story by Rolli , illustrated by Alen Timofeyev

Learning Intention:

I am learning to analyse character’s choices in texts and how this impacts their experiences so that I can draw on these elements in my own writing.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify the themes of sacrifice and selfishness in a variety of texts
  • I can consider how characters’ choices lead to consequences
  • I can incorporate this understanding into my own narrative writing.


Understanding text:

After reading the story, discuss the way its central themes of sacrifice and greed intertwine, which is expressed in the text by having Corbelle sacrificing her fingers for feathers to have expensive and valuable items. Ask students to share their opinions on whether they think Corbelle was making worthy sacrifices throughout the story and if the consequence was one that she deserved.


Ask students to recall any other stories they are familiar with that demonstrate sacrifice for selfish reasons by either a protagonist or antagonist. Some examples may include:

  • Anakin Skywalker sacrificing his humanity and identity in Star Wars (Revenge of the Sith) to become Darth Vader and gain power as a Sith Lord
  • Ariel sacrificing her voice in The Little Mermaid so that Ursula would turn her into a human, and she could attempt to make Prince Eric fall in love with her.
  • Voldemort sacrifices his soul to become immortal in Harry Potter by splitting it into Horcruxes
  • Greg sacrifices his friendship with Rowley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Dog Days) to improve his own social status by inviting Collin to a sleepover that is usually a tradition between just himself and Rowley.

Discuss students’ opinions on the sacrifices made in the stories they recall, as well as the result for the characters.


Creating text:

Inform students that they are going to be writing their own story that involves relinquishing one thing to gain another. Explain that this can be any situation or genre they would like, but the item should be for something quite selfish – the extent of the selfishness is up to them. Clarify, the object/item they relinquish, and its consequences should be the complication of their story and there must also be a resolution. Using the text and examples discussed, have them consider whether the impact will be long term (e.g. Corbelle eventually turning into a bird) or short term (e.g. Ariel getting her voice back by Ursula being defeated). Have students brainstorm first to organise and refine their ideas.


Assessment for/as learning:

The Assessment and Evaluation Rubric for Imaginative Texts can be used to guide students and assist them with assessing their own writing before publishing their final draft. If time allows, have willing students share their stories with the class or swap with a partner.