The Child Savior Myth and Literary Archetypes
— A Set-Up-the-Sub Lesson Plan Using a film clip from Man on Fire
Subject: ELA: Archetypes, Child Savior Myth;
Age: 14+; High School Level;
Length: Film Clip: 22 minutes; Lesson: one 45 - 55 minute class period.
When the classroom teacher is absent, this lesson can provide an important learning experience, as well as an opportunity to keep students interested and working. This lesson plan focuses on an archetype that frequently finds expression in literature.
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will be able to recognize and analyze the child savior myth, a recurring element in literature and film. Students will be introduced to the concept of literary archetypes.
Rationale: Images of children are important in literature and are used to sell products, win elections, and encourage religious devotion. The child as savior, through whom people find truth, the answer to their problems, or salvation is an important feature of many works of fiction. An understanding of the literary archetype of the child savior will help students analyze and appreciate works of fiction. An understanding of the use of images of children in advertising and the media will help students make informed decisions. Finally, this lesson can be used to introduce students to the concept of literary archetypes, an important element of most works of fiction.
"With TWM's Set-Up-the-Sub lesson plans, when you are away, your students will continue to focus on curriculum and the attainment of standards."
This Set-up-the-Sub Lesson Plan shows how a film clip from the movie Man on Fire can support a lesson on the child savior myth and literary archetypes. The clip from Man on Fire shows how the innocence and purity of a child can inspire a man to save himself.
For TWM's Snippet Lesson Plan on the same subject, click here.
For more Set-Up-the-Sub lesson plans, check out the Set-Up-the-Sub Index.
Description of the Film Clip: Man on Fire is an action film in which a former Special Forces operative named Creasy is employed as a bodyguard to protect the young daughter of a wealthy Mexican businessman. Creasy is suffering from remorse for savage deeds committed when he was working in counter-insurgency. As the snippet opens, Creasy is shown drunk, guilt-ridden, and puzzled by a failed attempt to kill himself. Standing in the rain, a clear symbol of purification, he looks up to see the child watching him from the window. Thereafter, Creasy begins tutoring the girl and coaching her efforts to become a better swimmer. He grows increasingly fond of her unrelenting innocence. At the snippet's end, Creasy reaches for the bottle, uncaps it, recaps it, puts it down, and picks up the Bible. He is saved.
How to Use This Guide:
TWM suggests that teachers keep a pre-selected film in their classroom along with any handouts, readings, and other materials that a substitute will need. Be sure to get all of the required permissions from school administrators to allow this clip to be shown.
As you adapt this lesson to the needs and abilities of your classes, modify the Instructions to the Substitute (set out below) to take account of any changes you make. [The complete Set-Up-the-Sub Lesson Plan has a link to a word processing file which contains the Instructions.]
This lesson is designed so that the handouts are returned at the end of the class and can be used in the next class.
- TWM has allotted fifteen minutes for students to read the handout. This should be changed, if necessary, based on the reading abilities of the class. Modify instruction to the Substitute #3 as appropriate.
- If the handout is to be read aloud in class, revise instruction #3 and specify the method of choosing students to read to the class.
Instructions to the Substitute:
1. Before the class arrives, cue the film to DVD scene 7.
2. Tell the class that today's lesson will be about the Child Savior Myth and literary archetypes.
3. Give students the handout and have them read it silently. Give the students approximately 15 minutes to read the handout.
4. Introduce the snippet. The class need only know that in the movie an American named Creasy is employed as a bodyguard to protect the young daughter of a wealthy Mexican businessman from being kidnapped. As the snippet opens, Creasy is suffering from remorse for actions taken while working on counterinsurgency for the Special Forces. Ask the class to look for what role the child plays in the snippet.
5. Show the snippet beginning at DVD scene 7 and running until Creasy puts down the bottle of liquor and picks up the Bible. The snippet is about 22 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW THE MOVIE TO RUN BEYOND THE SNIPPET, SINCE THE MOVIE QUICKLY BECOMES VERY VIOLENT.
Attached to the Set-Up-the-Sub Lesson Plan is a handout describing, in terms that students can understand, the characteristics of the archetype of the child and the child savior myth. The handout also presents a short introduction to literary archetypes and is an integral part of the lesson plan.
Instruction 6 suggests four important points to bring out in a class discussion about the Child Savior Myth and its associated archetype. All of these flow naturally from the Man on Fire film clip suggested by the Set-up-the-Sub Lesson Plan.
7. At the end of the class, collect the handouts so that they can be given to the next class.
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TeachWithMovies.com's Movie Lesson Plans and Learning Guides are used by thousands of teachers in their classrooms to motivate students. They provide background and discussion questions that lead to fascinating classes. Parents can use them to supplement what their children learn in school.
Each film recommended by TeachWithMovies.com contains lessons on life and positive moral messages. Our Guides and Lesson Plans show teachers how to stress these messages and make them meaningful for young audiences.
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The film clip from Man on Fire will engage students in the lesson.
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