Body Biography Assignment and Rubric

Teachers: feel free to copy+paste / change any of this body biography assignment and body biography rubric to create a body biography handout that fits your needs.

Body Biography Handout

You are responsible for creating a visual representation of your chosen character. Before you begin to draw, read over all of the instructions. Make intelligent decisions about which quotes to use and what to draw.

Video w/ Examples

A Body Biography of Chris McCandless | Doovi


  • You must use strong passages from the text to prove that you really know who your character is. For each element below (the spine, brain, shoulders, and heart), you need to back up your ideas with a quote from the novel.
  • Make sure that the placement of the quotes makes sense (near the heart for things they care about or love, the head for their thoughts, the hands for actions, etc.). Get creative with how you incorporate them. Think about the color, handwriting (or typed font), and size of the words, and try to put them on the poster in an interesting way.
  • Cite all your text evidence correctly (use a parenthetical, and put the Work Cited page on the back of your poster). Use your citation packet, the blog, or Purdue Owl for citation help.


  1. Spine – Your character’s backbone represents who he or she is at the core. List the character’s top two personality traits along the spine.
  1. Brain – The mind represents your character’s beliefs and values. Write two key beliefs or values in or near the character’s brain.
  1. Shoulders – What is a burden to this person? Ask, “What lies heavily on my character’s shoulders?” Figure out what his or her main conflict(s) is/are. Write out one or two conflicts along the shoulders.
  1. Heart – What does this person love/want/desire the most? Write this inside the heart.
  1. Finally, add the TEXT EVIDENCE. Using arrows or some other visual cue (like string or dotted lines), add text evidence (a quote) and analysis (explain your thinking) for each character trait, belief/value, conflict, and desire.

Body Biography Rubric

CONTENT (32 pts)
Claims are clear, accurate, and thoughtful. Text evidence proves claims, and analysis is clear and thorough.
Personality Trait (3) Personality Trait (5)
Belief/Value (3) Belief/Value (5)
Main Conflict (3) Main Conflict (5)
Love/Desire (3) Love/Desire (5)
Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Using Parentheticals (4 pts)
Quotation marks on either side of direct quotes, facing the right direction Triple quotes dialogue. Inner marks single, outer marks double
Quotes text exactly Knows how to change text: Uses brackets and ellipsis appropriately.
Always sets up/introduces quotes — never lets a quote stand by itself! Knows when to flow into a quote, use a comma, or use a colon
Uses parentheticals (even after paraphrased text details) Formats parentheticals correctly and includes the correct information in the parenthetical
Places proper punctuation after the parenthetical Punctuation: Removes end periods, but leaves end ! and ?
Uses block quote for quotations of more than four lines Formats block quoting properly (no quotation marks, leave punctuation as is)
Work Cited (4 pts)
General Work Cited appearance Work Cited entry is formatted correctly

About MrsLamp88

Carly (Stahmer) Lamp graduated from the University of Iowa in 2011 with a BA in English and a teaching certificate in secondary English education. Since the fall of 2011, Mrs. Lamp has been teaching English literature and composition courses at Assumption High School in Davenport, Iowa. She currently teaches AP Lit. and Comp. and English 11. Mrs. Lamp also coaches the Academic Decathlon team and runs the AHS ACT Prep Club. Some of her favorite novels include... American Psycho (Ellis) Beloved (Morison) Wide Sargasso Sea (Rhys) All the Pretty Horses (McCarthy) A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway) High Fidelity (Hornby) Heart of Darkness (Conrad) The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) Catch-22 (Heller) Moby Dick (Melville) The Portrait of a Lady (James) Midnight's Children (Rushdie)
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