Quick Hit: Brainstorming

I just got back from my first viewing of The Dark Knight Rises (oh, believe me; there will be subsequent viewings…).  My brain is positively churning  – seething, I tell you! – with ideas and thoughts and musings.

I’ve decided that the fact that I’m not employed doesn’t in any way keep me from designing classes, and I want more than anything right now to design a class – probably a film as literature course – around the idea of the ambiguous hero.  The Nolan Batman is a fantastic foundation for this course, into which I’m planning to weave Snape (and probably Dumbledore), the Creature from Frankenstein, and Oskar Schindler (though he might be a bit tricky as he was a real person, but I think there could be some critical thinking gold to be mined there).  I’ve also got some Shakespeare characters in mind, as well as Jax from Sons of Anarchy and Raylan from Justified (though, depending on the class level, I may or may not be able to show episodes from those shows, despite the fact they’re on television).

Here’s where you come in, Dear Readers.  Who are your favorite morally ambiguous characters?  These can be from movies, literature, or television; the only requirement is that they exhibit some sort of moral stickiness – so much the better if that stickiness makes them more intriguing or attractive.

Aaaand, GO!



Filed under analysis, critical thinking, doing my own homework, Dream Course, film as literature, lesson planning, popular culture

9 responses to “Quick Hit: Brainstorming

  1. M

    Basically everyone from the Game of Thrones series, especially Tyrion Lannister. Both Draco Malfoy and Snape. Gatsby, for sure. Have you seen Spike Lee’s “25th Hour”? The main character, Monty Brogan, is a great example. Ben Linus from the shitshow that was “Lost”.

  2. Buffy, Veronica Mars, Walter White from Breaking Bad, the original in this category, Raskalnikov. Nancy Botwin from Weeds and Grace from Saving Grace. There’s a great newish foreign film you should see that doesn’t quite make this category but speaks to this sort of thinking about character, it’s called The Separation.

  3. Love your insight and synthesis with other popular works. Making students aware of the way archetypes – notably the hero – function in narratives is one of the most important things we can do. It helps them draw deeper appreciation for the popular works they love – such as film – as well as the classic works we hope to teach them.

    In terms of the morally ambiguous characters, I would offer Tony Soprano as one of the best in recent years. Nancy Botwin from Weeds is also an excellent choice. And Buffy is a great choice, too – though I have some doubts about the moral ambiguity there.

  4. I would personally lobby for Emily and Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, but they may not be ambiguous enough. However, the show is awesome and worth watching just to find out. I can volunteer to do the research for you.

  5. OKP

    McMurphy from Cuckoo’s Nest (book and film), Hamlet himself.

  6. I love the suggestion of Richard and Emily Gilmore! Buffy/Spike/Angel come to mind. Totally agree on the Tony Soprano suggestion. And for some reason, the book “Bonfire of the Vanities” popped into my head when I read your post, though I’m not sure why, especially since it’s been 20+ years since I read it… I may be way off base there. In recent popular fiction there’s Ranger from the (somewhat appalling) Stephanie Plum mystery series by Janet Evanovich – we’re not talking great literature here. A half-step up would be the Hawk character from Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. There’s plenty to be mined from Shakespeare, obviously, but also from Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. OH! And how about Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy?

  7. Nhfalcon

    Completely agree with Tyrion Lannister from George R R Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series. Two other fantasy literature characters I would suggest would be Garet Jax from Terry Brooks’ “Wishsong of Shannara” and Silk (aka Prince Kheldar) from David Eddings’ “Belgariad” and “Malloreon” series.

  8. nhfalcon

    Oh ,and from film, how about Han Solo?

  9. its great article….thanks for share it…..)

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