Poseidon's Tears

story by Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti , illustrated by Queenie Chan

Learning intention:

I am learning to use evidence from the text to identify character motivations so that I can better understand other points of view.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the narrative voice in a text
  • I can use empathy to assign motivations behind main character actions
  • I can use empathy to predict potential thoughts and feelings of minor characters in the text


After reading the story, view the video on The School Magazine website called Point of View. Then ask students to identify the narrative voice in the story. Students may recognise the voice as a narrator in the third person. Ask which characters’ thoughts are being portrayed. Guide them to identify that at first, we are following Poseidon’s point of view, but the narrator’s voice follows the nymph after the first page.


Ask students who they feel the sorriest for by the end of this story, and why. Students may identify the nymph for being banished, Poseidon for losing his pearls or even Amphitrite for losing both her daughter and her pearls.


Display the template of the cluster diagram for students to see. Students are to copy the diagram into their books, with enough space in each circle to write their ideas. They can work in pairs to find explicit actions for both Poseidon and the nymph in the text and assign motivations behind these actions. For example, Poseidon banished his daughter to the desert, but he also spent weeks hand-carving and polishing the necklace as a gift to his beloved wife. Ask students why Poseidon did these things – what could be his motives? Students may conclude that Poseidon was deeply proud of his work and/or deeply loved his wife. They may also conclude that his actions suggest he loved his wife more than his daughter.


For Amphitrite’s circles, students are to imagine how Amphitrite felt before the banishment, when her pearls went missing. They may assume she was angry, sad or upset. Ask students if she would feel that way after her daughter was banished. Have them discuss whether she wouldn’t care about her pearls anymore because she lost her daughter, or whether they can find evidence in the text to suggest she’s vain and cares more about her pearls than her daughter. (Some students may pick out the word “playfully” when Amphitrite is scolding her daughter, suggesting she is less obsessed with the pearls than her husband.)


For the younger sibling’s circles, ensure students understand that when Poseidon said Amphitrite was ‘with child’ it meant she was pregnant. This means another child will be born into the family. Ask how it might feel for that child to grow up hearing stories of an older sister who stole her mother’s necklace and was banished forever. Display the following questions:

How would the child feel about this? Would they be more obedient than the nymph, knowing what their parents are capable of? Would they rebel and perhaps search for their sister?

In this section, students are welcome to use their creativity to predict the younger sibling’s actions.


Students share their thoughts with their partners. Choose a few students to also share their ideas with the class.