Atticus tells Scout that if she can “learn a simple trick,” she will “get along a lot better with all kinds of folks” (33). Atticus says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (33). That’s exactly what you are going to do for your final project.
As your final project, you will write and perform a monologue based on a character from Harper Lee’sTo Kill a Mockingbird.
You will embody a character, taking on his/her traits, beliefs, attitudes, fears, and feelings as your own.
Choose one of the following options:
a) Write a monologue from a moment that doesn’t actually occur in the book (before the book starts, one that isn’t fully described in the book, or an epilogue that takes place after the book ends).
b) The novel is told from Scout’s perspective. Choose one other character in the novel and write a monologue of his/her inner thoughts during a key moment in the plot.
Written Script Requirements:
The monologue must be 3-5 minutes in length (when it is performed).
Write in proper script format (use A Midsummer Night’s Dream for formatting). Use this link to the template on GoogleDocs.
Write a brief scenario (1-2 paragraphs) describing the situation or what has occurred before the start of your monologue. This comes before your description of your setting in your script. This is written only; you will not perform this introduction.
Include stage directions (describe movement, name the emotion the character is experiencing as they speak or describe the way that the character is speaking).
Your monologue must reflect your character’s life story, as told in the novel and as supplemented by you, including but not limited to the following: manner of speaking, vocabulary, voice, attitude, appearance, clothing, age, career or other community role, socioeconomic background, etc. While you may add new information to create a rounder character, you may not contradict anything in the novel.
Your monologue must be historically accurate and should reflect the historical, cultural, and social context of the time period.
Your monologue will be almost like a missing scene from the novel; we’ll see but the only person speaking will be your character. The goal is to show the audience what your character was really thinking inside when certain events from the novel happened.
You get to choose what your character says and the underlying circumstances for the monologue (when, where, and why your character says what s/he does). You even get to make up a backstory that sheds new light on your character—just so long as the new facts you add do not contradict the facts presented in the novel.
A template for writing your monologue can be found on Google Drive. Click here.
The monologue must be memorized if performed live or must appear to be memorized if recorded.
The monologue must be well-rehearsed and polished.
The performance must include costumes and props appropriate to the characters and the monologue.
The performance must be in character. Use voice and movement that reflects the character.
The video and audio quality of the recording must be high; there can be no background noise, shaky cameras, and so on.
Any editing of the video must be done as seamlessly as possible. The video should look professional, not like something you hastily created at the last minute.
If you are not proficient in recording or editing movies, please ask for help from someone who is.
Characteristics of Powerful Monologues:
- Have and make a clear point.
- Reveal the character’s inner thoughts, feelings, tensions, anxieties, and desires.
- Portray powerful and personal emotions.
- May show change in the character – whether a change in heart or attitude.
- Use a variety of tones.
- A monologue that starts in one place and ends up somewhere entirely different will make the tension more dramatic, the characters more compelling, and your script much better.
- A good monologue should be alternatively funny, harrowing, and touching, pointing on no one emotion or no one state by itself.
- Have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Even if the character is not changed significantly, perhaps their decision to speak up is a change in and of itself. A taciturn character driven to a long monologue is revealing, when deployed properly. Why have they spoken up now? How does this change the way we feel about them?
- Consider allowing the character to change as they speak over the course of their monologue. If a character starts in a rage, it might be more interesting for their to end in hysterics, or laughter. If they start out laughing, maybe they end up contemplative. Use the monologue as a vessel for change.
- If it’s a story, it needs to have an arc. If it’s a rant, it needs to change into something else. If it’s a plea, it needs to up the ante over the course of its pleading.
- The beginning of a good monologue will hook the audience and the other characters. The beginning should signal that something important is happening.
- In the middle, the monologue should climax. Build it to its maximum height and then bring it back down to lower the tension and allow the conversation between the characters to continue or end entirely. This is where the specific details, the drama, and the tangents in the monologue will occur.
- The ending should bring the speech or the story back around to the play at hand. The tension of the monologue is relieved and the scene ends on that note of finality.
After writing and performing your monologue, you will write a two- to three-page reflection on what you have learned not only in studying To Kill a Mockingbird and completing this Mockingbird Monologues project, but all what you have learned throughout the entire year in 8th grade English. Full detailed questions to be answered in your reflection will be provided.
1ST ROUGH DRAFT OF MONOLOGUE DUE: FRIDAY, MAY 30TH.
2ND ROUGH DRAFT OF MONOLOGUE (REVISED FROM 1ST ROUGH DRAFT) DUE: MONDAY, JUNE 2ND.
IN-CLASS PERFORMANCES FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO PERFORM: FRIDAY, JUNE 6TH.
FINAL DRAFT OF ENTIRE PROJECT, INCLUDING SCRIPT, VIDEO, AND REFLECTION DUE: MONDAY, JUNE 9TH.
IF YOU COMPLETE THE PROJECT EARLY AND WOULD LIKE TO PERFORM OR SHOW YOUR VIDEO TO THE CLASS BEFORE FRIDAY, JUNE 6TH, YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE EXTRA CREDIT. EXTRA CREDIT WILL BE AWARDED BASED UPON THE QUALITY OF THE PROJECT. FINISHING EARLY DOES NOT GUARANTEE EXTRA CREDIT.
Pre-Writing Help: Mockingbird Monologue Pre-Writing Worksheets — These are Word docs that you can upload into GoogleDocs.
Dr. Walczak adapted ideas found in these sources: