The Power of Names
- Reading A Wizard of Earthsea
Fri. 3rd. Period Keith Olfers
Culture, Discussion, Intensive Reading, Presentation, Vocabulary

In this class we will discuss the book, A Wizard of Earthsea. Students will read each chapter before class, and bring written notes regarding points that were difficult to understand, so that everyone can discuss them together. These will be handed in as a part of the participation grade. Students will be responsible for keeping up with the pace of reading: if they miss a class, they are still responsible for handing in their notes for that chapter. Because the events of each chapter build on the events of previous chapters, discussions will not be confined to only the pages read that week. There will be some consolidation each week, but we will not be reading the book in class.

Discussion will cover mythic heroes and themes in stories from around the world, and how the book shares some of these themes. As a part of this, students will create their own hero and myth.

After this class, you will be able to discuss the book A Wizard of Earthsea, and heroes from various cultures. You will gain a deeper understanding of mythic literature, and its effect on, and importance to us as an audience.

Attendance: 25%
Participation: 25%
Mid-term: 25%
Final: 25%


Week 1: What is a hero?

Discussing the qualities that heroes share across stories from around the world.


Week 2: Warriors in the Mist

Discussing chapter one.


Week 3: The Shadow

Discussing chapter two.


Week 4: The School for Wizards

Discussing chapter three.


Week 5: The Loosing of the Shadow

Discussing chapter four.


Week 6: The Dragon of Pendor

Discussing chapter five.


Week 7: Hunted

Discussing chapter six.


Midterm: A Mythic Origin


  • Create and present your own mythic hero, and his or her origins.
  • What does your hero teach us about the meaning of being human?


Week 9: The Power of Names

Discussing the three names of Ged, and the importance of names. Would you be the same person if you had a different name?


Week 10: The Hawk’s Flight

Discussing chapter seven.


Week 11: Hunting

Discussing chapter eight.


Week 12: Iffish

Discussing chapter nine.


Week 13: The Open Sea

Discussing chapter ten.


Final: The Quest


  • Create a quest to challenge and bring out the meaning of a hero.