Movie Application of A Little Princess

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The movie "A Little Princess" can be an excellent application when studying the Beatitudes or the Christian view of persons. Background for the assignment and a ready-to-use worksheet is given as a resource. This activity is most appropriate for female students.

Movies are a wonderful way of reaching students! My students always enjoy the break from the classroom routine, but they have come to realize that the movies are purposeful and important to the content we are covering. I always have some type of reflection and discussion following a movie application. This may take the form of a typed reaction paper or a worksheet that focuses students on what content applications are present in the movie. What follows is a worksheet that I used with juniors, all girls, for the movie A Little Princess (© 1995 Warner Brothers, distributed by Fox Video, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 97 minutes long, rated G). I don't believe the movie would be effective with boys.

We had just finished studying morality from a Christian perspective, and had focused heavily on the Beatitudes as guidelines for living as Jesus did. Even though this movie does not use religious terminology, there is a deep spiritual and emotional dimension that can be tapped when looking for scenes in which each of the Beatitudes is lived out in the life of a little girl. I encourage my students to look at the camera angles, the use of the fairy tale throughout the movie as a parallel to Sara's life, the symbolism in color and the Indian man (Ram Dass), the conversion sequence, and the theme of compassion. I also bring the music to their attention since it is so beautiful and haunting (available on CD, © 1995, Warner Brothers). Another point of interest is that some of the choral pieces are based on William Blake's poetry.

I give students the following worksheet at the beginning of the movie to help cue them as they look for the connections between the movie and the content. Sara learns from her father that "all girls are princesses," and she refers to that a number of times throughout the movie. I ask students to consider substituting the quote "all of us are children of God" in some of the sequences. I highly recommend this film, which I have used in my classes for four years now. I believe it could be used as part of a retreat or day of reflection focusing on the Beatitudes. It truly has had a profound effect on many of my students. It helps them see how living out the Beatitudes is a challenge and call, but such a beautiful expression of our Christian call to love.

A Little Princess

Reflections and Applications

A Christian Vision of Morality

This movie is filled with connections to the content that we have studied. Make those connections in the spaces provided by describing scenes in the movie that illustrate each of the following concepts. Go beyond the surface, literal interpretation and look for a deeper meaning.

I. The Beatitudes

The poor in spirit

We recognize our need for God.

Those who mourn

We reach out to those who suffer.

The meek

We are not arrogant, we serve.

 

 

 

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

We work for justice.

 

 

The merciful

We accept and forgive others.

 

 

 

 

The clean of heart

We seek good and avoid evil.

 

 

The peacemakers

We try to settle arguments.

The persecuted

We speak out against injustice.

 

 

 

II. Christian View of the Person

We have a physical and spiritual nature.

 

 

 

 

We belong to each other.

 

 

 

 

We are fundamentally good; we are made in God’s image.

 

 

 

 

We sin, but God will forgive and support us.

 

 

 

 

Our vocation, our calling is to love.

 

 

III. Quotes and Lyrics: Make some connections!

"What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters when compared to what lies within us." (Emerson)

 

 

"As the moon kindles the night, as the wind kindles the fire, as the rain fills every ocean, and the sun, the earth, so your heart will kindle my heart." (Lyrics from the movie soundtrack by P. Doyle)

 

 

Acknowledgments

Published December 29, 1999.