Caitlin Hawkins Swilky Eng 171 Assignment Sequence Prompt #1 Characteristics of a Hero/Heroine Write a short essay (1-2 pages

) explaining what you think qualifies a person as a hero/heroine. Consider the examples used in your quick write from class and think of other examples from your own life, the news, books, movies, etc. to come up with a list of criteria for determining who is or is not a hero/heroine. Please use specific examples or stories from your life which demonstrate how characters or people you chose to discuss measure up in terms of your criteria. Some questions to think about: How do you define the term “heroic”? What personality traits or skills would be on your list? Do certain actions or behaviors make someone more heroic than someone else? Do heroes/heroines need to possess all of the traits to earn that label? Also consider, what makes someone a victim or villain (or in general, not a hero)? Please make your paper 12-point font, times new roman and double-spaced. Rationale: I really want kids to get a basic definition from their own experiences written down so we can discuss this in class. People usually have a few heroes they keep in the back of their mind as someone they look up to, my goal is to have them think deeper about those and determine why they view those people as heroes. If a student doesn’t have any go-to heroes to write about then this assignment will hopefully help them to realize some heroes that are in their lives. Family members or characters all serve as great starting points and this will help students connect with the unit as well as give them a starting point for their future assignments. Prompt #2 Evaluating and applying your definition of a hero In this essay (2-3 pages) please choose a story and examine who plays the role of the hero, the villain and the victim. Challenge our “typical” interpretations of the story you choose. For example, in The Three Little Pigs you could argue that the wolf is the victim, while the eldest pig is the villain, choosing another character as the hero. You can choose a common children’s story, a novel or piece of writing from class, or any other story you would like to write about. Remember when selecting your piece that you need to have enough content to write 2-3 pages describing your own interpretation. Remember to justify your decisions with citations from the text and to use your previous definition of a hero/heroine, victim and villain. If those definitions have changed from class discussions explain why the change occurred. How did you define the “heroic” before? How has

that changed? Has it changed? How were you able to change the roles of the characters? Did characters actions/opinions/actions make them more likely to fit certain unconventional roles? What make a character fit certain roles? Did applying your previous definitions complicate your ability to define each role? If it did, how so? How does applying your list of characteristics of a hero, villain or victim change how you think about those roles? Please make your paper 12-point font, times new roman and double-spaced. Rationale: In this paper I’m hoping to have students take their new understanding from writing their first prompt and class discussions and apply it to a real story. I’m hoping that having them look at a story they know well and attempting to see if from a different point of view that might not be explicitly written will help them to see how to think in more abstract ways. One goal of this unit is to have students be able to recognize that in every situation there are multiple sides to the story. No right or wrong opinion or way of looking at it, but instead an understanding that they can develop in seeing things from all sides (especially dealing with middle school I would like to eventually transfer this to real life drama and fights in school to help them be more sympathetic with others). Prompt #3 Creating Your Own Hero For this assignment you will be asked to switch your writing style and adapt a creative writing lens to write with. Write a story of your own which contains at least 4 characters, a conflict, and dialogue. One of the characters should be someone who demonstrates a version of the “hero” you have described previously in class work. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to include characters who fit the roles of the victim and villain as well, though I won’t require that. This piece should be 4-5 pages and can be set in any time or place that you feel comfortable writing about. Get creative with this piece and challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone if you feel able to. What kind of traits do you want your hero or villain to possess? Are there certain traits you will purposely leave out of characters? What kind of literary devices will you use to show the reader who is the hero/villain/victim? How can you show the reader which character fits each role without explicitly telling them? How does a characters past play into their depiction now? Will you allow the reader to see beyond the present moment in the characters life? How much will you allow the reader to be inside each characters mind? We will continue to work with this piece so perhaps writing something related to your own life or something you are passionate about would be interesting! Please write your story in 12-point font, times new roman and double-spaced. Rationale: This assignment is more of a framework for future work in the class. Originally my third prompt was going to be to have students re-write the story they chose for their second prompt but I didn’t feel that doing that would benefit students enough to make it worth while. Having students

