Graphing Characters

Here’s an idea to integrate two-dimensional graphing with deep character analysis. Use the right characters, and you’ve got an exciting debate on your hands. Plus, it leads to a beautiful product that’s perfect for Open House.

Two Criteria

Come up with two ways of ranking characters, such as “morality” and “physical strength”. Pick some characters that have different levels of these characteristics.

Finally, ask students to place each character on a graph, with x- and y-axes representing the two criteria. Here’s an example:


I used the following characters:

  • The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard Of Oz
  • Gaston, Beauty and the Beast
  • Mr. Incredible, The Incredibles
  • Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games
  • Ron Weasley, Harry Potter
  • Superman, Superman
  • The Penguin, Batman

My Justification

The Wicked Witch isn’t physically powerful, she relies on an army of monkeys and is easily defeated by a bucket of water.

She is, however, more powerful than The Penguin, due to her magic. Gaston is certainly the most physically powerful of the three characters with low morality.

Superman and Mr. Incredible are equally powerful, but Mr. Incredible has several moral lapses that move him down the y-axis.

Neither Katniss nor Ron are physically strong, but both have high levels of morality. I put Katniss a bit lower, due to her controversial love triangle :)


Let’s increase the math connection by labeling the four quadrants.

  • Quadrant I: Heroes – Powerful, morally strong characters.
  • Quadrant II: Underdogs – Physically weak, but morally strong characters.
  • Quadrant III: Masterminds – Physically weak, evil characters.
  • Quadrant IV: Brutes – Powerful, evil characters.

The Best Part

Did you disagree with my placement? Great because your students will disagree also, and they’ll get into a fascinating discussion about character analysis.

Other Criteria

Looking for some more ways to graph characters?

  • fear
  • pride
  • courage
  • knowledge
  • happiness

Naturally your students are going to come up with even better ideas for graph characters.

The Product

Let students pick five characters from a huge list. Have students create graphs using cutout characters, printed graphs with color printers, or hand-illustrated creations. Include brief explanations for each character.

If you’re up for the challenge, let students chose a third criteria and build 3D graphs to hang around the room.