that could be urged against either of them. While single, each had been popular. As a bachelor, young “Champ” Carter had filled his modest place acceptably. Hostesses sought him for dinners and week-end parties, men of his own years, for golf and tennis, and young girls liked him because when he talked to one of them he never talked of himself, or let his eyes wander toward any other girl. He had been brought up by a rich father in an expensive way, and the rich father had then died leaving Champneys alone in the world, with no money, and with even a few of his father’s debts. These debts of honor the son, ever since leaving Yale, had been paying off. It had kept him very poor, for Carter had elected to live by his pen, and, though he wrote very carefully and slowly, the editors of the magazines had been equally careful and slow in accepting what he wrote.

With an income so uncertain that the only thing that could be said of it with certainty was that it was too small to support even himself, Carter should not have thought of matrimony. Nor, must it be said to his credit, did he think of it until the girl came along that he wanted to marry.

The trouble with Dolly Ingram was her mother. Her mother was a really terrible person. She was quite impossible. She was a social leader, and of such importance that visiting princes and society reporters, even among themselves, did not laugh at her. Her visiting list was so small that she did not keep a social secretary, but, it was said, wrote her invitations herself. Stylites on his pillar was less exclusive. Nor did he take his exalted but lonely position with less sense of humor. When Ingram died and left her many millions to dispose of absolutely as she pleased, even to the allowance she should give their daughter, he left her with but one ambition unfulfilled. That was to marry her Dolly to an English duke. Hungarian princes, French marquises, Italian counts, German barons, Mrs. Ingram could not see. Her son-in-law must be a duke. She had her eyes on two, one somewhat shopworn, and the other a bankrupt; and in training, she had one just coming of age. Already she saw her self a sort of a dowager duchess by marriage, discussing with real dowager duchesses the way to bring up teething earls and viscounts. For three years in Europe Mrs.Ingram had been drilling her daughter for the part she intended her to play. But, on returning to her native land, Dolly, who possessed all the feelings, thrills, and heart-throbs of which her mother was ignorant, ungratefully fell deeply in love with Champneys Carter, and he with her.
A. 
Based on the excerpt, what can you predict about how Dolly Ingram's mother will accept Carter? Support with details from the passage.



B. 
How had getting married affected the two main characters?
  1. It caused them to lose a bit of popularity.
  2. It caused them to become poor.
  3. It caused their families to disown them.
  4. It caused them to be even more madly in love.
C. 
How do the two spouses' family positions differ?



D. 
How was the way Carter conducted himself while single different from a stereotypical wealthy man, particularly when talking with others?



E. 
Based on the passage, why shouldn't the Carters have married in haste?
  1. Carter couldn't afford to marry anyone.
  2. They weren't well-suited for each other.
  3. People enjoyed them better as singles.
  4. Dolly's mother didn't like Carter.
2. 
The Man Upstairs
by P.G. Wodehouse

There were three distinct stages in the evolution of Annette Brougham's attitude toward the knocking in the room above. In the beginning, it had been merely a vague discomfort. Absorbed in the composition of her waltz, she had heard it almost subconsciously. The second stage set in when it became a physical pain like red-hot pincers wrenching her mind from her music. Finally, with a thrill of indignation, she knew it for what it was - an insult. The unseen brute disliked her playing and was intimating his views with a boot-heel.

Defiantly, with her foot on the loud pedal, she struck - almost slapped - the keys once more.

"Bang!" from the room above. "Bang! Bang!"

Annette rose. Her face was pink, her chin tilted. Her eyes sparkled with the light of battle. She left the room and started to mount the stairs. No spectator, however just, could have helped feeling a pang of pity for the wretched man who stood unconscious of imminent doom, possibly even triumphant, behind the door at which she was on the point of tapping.

"Come in!" cried the voice, rather a pleasant voice, but what is a pleasant voice if the soul be vile?

Annette went in. The room was a typical Chelsea studio, scantily furnished and lacking a carpet. In the center was an easel, behind which were visible a pair of trousered legs. A cloud of grey smoke was curling up over the top of the easel.

"I beg your pardon," began Annette.

"I don't want any models at present," said the Brute. "Leave your card on the table."

"I am not a model," said Annette, coldly. "I merely came?"

At this the Brute emerged from his fortifications and removing his pipe from his mouth, jerked his chair out into the open.

"I beg your pardon," he said. "Won't you sit down?"

How reckless is Nature in the distribution of her gifts! Not only had this black-hearted knocker on floors a pleasant voice, but, in addition, a pleasing exterior. He was slightly disheveled at the moment, and his hair stood up in a disordered mop, but in spite of these drawbacks, he was quite passably good-looking. Annette admitted this. Though wrathful, she was fair.
A. 
Which sentence is from the story's exposition?
  1. No spectator, however just, could have helped feeling a pang of pity for the wretched man who stood unconscious of imminent doom. . . .
  2. Not only had this black-hearted knocker on floors a pleasant voice, but, in addition, a pleasing exterior.
  3. There were three distinct stages in the evolution of Annette Brougham's attitude toward the knocking in the room above.
  4. At this the Brute emerged from his fortifications and removing his pipe from his mouth, jerked his chair out into the open.
B. 
Which word best describes Annette's attitude in the passage?
  1. Agitated
  2. Humiliated
  3. Neighborly
  4. Delightful
C. 
Citing an example from the passage, what was Annette like when she approached the neighbor's door?



D. 
Why does the author say "said the Brute" when talking about the man upstairs?
  1. to show what Annette thinks of him
  2. to show what he is really like
  3. to give him a humorous nickname
  4. to reference the character Brutus from Julius Caesar
E. 
Which aspect of the neighbor causes Annette to change her tone?
  1. He thinks she is a model.
  2. He is smoking a pipe.
  3. He has a pleasant voice and exterior.
  4. He invites her to sit down.

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