create their own hero in a story will hopefully help them get an even better understanding of how to apply their idea of what makes a character a hero in a different way. Next I plan to have them look more into villains in different texts. I will have them return to this paper and re-write their story from the viewpoint of another character in a way that will hopefully either change the readers understanding of the character they chose as their hero originally or present a new possible hero for the story. Prompt #4 Examining the Villain Now that we have watched The Wizard of Oz and read “Wicked”, you have experienced what it is like to see the villain in one story and see how they become something else through a different story. Seeing a situation through some else’s eyes can change the meaning of the whole story. Take what you have learned in class and return to your writing from prompt #3. Choose a character from the story who was not the main character in your original piece and write the same story from their point of view. Use this opportunity to show the original main character in a new light or display this new character as an “unsung hero” or sorts. Perhaps your character for this story will be the villain of the first story but become better understood in this second writing. Remember to use the same plot line as your first story and the same events, just viewed from a different persons perspective. Feel free to invent new events that could have occurred during the first story but not in the presence of your original character. You can create histories for the characters that wasn’t mentioned in the first story or alter any side parts of the story so long as the main plot and events stay similar. Consider the following questions: How did authors of The Wizard of Oz and “Wicked” depict their characters to play both roles? What kind of information did they provide the audience in each piece? What did the author leave out? What initially makes the audience question the conventional roles? What kind of literary devices could be used to change how the audience views a character? Is there some history or secret agenda you could reveal to the reader that would influence their view of each characters role? How do certain events impact different people differently? Please write your story in 12-point font, times new roman and double-spaced. Rationale: In this story I’m hoping to challenge students to take what they saw demonstrated through the movie and text combination and how those two interact through the characters and apply it to their own writing. I think that asking students to rewrite the story from someone else’s perspective will help them work towards my goal or learned to see situations in real life from other peoples perspectives as well. Next I would like to move more towards looking at morality with the students and while still in the context of “heroic” actions, begin to apply more heroic ideas to every day actions.

Prompt #5 Analyzing the Different Sides Consider the movies Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Write a 3-4 page reflection examining and analyzing how each defines and represents the heroic differently. What does each film glorify? What does each film deem “villainous”? How does it change between the two sides of the same battle? What does this tell you about the values of each culture and the way each side views the war? How does morality play a role in each sides technique in fighting the battle? Does culture play a role in how each side handles the battle? Both movies were directed by Clint Eastwood, how does he change his style as he depicts different sides of the same event? What does he highlight or neglect in each film? Be sure to example how each film depicts the different sides of the war to convey different definition of heroic actions and how it sympathizes with the other sides of the war. Please make it 12-pt font, Times New Roman and double-spaced. Rationale: I created this assignment as a bridge between having students write their own characters and altering it and applying that to real life events. One goal for this unit is for students to be able to see real life situations from multiple perspectives. By asking students to go in-depth with how the director portrayed each side of the war, I’m hoping they will see the biases and gaps in the movies and be able to move smoothly on to the next assignment where they pick their own event to analyze without as much concrete evidence as they get from these two movies.

Prompt #6 Applying What You’ve Learned Now that we have closely examined both Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima showing two sides to the same battle and also considering the mindset you used in writing your story from a different perspective, think back to a major event in history. Stick to major events such as wars, genocides, terrorist acts, or assassinations. Write a piece showing or describing how an event such as that may have turned out differently had the two sides recognized and respected where the other side was coming from. For example, there was a reporter once who went to Afghanistan showing people our iconic image of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center asking them what they though it was – they thought it was a picture of a building in Baghdad. If citizens of the Middle East understood what first sent our country to war would it change how they have received us in their country? When choosing your event to discuss consider the following:  Were there two definite sides to this event?

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Would if have been possible for one side to show the other side where they were coming from? If both sides were able to put themselves in each other’s shoes, would the outcome have been different? What kind of impact would that have had on our world today if things would have been different?

You can either write this in the form of a research paper or you can write it as a creative piece written from the perspective of someone on one side of the conflict. Regardless of the form of writing please include a works cited page to show the research you have done into the event you chose and how you came to the conclusion that you did. If you choose to do a research paper, don’t simply answer the questions above, take it further and show how your thinking developed from the information you found. Please make it 12-pt font, Times New Roman and double-spaced. Rationale: In this assignment I wanted to help students really apply their learning from the unit and see how they can use that in a real world situation. Writing a realistic story for their last two assignments was a good lead up to them applying their thinking to this type of situation. My goal for this unit is to have students understand how important it is to see a situation from multiple sides. This type of assignment would also allow me to do a lesson or two on how to evaluate sources and choose credible ones. Prompt #7 Considering Morality As we have discussed in class, morality is something that people think they have a definition for, but when we question it and try to pick at it – sometimes it can fall apart. Morality is not always justifiable by standard means of a definition. Taking what you have learned in this unit, come up with an over-arching stance on the issue of morality and the role it plays in our lives. How does it affect our ability to distinguish people as “heroes/heroines” and others as “villains”? Do you believe our morals are consistent? Why or why not? How are our morals constructed? Feel free to write your opinion on these topics and write in the first person. I want to see what kind of thinking you are doing and how this unit has affected the way that you view these issues. Write at least 3 pages on this topic. Make sure to encompass all of the learning we have done, tying in your original story choice from prompt #1, the story you wrote, The Wizard of Oz and Wicked as well as the historical event you chose. If you want to bring in outside sources for this paper you may, but it should mostly be coming from your thoughts and opinions. Please make your paper 12-point font, Times New Roman and double-spaced. Rationale: This paper is serving as kind of a checkpoint for me. I think that I have covered a lot of what I wanted to cover but I could certainly bring in more examples of moral dilemmas for the class.

We didn’t do a lot of large unit readings in this unit but I might throw in a few more prompts before this one to help students broaden their definitions and experience dealing with morals. I like this one as a final prompt because it gives the students a chance to synthesize their learning and see what they have learned. I would be open to ideas on a different final prompt though!

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