Snow: Focus Area 3
The Rebellious Hero
- Snow by Ondine Sherman
- Focus Area 3 – Sky’s Journey Worksheet
- Glossary (selected words appear in bold)
- Craig Batty, Are you monomythic – Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, The Conversation, 2014
- Greta Thunberg, School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules, TED Talk, 2018
- Greta Thunberg and Jonathan Watts, Greta Thunberg, schoolgirl climate change warrior: Some people can let things go, I can’t, The Guardian, 2019
- Mathew Winkler, What Makes a Hero, TED-Ed
- Steps for Writing an Opinion Piece, YouTube, 2015
Suggested Learning Activities
This focus area refers to a range of chapters.
- Can ordinary people be heroes?
- Can one person make a difference?
Heroes and Heroines
- Can you write your own definition of a hero/heroine?
- What qualities or traits might a hero or heroine have?
- Who do you consider to be a hero/heroine? Give examples from literature, film, real world events, personal heroes.
- Have you ever done anything that might be considered heroic?
The Hero’s Journey
- Quick fire research
- Who was Joseph Campbell?
- What areas was he interested in?
- What can you find out about the ‘Hero’s Journey’?
- Now watch the TED-Ed video ‘What Makes a Hero’, by Mathew Winkler, as a class (4.33 minutes). Perhaps watch this twice, asking your students to note down the stages of the hero’s journey in the second viewing. Pause the video at 0.59 seconds to see the stages.
- Students complete the Worksheet – Sky’s Journey.
Additional reading for teachers: ‘Are you monomythic – Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey’.
Below are some points to raise with your students for each of the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey.
- Status Quo – Sky is an ordinary teenager who is thrust into new and challenging circumstances following the death of her mother, a new school and then the prospect of meeting her father, who has been absent in her life until this point.
- Call to Adventure – Sky is called to Alaska. The adventure is a personal one; to meet her father for the first time. The Alaskan wilderness, and what she will witness there, is also part of this adventure.
- Assistance – There are a number of people who assist Sky in her adventure. The voice of her mother, Jaxon, Melody and her father – Adam.
- Departure – Sky crosses the threshold into a new land – from rural, small town Australia to the wildness of Alaska. She also makes a brave departure from her father’s home in Anchorage to the Denali National park, where she faces her ultimate fear – a hunter.
- Trials – Sky is faced with a number of trials, including; the forging of new relationships, the struggles of accepting other people’s values and ways of life, as well as the trial of forgiveness.
- Approach – Sky’s greatest fear in this novel is the death of innocent animals. When she approaches the hunter, Ralph, and witnesses the moose being shot, she must face this fear head on.
- Crisis – Sky has a near death experience when she courageously attempts to stop Ralph from killing the moose. From this crisis point onwards, she becomes closer to her father, who forgoes his reputation and monetary payment from Ralph, in support of his daughter.
- Treasure/Recognition – Sky’s treasure or recognition is the inner pride she gets for staying true to herself and her beliefs – despite the dangerous situation.
- Result – It could also be said that the treasure and result she receives is the development of a stronger bond between father and daughter.
- Return – Sky returns to her ordinary life in Australia after the events which unfold.
- New Life – Sky is forever changed due to her actions and the actions of those around her. Her father will accompany her back to Australia – a new life for both father and daughter.
- Resolution – Not all the plot lines are resolved. Sky is still trying to accept her father’s occupation/views and the reader is yet to know of what their new journey in Australia will bring. Despite this, she has overcome a variety of significant challenges.
Sky, Rebellion and Heroic Status
Facilitate a class discussion on the following:
- What rebellious acts does Sky commit? Are these right, wrong, or somewhere in between?
- Sky’s rebellious choices put her in danger. Are rebellious acts always wrong?
- To what extent can Sky be viewed as a heroine?
- Think about Greta Thunberg – In August of 2018, when she was just 15 years old, she decided to not go to school in order to protest government inaction over climate change. This rebellious act sparked much interest worldwide, and in turn, a global movement to bring more awareness about climate change. Listen to one of the many speeches she has given around the world where she advocates on behalf of the environment.
Students watch: Greta Thunberg: School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules.
- How is Greta an example of a heroine?
- What is courageous about Greta?
- Would you consider her a heroine? Why/Why not?
- Can you make any comparisons between the fictional character of Sky and Greta?
- Greta says:
“People keep doing what they do because the vast majority doesn’t have a clue about the actual consequences of our everyday life, and they don’t know that rapid change is required.”
What do you think she means by this?
- She finishes with this statement:
“We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change - and it has to start today”. Discuss this call to action.
Many people advocate for things they believe should change. This is called social justice activism.
Research one of the following hero/heroines’ of animal protection.
- Peter Singer;
- Jane Goodall;
- Wayne Pacelle;
- Karen Davis;
- Gene Baur;
- Lek Chailert;
- Margaret Murie;
- Steven M. Wise;
- Harriet Hemenway;
- Dian Fossey.
Or another of your choosing.
Students respond to the following points:
- What role have they played in the life of animals?
- What is/was their quest in this regard?
- Where do they/have they worked?
- Did they face any opposition? Perhaps this is ongoing?
- Would you consider this person a hero/heroine? Why/Why not?
Students to share their research during class time. This could be in the form of a short speech presented to a partner, or to a larger audience.
This would make a great homework task!
Standing up for what you believe in and striving to make a difference can be difficult.
- Is there a cause that you believe in, or a concern/issue that you are passionate about?
- Why are you passionate about this cause/concern/issue?
- Even if it is small steps, what can you do to raise awareness about the cause/concern/issue?
6. TAKING IT FURTHER / EXTENSION
Students to compose an opinion piece about the issue they wrote about in the reflection task.
Refer to ‘Steps for Writing an Opinion Piece’ for some pointers.
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