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Theme for my comp class

For the freshman composition course I'll be teaching at Lesley, I had to pick a theme to focus the readings and writing assignments around. I thought that was cool because it's an opportunity to make the class about something interesting, but I found myself really struggling. I wanted an idea I'd enjoy enough to talk about for fourteen weeks, as well as have enough dimension so there were more than a handful of questions to ask. But I also needed something that would have plenty of possible readings, and would come off as sufficiently weighty as to be appropriate for the college level. Personally I believe any art can be analyzed in a significant way if you take the right perspective on it, but I wanted to make a good first impression with this first class I'm teaching.

I settled on the idea of "What does choice of protagonist mean about the people who read and write the story?" I wasn't that enthused about it, because I felt like I didn't have any other really good ideas, but I'm coming around to it. The paragraph summary:

"We often shorthand the concept of the protagonist in storytelling to “hero.” Though the two are not completely one and the same, the implications of that connection have a strong influence on which figures we choose as the centers of the narratives we read and write. This course will examine the “heroes” of significant works from various time periods, genres, and mediums to analyze what they mean for us personally and culturally. What qualities do we tend to find in protagonists? How have these qualities changed over time? What does this say about the values of their producers and consumers? Readings will facilitate examination of specific protagonists, as well as including commentary on the concept of heroes and protagonists and the questions they raise. Writing assignments will reflect on, analyze, and research what makes these central figures likable, compelling, or meaningful enough to follow their stories, as well as the implications on the cultures that react to them."

I hope that seems interesting. I also like that because pretty much all narratives have a protagonist, so there's lots of possible works to choose from. I think there will be lots to talk about, so even if it's not as fun a topic as I hope, it should facilitate the class well enough.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 10th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
I like it -- among other things, it gives you a nice focus for getting people to break out of their comfortable assumptions about the viewpoint character. I'm especially intrigued by the opportunities posed around that word "likeable" -- an assignment specifically to explore a protagonist who is *not* conventionally likeable, but who commands respect, interest and/or sympathy could be a fascinating chance to stretch. (For that matter, storytelling from the clear villain's viewpoint can often be great.) And there's all sorts of scope for exploring the cultural implications of those terms.

Good choice, IMO...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
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at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

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"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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