Lesson Plan for A Defender Of His People

by Margarita Vargas-Betancourt

Lesson Plan

I. WARM UP:

  • Write as many traits of the landscape of your community as you can: mountains, rivers, swamps, beaches, prairies, mounds, bayous, etc.
  • Now, write the names of really famous persons in your community (real or fictional, dead or alive) in your community.

II. THEORETICAL APPROACH

Myth

  • A myth is a sacred or religious story that narrates the origins or the creation of the natural, supernatural or cultural phenomena of one community. Myths are usually transmitted orally, from one generation to the next.
  • Myths narrate the stories of gods or superhuman beings that perform extraordinary actions in extraordinary circumstances. These stories took place before human time.

Creation myth

  • Creation myths constitute one of the most popular types of myths. They explain the beginning of things. In other words, they narrate how the world originated. Since myths embody the way in which a specific community understands reality, they express the basic values of this community. For instance, they explain man’s place in the universe, and how man should relate to other humans, nature, and even things.
  • Creation myths are constituted by a system of symbols, and they follow a structure. However, this structure is not rational. Myths follow their own kind of order.
  • Creation myths usually lead to rituals. In fact, ritual is often the dramatic presentation of t myth. By reenacting the myth, a community attempts to re-create the beginning of the world, and in this way, to preserve it.
  • Myth situates man in a specific landscape.
  • Through myths, communities define their cultural life.
  • There are as many creation myths as there are human cultures.

Legend

  • A story or group of stories about a particular person or place. They are handed down through popular oral tradition.
  • The protagonists of legends are historical or possibly historical characters, such as a saint, monarch, or popular hero.
  • The main differences between legends and myths is that:
    1. The protagonists of myths are gods, whereas the protagonists of legends are human beings.
    2. Myths do not have a historical basis, whereas legends can have some sort of historical background.
  • The most modern legendary heroes are media figures, such as movie stars and rock musicians.

III. AN EXAMPLE: THE TEPOZTECO STORY The following is a chart that outlines the story.

I. Tepozteco was conceived in an immaculate manner.
II. Someone attempted to kill the baby.
III. The baby was adopted.
IV. Tepozteco became a marvelous hunter.
V. Tepozteco decided to confront Xochicalcatl.
VI. During his peregrination, he transformed and named the landscape.
VII. He picked up flints.
VIII. He arrived at Xochicalco.
IX. Tepozteco defeated Xochicalcatl.
X. He went to Cuernavaca and stole the teponaxtli.
XI. Tepozteco fled to Tepoztlan.
XII. He arrived at the Ehecatepetl Mountain and defeated the people from Cuernavaca.
XIII. Tepozteco became the ruler or king of Tepoztlan.
XIV. He raised the bells of Mexico City’s cathedral.

IV. PRESENTATION OF THE VIDEO “A DEFENDER OF HIS PEOPLE” Discussion questions:

  1. According to the film, what is the story of the Tepozteco?
  2. What is the relationship between this story and the ancient history of Tepoztlan? For example, what might have originated the idea of the Xochicalcatl monster?
  3. Why is the story of the Tepozteco important for the community today?

As you watch the video, formulate more questions:

V. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TEPOZTECO STORY AND TEPOZTLAN’S HISTORY
Explain in a very general way what might be the historical background for the legend.

EPISODE TEPOZTECO LEGEND HISTORICAL FACT GEOLOGICAL FACT
I Tepozteco was conceived in an immaculate manner. Interdynastic marriage Importance of the Morelos region to the Mexicas.
II Someone attempted to kill the baby.
III The baby was adopted.
IV Tepozteco became a marvelous hunter. Commemoration of Chichimec past.
V Tepozteco decided to confront Xochicalcatl. Rise of Xochicalco as an hegemonic center in the Classic period. Tributary obligations from the Morelos region to the Triple Alliance.
VI During his peregrination, he transformed and named the landscape. Migration of the Chichimecs to central Mexico. Formation of the rocky hills, cave paintings.
VII He picked up flints.
VIII Once he arrived at Xochicalco, he began to transform himself into different animals.
IX Tepozteco defeated Xochicalcatl.
X He went to Cuernavaca and stole the teponaxtli. Confrontation between the two main ethnic groups in Morelos: Xochimilcas and Tlahuicas.
XI Tepozteco fled to Tepoztlan. Creation of Cuernavaca ravines due to water.
XII He arrived at the Ehecatepetl Mountain and defeated the people from Cuernavaca with wind and water. Water and wind eroded the volcanic ridges that make up the Chichinautzin ridge.
XIII Tepozteco became the ruler or king of Tepoztlan.
XIV He raised the bells of Mexico City’s cathedral. Tributary labor provided during the colony.

VI. TALK ABOUT LEGENDS AND MYTHS IN YOUR COMMUNITY.Take out the list of landscape traits and famous characters that your students produced during “Warm Up.” Go over the list and ask for myths or legends related to these elements. Discuss if there is a historical or geological background for these stories. Then, discuss whether these stories are still useful for the community today. If this is so, discuss how and why.

 

REFERENCES

Lesson Plan for El Tepozteco (DOC)
Author: Margarita Vargas

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