Tag Archives: analysis

The Hero and Anti-Hero

6th February 2016

Ody vs. Burton

My freshmen classes are currently reading Homer’s The Odyssey. We basically read excerpts from Books 1, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 21, 22, and 23 as I assume many high school English classes do.

I read basically every other book with them as a whole class. We take notes on the book using an easy mind-map sheet, watch film clips that pertain to the book, and then discuss important literary elements present such as archetypes, epic similes, allusions, etc.

For the remaining book I do not teach as a whole class, the student teams are responsible for reading the book together as a table and then completing an assigned task that they will later present to the class on the book. This is a great way to break up the reading material and also deepen their knowledge of the text itself.

Ultimately, however, the goal is for them to understand that Odysseus is an epic hero who fits the hero archetype and conquers the hero’s journey.

I want the students to be able to argue who is more valuable to society: the hero or the anti-hero?

Once this is established, I will counter the hero archetype with that of the anti-hero. In this second half of the quarter, the students will begin to watch film clips of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie), Edward Scissorhands (Edward), and Corpse Bride (Victor) – which they love, but still have to take pretty detailed notes on.


Students engage in a mini-film study in order to be able to analyze how Tim Burton uses specific cinematic techniques in order to present an argument about the role of the anti-hero in society (just like Homer uses specific literary devices to convey his message about the hero).

Finally, the students defend their choice, hero or anti-hero, in a Socratic Seminar using non-fiction articles (see above links to a few that I use) and their knowledge of The Odyssey and Burton’s film clips.

At the end of the quarter we crown a winner, is it Odysseus or Burton?



Group Magazine Project

21st January 2016

Societal Issues My Honors Sophomores are currently reading Of Mice and Men using a critical lens and are working towards writing their lens analysis essay. I am currently working on their next assignment. I am planning on having them examine literature through mainly historical, cultural, and economic lenses in order to answer the quarter’s essential question: What role does literature play in the examination of recurring societal issues?

My goal is to create a collaborative magazine that answers the essential question using literature we have read so far this year and the students own research.

Here is what I plan on asking students to do individually:

  1. Choose one piece of literature we have read this year that you feel examined a societal issue closely.
  2. Analyze this piece of literature through a historical, cultural, or economic lens and determine how the author used said lens to comment on the societal issue of the time period.
    1. You must choose an excerpt of the piece and annotate it digitally through your chosen lens.
    2. Explain the author’s argument on the societal issue you have selected through a 2 WWH paragraph analysis.
  3. Then, choose one piece of current media that examines a different societal issue (than the one chosen above) from today.
    1. You must show evidence from the piece (annotations or commentary) with correct MLA citation from the media you choose that best shows the author/director/producer’s argument on the societal issue at hand.
    2. Explain the media’s argument on the societal issue you have selected through a historical, cultural, or economic lens through a 2 WWH paragraph analysis.

Then, as a team they will collaborate and create the following:

  1. Using Jilster.com, an online magazine creator, synthesize your individual findings from above into a team project which includes:
    1. A magazine cover that:
      1. Has a clever and witty title for the magazine
      2. Words or phrases that synthesizes the magazine’s pages
      3. Largely displays the one sentence argument answering the essential question: What role does literature play in the examination of reoccurring societal issues?
  1. Graphics that represent the literature and media analyzed throughout the magazine
  2. Digital excerpts of piece analyzed (with annotations) and the WWH analysis paragraph of excerpted pieces (What is the lens? where is the evidence of that lens in the content? how does that lens identify the societal issues of that time period?) Statements with correct MLA citations.
  3. Four “filler” pages relating to your lenses and the literature included to entertain/amuse readers. Select from the following list, or add your own filler after getting it approved by me. Just remember all fillers MUST RELATE your magazine’s overall argument on the essential question.
    1. Paparazzi photo – catch a character/person in “the act”
    2. Horoscopes of Characters from pieces included in magazine
    3. Crossword puzzles/word searches/riddles
    4. Classified job section for Characters from pieces included in magazine
    5. Comic/cartoon/illustration created by a group member
4. MLA work cited of all literature/media discussed

I am hoping this assignment will get them thinking critically about what we read in school and what they view in the outside world, as well as, how these exposures reveal varying perspectives about societal issues.