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Engaging Secondary Students Through Secondary Worlds: An Approach to Teaching Tolkien at the High School Level

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title
Engaging Secondary Students Through Secondary Worlds: An Approach to Teaching Tolkien at the High School Level
author
Casey, Madison
abstract
Despite changes made to expand the high school canon, the fantasy genre is still largely excluded from high school English curricula. This pedagogical thesis proposes that the secondary worlds of fantasy literature, and particularly J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, provide unique, creative lenses through which students can examine and respond to the world around them. Drawing on a range of fantasy theories, this analysis maps the experiences of the hobbit protagonists in The Lord of the Rings onto students’ experiences with the novel and the fantasy genre more generally to demonstrate how students can construct meanings specific to their own lives and the world around them through the secondary world of the text. Additionally, sub-creation, or the construction of credible fantasy worlds, presents a unique creative tool through which they can express themselves and forge imaginative new possibilities for their own worlds. As such, this thesis presents a student-centered, constructivist unit plan for teaching Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring in a secondary English classroom which immerses students in ongoing debates about the fantasy genre as well as in Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth and invites them to determine the relevance of both the novel and the fantasy genre to their own lives.
subject
Fantasy theory
High school English
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings
contributor
Lee, Derek (committee chair)
Lancaster, Zak (committee member)
Mitchell, Joan (committee member)
date
2022-05-24T08:36:05Z (accessioned)
2022-05-24T08:36:05Z (available)
2022 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/100746 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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