Analyzing Tragic Heroes to Increase Awareness of Multiple Perspectives

Stephanie Misko, English, William Amos Hough High School

Final Unit(pdf)   Implementing Teaching Standards(pdf)


In this unit, I will use translations of Aristotle’s Poetics and research from pedagogical experts to theorize that students are more likely to experience a heightened sense of self-awareness if they are able to identify a cathartic change within a fictional character.  Students participating in this unit will engage in a wide variety of activities to analyze character development and perspective, and they will consider how these two factors can evoke a cathartic moment. This unit will use The Kite Runner as a primary text, but can also be applied to many other texts with a “tragic hero,” including Night and Things Fall Apart. Students will have opportunities to turn the analytical lens inward when they create a personal mind map.  This unit requires considerable introspection on the part of the students, so Louis Cozolino’s concept of “tribal learning” will be applied, through classroom activities, so that students feel safe and supported. Furthermore, this unit asks students to incorporate perspectives from the novel, the class, and one another as a means for answering open-ended questions in a profound manner.