Lesson Plan

Literary Archetypes in Movies: The Hero's Journey

Students will compare and contrast a self-selected movie to the stages of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.
Rae O.
Co-Director UC Merced Writing Project
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My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

  • Outline the stages of Joseph Campell's Hero's Journey;
  • Analyze character and plot of self-selected movie;
  • Compare the stages of the Hero's Journey to the characters and plot of the self-selected movie;
  • Write an expository/compare & contrast essay in analysis of "text";
  • Evaluate writing using a rubric.
English Language Arts
Grades 6 – 10
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Introduction

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Objective:  Introduction to Joseph Campbell's Literary Archetype the Hero's Journey.

Students create a chart with four columns (stage; explanation of stage; Wizard of Oz; Other Movie) and 13 rows in EVERNOTE.  Show the TedEd video What Makes a Hero by Mathew Winkler.  Students take notes in their EVERNOTE chart recording the stages of the Hero's Journey in the first column and writing an explanation of the stage in the second column.

2 Direct Instruction

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Objective;  Model Analyzing "Text."

Show the YouTube video The Wizard of Oz (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)-Bedtime Story Animation l Best Children Classics HD (13:42) filling in the stages of the Hero's Journey for the story on the EVERNOTE chart in the third column modeling the process for this movie.  Students record information on their charts. Note: The decision to use this animated version of the film was based on the length of the video.  For modelling purposes, I wanted a short video.

3 Guided Practice

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Objective:  Student Analysis of Text.

With a partner or in a small group, students choose a teacher approved full-length movie to watch and analyze using their notes on the archetypal hero's journey.  Pay particular attention to the characters and plot.  Use the fourth column of your EVERNOTE chart to record your findings.  Note:  Teacher can create a list of movies from YouTube and make QR Codes for them for easy access by students on their devices (laptop, smart phones, ipads, tablets, etc.)  Here are some titles that are available on YouTube as full-length movies: Angels in the Outfield; Gulliver's Travels; Mysterious Island (Jules Verne); The Miracle Worker; The Ron Clark Story.



4 Independent Practice

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Objective: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Performance Task:  After watching and analyzing a teacher approved full-length movie of your choice, write an essay in which you analyze the characters and the plot as a representation of the archetypal hero's journey.  To develop your essay, cite specific examples/evidence from the "text."  Warrant your examples/evidence to your thesis--that is, tell how your evidence connects to your thesis--to fully develop your essay.

Compose your essay in Google Docs.

5 Wrapping it Up/Evaluation

Objective: Evaluate writing using a custom rubric.

Using a rubric, evaluate the features of your essay.  Where might you be able to improve?