Heroes and Villains

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Heroes and Villains
Writing Course
Course CodeHERO
Year Opened1998
Sites OfferedBRI, CGV, LOS, SRF, WLA
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (1999):

Whether as the evil sultan of Moroccan legends, Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, Dracula, or HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the villain, like the hero, is an archetype who appears in literature, drama, and local lore across cultures and centuries . Narratives about heroes and villains are an important part of our shared traditions. Why do we create them, and what do they say about a society?

While the idea of a hero or villain is a concept familiar to all of us, closer investigations of the development of heroes and villains in literature often place them somewhere along the wide spectrum between good and evil, rather than at one end or th e other. Through misunderstood villains like Shelley’s Frankenstein, anti-heroes like E.B. White’s Templeton the rat, “good” villains like Dickens’s Fagin, or unsung heroes like Alcott’s Jo, students explore what it means to be a hero or villain, and how those terms have changed with time.

Writing projects include narrating an example of heroism or villainy from students’ own experiences and rewriting a well-known story from the point of view of the villain instead of the hero. Through these exercises, students gain the skills necessary for close textual reading and hone their abilities to respond in writing to works they read or see.