I Need a Superhero
Download the PDF version of this lesson plan.
The idea of the hero is something that even very small children understand at some level. Many perennially favorite picture books feature heroic characters (such as Max in Where the Wild Things Are — a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey). As children grow, their exposure to different manifestations of the hero broadens. They encounter heroes in television, movies, books, magazines and music, and on the pages of their local newspapers.
The heroic archetype features prominently in literary analysis at the high school level. A clear understanding of, and the ability to manipulate and apply, this idea is critical to any approach to world literature for the high school student. Unlike most of the Mensa Foundation’s lesson plans, this one includes the reading of a long novel as its culminating assignment.
This lesson plan was designed to tie into the Mensa Hero Bracket Challenge that began in the October 2010 issue of the Mensa Bulletin, with the results announced in the March 2011 issue. It is not necessary to read the article, however, for students to benefit from the lesson plan. If you are a member of Mensa, you (or your students) may read about the Hero Bracket Challenge in the October 2010 issue.
- What makes a hero?
- Where do we find heroes?
- How are heroes in books different from heroes in real life?
- What is the journey of the hero and how does the archetype manifest itself?
After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to:
- Explain what makes a hero and the elements of the heroic journey.
- Recognize heroic figures in multiple media.
- Analyze a literary work for the heroic archetype.
- Analyze a piece of literature for elements of the hero and the heroic journey.
- Write an essay comparing and contrasting heroes in two works.
- Ensure Internet access to look up relevant sites.
- Get a copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
- Print out copies of this plan as needed.