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Lesson Plan

Looking for the Byronic Hero Using Twilight's Edward Cullen

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Looking for the Byronic Hero Using Twilight's Edward Cullen

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Joyce Bruett

Joyce Bruett

Brookhaven, Mississippi

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Session Five

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • develop an understanding of the term Byronic hero, making comparisons between the traditional hero and the villain to see the characteristics that make up the Byronic hero.

  • discuss several texts that feature a character who can be considered a Byronic hero.

  • expand their understanding of the characteristics of the Byronic hero through a choice-based project.

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Session One

  1. Begin the lesson by asking students to start listing characters from literature, movies, television shows, video games, and comics on the hero and villain charts you have posted in the classroom or on the overhead.

  2. After students have listed a number of characters, shift the discussion by asking them to list the reasons that certain characters were listed the way they were (e.g., Batman is the hero because he tries to save people, and the Joker is the villain because he tries to kill people).

  3. Look for (or introduce) examples that can complicate the distinction between hero and villain, such as Batman, the " Dark Knight."

  4. Introduce the concept of Byronic hero by sharing and discussing appropriate background information from the links provided and the Characteristics of the Byronic Hero.

  5. Have students review the characters they placed on the Hero and Villain charts and consider which of them might be appropriately placed in a "Byronic Hero" column.

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Session Two

  1. Allow students to add any other characters to the Hero, Villain, or Byronic Hero charts from the first session.  Also allow students to move any characters to other charts, justifying why they were added or moved.

  2. Explain to students that they will be delving deeper into the concept of the Byronic hero by examining one character: Edward Cullen from Twilight.

  3. Using a computer with a projector, share the Venn diagram with your students and discuss how the tool works.

  4. Using the book and movie Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, discuss Edward Cullen, the main vampire character, as an example Byronic hero.  Use the Venn diagram to show how the character of Edward can be seen as the Hero, Villain, or Byronic Hero (overlapping area on diagram). 

  5. Elicit from students traits or specific examples of behaviors or attitudes that help classify the character as a Byronic hero.

  6. Then ask students who are most familiar with the book and/or movie to discuss the significance of thinking about the character in this complex way, as neither traditional hero nor villain, but rather something that is in between.

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Session Three

  1. Begin this session by reviewing the discussion of the Byronic hero and Edward Cullen from Session Two.

  2. Explain that students will now have a chance to apply their learning to a character of their choice, using the Examples of Byronic Heroes handout, the Characteristics of the Byronic Hero, and the Venn diagram tool to explore the complexity of the character.

  3. Ask students to choose a character (labeling their diagram with the character they chose) and to compare and contrast the aspects of the character by labeling one circle as "Hero" and the other as "Villain," showing the Byronic characteristics in the overlapping center. 

  4. Give students time to complete their Venn diagram, reminding them that their work cannot be saved and should be printed prior to the end of the session.

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Session Four

  1. Have students pair up for discussion of their printed Venn diagram.  Students can partner with someone who did the same character and compare their answers and reasoning, or they can partner with someone who chose a different character to compare and contrast them.

  2. Pose the following questions to the students to think about after their partner discussion for either a continued partner discussion or a classroom discussion:

    • For your character, what single characteristic was most dominant or obvious? Give examples.

    • What common elements did they find most characters possessed?

    • Did characters from different genres have significantly different character traits?

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Session Five

  1. Introduce the final project by distributing and discussing the Byronic Hero Projects handout with the students. Clarify due dates and any other pertinent information.

  2. Students opting to create a book cover can use the Book Cover Creator and the Book Cover Planning Sheets to help set up their book covers or use it as a guide or template. Students opting to write the expository essay can use the Story Map or the Literary Elements Map to help set up their essay or use it as a guide or template.

  3. Give students time to begin work on their projects in class so they can clarify, ask questions, collaborate, and use computers for the remainder of the class period.

  4. Because these projects are so varied, consider giving students a chance to use the Sample Project Rubric as a starting point for creating agreed-upon rubrics with criteria specific to the demands of each of the choices.

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EXTENSIONS

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Use students’ completed Venn diagrams to check for understanding before moving on to the final project.

  • Assess students using the Sample Project Rubric or the rubrics the class created on their own.

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