Elegy for Mr. Spock

by W. Todd Kaneko

Photo by Tyler Steimle

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Elegy For

Step 1

Say, “Think of a fictional character whose death impacted you in particular way. Who is this character? Why was their death so emotionally taxing?” Then give your students 5-10 minutes to discuss.

Step 2

Read the poem “Elegy for Mr. Spock” by W. Todd Kaneko. When you’re done reading, ask them to briefly discuss how the speaker is able to relate the death of Mr. Spock to their own life.

Step 3

Have your students choose a character whose death impacted them emotionally, for whatever reason. Then ask them to simply come up with a list of emotions they felt upon hearing/seeing/reading about this character’s death. Then give them 5-10 minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Ask your students to compose an elegy (a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead) that pays homage to a fictional character who has died.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Show your students the following clip. When it’s done, ask them if they really had any concern as to whether or not Mr. Bond would actually die. Then briefly discuss. Your students should naturally gravitate toward the idea that characters in movies, particularly the really beloved ones, can defy the laws of life and death by virtue of their popularity.

Step 3

Now show your students the following clip, a brief backstory behind the return of Mr. Spock from Star Trek, another character whose popularity “brought him back from the dead.”

Step 4

Read “Elegy for Mr. Spock” with your students. When you’re done, ask your students to discuss the speaker’s feelings about Mr. Spock’s death and the way they connect it back to their own personal life.

Step 5

Have your students open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to examine the different ways in which the speaker is able to process their grief by forcing themselves to use certain “power verbs” in their analysis. Then give your students time to work on the assignment.

Step 6

When your students are done, have them share their answers with the rest of the class.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Death / Grief
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Health / Health Care / Illness
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Parenting
  • Philosophy

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Tone

Content Warning

  • Death or Dying