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Activity Overview


In literature, an “everyman” has come to mean an ordinary individual that the audience or reader easily identifies with, but who has no outstanding abilities or attributes. An everyman hero is one who is placed in extraordinary circumstances and acts with heroic qualities. While lacking the talent of the classical hero, they exhibit sound moral judgment and selflessness in the face of adversity. See our lesson on defining an Everyman Hero!

Use that lesson with your class to come up with five common characteristics of an everyman hero. Then, use the following five-cell spider map to highlight how Morrie meets these common characteristics of an “everyman hero” in the memoir Tuesdays with Morrie.



Brave

Even though Morrie is diagnosed with a devastating disease, he faces it with purpose, and finds a way to share his experiences beyond his death by working with Mitch on their “final thesis” together. He is afraid sometimes, but he acknowledges the fear, detaches, and doesn’t let it take over.


Scared, But Determined

While Morrie has coughing fits that leave him gasping for air, and even as he becomes more weak, he still makes sure he is ready for Mitch every Tuesday to get his message and lessons onto the tape recorder. It is this sense of purpose that gives Morrie strength.


Upstanding Character

Morrie is a well-loved teacher, husband, and father to all who know him. He puts his family first, and even though his own father was a silent man, he made sure to shower his own sons with affection and never leave them wanting love from him. He is honest and trustworthy, and he follows his heart, even if it means rejecting society’s standards about what is important.


Compassionate

While Morrie is suffering, he still wants to delve into Mitch’s life and what is bothering him. First, he knows that Mitch is unhappy because he is unfulfilled by only focusing on his work. Second, Morrie knows that Mitch is struggling inside because his brother in Spain is battling pancreatic cancer, and Mitch doesn’t know how to reach out to him. Morrie cares as much about Mitch’s struggles as he does about his own.


Stands Up for Beliefs

During the Vietnam War, Morrie was so fiercely opposed to the war that he and other members of the sociology department at Brandeis gave their male students As so they could keep their deferments. It may not have been ethical, but it was something that Morrie believed in strongly.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Everyman Hero

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/4] Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task
  • [ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/5] Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Morrie can be considered an everyman hero.


  1. Identify events of the story or characteristics of Bert that fit into attributes of an everyman hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Brave; Scared, But Determined; Upstanding Character; Compassionate; and Stands Up for Beliefs.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Morrie as an everyman hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.



Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Characteristics of an Everyman Hero
Create a storyboard that traces the development of the everyman hero in the text by highlighting the five common characteristics of an everyman hero. Create a scene for each characteristic that highlights how it is utilized throughout the work. Add a brief quote or explanation under each scene that highlights an important piece of the element being depicted. Make sure the art in your scenes is historically and factually accurate to the story.
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
27 Points
Beginning
22 Points
Try Again
17 Points
Characteristics of an Everyman Hero
The five common characteristics of an everyman hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are accurate and appropriate to the characteristics being depicted.
3-4 common characteristics of a everyman hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are mostly accurate for the characteristics being depicted.
2 common characteristics of a everyman hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations may be minimal or inaccurate for the characteristics being depicted.
1 common characteristics of a everyman hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes/and or explanations may be inaccurate, missing, or too limited to score.
Artistic Depictions
The art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate to the work of literature. It is evident that the student spent a lot of time, creativity, and effort into carefully crafting each artistic depiction.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be historically appropriate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. It is evident that the student stayed on task and put time and effort into crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate, but there are serious deviations that cause confusion or inaccuracies. The student may not have paid much attention to detail in crafting each depiction, and there may be evidence of rushing or limited effort.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically inappropriate, missing, or too limited to score. It is evident that the student did not put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into crafting each artistic depiction.
English Conventions
Ideas and quotes are organized. Displays control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Shows careful proofreading.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Contains few errors in grammar, usage and mechanics. Shows some proofreading.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics which interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
Contains too many errors in grammar, usage and mechanics; (and/or) errors seriously interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.




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