Analyzing Protagonists, Antagonists, and Falling Action
Lesson 3 of 14
Objective: Students will be able to analyze characters and plot by discussing the protagonist, antagonist, and falling action in a fishbowl discussion.
Today we continued our fishbowl with round two. This round required students to grapple with analyzing the protagonist and antagonist of the teleplay.
Before taking the lid off the fishbowl, we reviewed the conflict (the characters don't trust each other). We reviewed the difference between a protagonist and antagonist. The antagonist causes the conflict and the protagonist must work to solve the conflict. With that, who causes the conflict?
From their discussion, students realized that there were three different types of conflict. The aliens do ultimately cause the conflict, which makes it person vs. person. The characters do turn against each other, so it is person vs. person. The character's fear causes conflicts, which is person vs. self. There was a bit of discussion about whether the conflict could be person vs. technology, but one student pointed out that it wasn't the technology causing the conflict it was the aliens behind the technology.
Before moving on to the next fishbowl, student just a couple of sentences on their plot diagrams so they'd remember who the protagonists and antagonists are on Monday when we write about it.
The third fishbowl's purpose is to discuss and analyze the falling of the action. The falling action is super short. It's six lines and some stage directions and that's it. And yet, it's a critical part of the play, as the students discovered through their discussion.
What do we learn from the falling action? This is where the reader learns what's going on, even if the characters don't know (dramatic irony!). The reader learns that there really are aliens. That the flash of light that "plays on the faces" in Act 1 Scene 1 really was an alien spaceship. We learn that it is indeed the aliens who caused the power to shut off.
We learn that the aliens have done this before. They travel from street to street, shutting off the power, and letting the people do the work of destroying themselves.
See the video in this section for the highlights of their discussion. At the four minute mark, you can also see how I handle one particular student who has a lot to say.
Today's lesson picture is of my students in the third fishbowl discussion about falling action.