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Western Heroic Tradition: Home

This guide will assist with research for the English IV presentation on Western Heroic Literature


Your group of 3-4 members will research, craft, and present the lesson in 7-9 minutes.

Each group must determine which aspect of western literature to pursue for this project.

The following should be incorporated within the lesson:

  • Knowledge of the western literarly tradition: archetypal elements, language tools, and structure
  • Knowledge of Oedipus Rex, Things Fall Apart, and one other western classic
  • Knowledge of literary analysis and understanding of postcolonial criticism
  • New researched information about the specific guiding topic of the presentation

Remember to include a complete works cited including the play, the novel, another western classic, and a minimum of 2 articles for support

Possible Guiding Topics

  • Settings—Greek city-states, Umuofia, the village/town, the city, the forest, the sea, the desert, the home, the ship, the battlefront, the meadow, the river, etc.

  • Culture clash/Western perspectives on Africa (and “the Other”); what is “the Other” in classical literature?  What is “the Other” in contemporary American society?

  • Societies falling apart (Yeats’ poem as universal truth)

  • Okonkwo/Oedipus/Mystery Hero/Heroine—a close look at the heroes

  • Societies NOT falling apart (the individual versus society’s evolution)—when is change good/bad, and what are the implications for a traditional western hero when change occurs?

  • History vs. Perception/Representation of Fictitious Characters—true or truthful?

  • Narrative Voice of Things Fall Aparat: does it shift?  Is there more than one?  How is this similar to or different from the ancient classical western tradition/contemporary western tradition?

  • Sophocles and Achebe: how their lives influenced their works (and mystery author)

  • Women in classical western literature—roles, depiction/portrayal, voice, social commentary

  • Language analogies in the western tradition: proverbs, allusions, folktales, songs, etc.  How does the variety of language tools infiltrate/add to the works, and what does it ask of the audience/reader?


Oedipus the King

Things Fall Apart



This guide was created by Churchill librarian with input from Churchill English IV teacher Susan Mann.

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