Discussion of Superheroes' Roles in Our Culture and How Americans View Philanthropy

9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords & Concepts: 

Students will understand archetypes, the roles that superheroes play in our culture, and how Americans view philanthropy.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 50 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define archetypes.
  • understand the role of superheroes in our culture.
  • identify factors in American society that can shape how we view philanthropy.
  • Archetypes Definitions and Quotes(Handout One)
  • Discussion Questions (Handout Two) Spanish version (Handout Three)
Home Connection 

Attachment Two: Archetypes Definitions and Quotes. Students should discuss whom they viewed from their childhood and teen years as the archetype of their generation before they proceed to answer the questions. They may add elements of the discussion with their parents to their answers.

  • Alderman, Nathan. Alex Ross Interview.
    < http://nathan.huah.net/writing/alexross.html >(21 February 2003)

  • Georgia College & State University IDST 2305 Topics in the Humanities and Fine Arts.
    <http://www.gcsu.edu/acad_affairs/coll_artsci/int/hero.html> No longer available. (17 August 2002)

  • Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1955.

  • Meyer, Michael, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1990.

  • Seavey, John. The Final Word.
    < http://home.mn.rr.com/ofangs/harmoneye/orignon/finalword.html > [no longer available]
    (17 August 2002)

  • Zehnder, Sean. The Hero and the Shadow: A Study of the Factors of Age and Gender in the Perception and Understanding of Archetypes of Good, Evil, and the Duality of Human Existence.
    < http://kidtv.georgetown.edu/
    zehnder/Shadow_ressearch_proposal.pdf > [no longer available]
    (17 August 2002)

  • The Zodiac Master. <http://www.thezodiac.com/archetypesa.htm > (21 February 2003)


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students to volunteer anything they know about archetypes. Discuss.

  2. Have students read the definition of archetypes from Attachment One: Archetypes Definitions and Quotes.

  3. Identify commonalities between the various definitions in Attachment One: Discussion Questions.

    • Have them write a definition in their own words.
    • Have volunteers share their definitions with the class for feedback and tweak if necessary.
    • Hand out Attachment Two: Archetypes Definitions and Quotes. Read through notes on archetypes handout and discuss questions as a whole class. For homework, have the students answer any or all of the questions in writing.

Evaluate students' written definitions of archetype. Evaluate students' written responses to the discussion questions. You may choose to have a content grade and a writing grade.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.7 Identify contemporary factors in society that can shape or affect how society views philanthropic giving.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark HS.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.