Intro to Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism is often used to address difficult ideasHummer Print by OrangeWillow

This 1 Week Unit is intended to introduce students to the idea of anthropomorphism, how it can be used to address difficult topics, and to put them into action right off the bat by attempting to address a difficult issue of their choice in a short story. This unit is intended as an introductory week leading into Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Welles, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne/The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, or Maus by Art Spiegelman. 
(Estimated Running Time: 5 90-minute classes)


Students will be able to produce a podcast of a short story featuring anthropomorphism that deals with a current event and a question and answer session explaining its meaning, relevance, and inspiration.


Required materials are normal text, recommended but not required materials are italicized

Essential Question(s):

How do stories connect the traits of animals and humans to get at deeper ideas?

  • Anthropomorphism allows humans to discuss difficult topics by creating psychic distance from difficult topics and emphasizing human/animal traits.
  • Anthropomorphism creates a dialog about empathy, humanity, dehumanization, and morality.
  • Anthropomorphism can be used to have conversations that can challenge the powers that be in a safer way than direct confrontation.
  • Anthropomorphism allows us to feel empathy for social groups we might not otherwise be willing to consider.


Day 1: Fables & Folktales
Day 2: Myth, Morality, and Origin
Day 3: The Big Bad Wolf and Villainy
Day 4: The Devil’s in the Details
Day 5: Studio Day

What’s Next:

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne/The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

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