Comparing & Contrasting Characters, Settings & Events: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

To understand literature, it may be helpful to compare and contrast characters, settings, and events found in the stories. Consider the Venn diagram in this lesson to review Louis Sachar's novel, ''Holes.'' Updated: 01/05/2022

Compare and Contrast

Think about your two favorite foods. How are they alike? How are they different? For example, you may love pizza and ice cream, and while they're both delicious, one is savory and one is sweet. When you think about how things are alike and how things are different, you're comparing and contrasting.

To compare, you look at two or more things to see what they have in common. To contrast, you look at two or more things to see what is different. Here's an example of how you can organize your information.

Venn diagram
Venn diagram

A Venn diagram is a graphic organizer (like the one you're looking at here) used to show similarities and differences.

Let's look at a novel by Louis Sachar called Holes to find examples of comparing and contrasting when you read.

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  • 0:04 Compare and Contrast
  • 0:50 Characters & Setting
  • 3:49 Lesson Summary
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Characters & Setting

Before we begin, let's check out a brief summary of Holes.

Stanley Yelnats believes he is under a curse, which started with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley gets into trouble for something he claims he didn't do, and goes to a boy's detention center called Camp Green Lake to serve his punishment. The boys at the camp dig holes five feet wide by five feet deep every day to build character.

Soon, Stanley thinks there is more than just digging going on. He thinks the Warden is looking for something. But what? Stanley is determined to figure out what could be hidden in a dried up lake.

Now that you know a little bit about the story, let's dig in to compare and contrast the setting.

When Stanley first arrives at Camp Green Lake, it's kind of funny because there's no lake! It has been dried up for over 100 years. The land is barren and it's extremely hot outside. He sees a bunch of holes and close to the Warden's cabin there's a hammock hanging between the only two trees there.

As the story unfolds, we learn that over 100 years ago Camp Green Lake was different. The lake was filled with crystal clear, blue water. Surrounding the lake, you would see peach trees. It was a small town with only one school.

After reading the two descriptions of Camp Green Lake, can you pick out the details that are the same? Do you notice details that are different?


  • Still called Camp Green Lake
  • Trees
  • People still live there


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