On the Death of WWE Professional Wrestler Chyna
by Hala Alyan
Workshop Title: Superstar
Ask your students, “Who is a celebrity (or fictional character) that played a fundamental part in shaping who you are? Why?”
Read “On the Death of WWE Professional Wrestler Chyna” by Hala Alyan. When you’re done, briefly discuss the influence of Chyna (pictured to the left) on the speaker of the poem. How did she influence her? In what ways?
Say, “Choose one somebody (whom you didn’t know) that helped shape who you are today or somehow influenced your character. Jot down all of the reasons why this person meant something to you.” Then give your students a few minutes to brainstorm.
Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “On the Death of WWE Professional Wrestler Chyna” in which they pay tribute to a person (whom you didn’t know personally) that influenced their character and/or upbringing.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Various
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.
Start by showing your students the following video about former WWE superstar, Chyna.
When the video is done, have your students talk about her legacy, as discussed in the video. In what way(s) did she impact the industry? How did she break barriers? Briefly discuss.
Now read “On the Death of WWE Professional Wrestler Chyna” by Hala Alyan. As you are reading, ask them to pay particular attention to the ways in which she impacted the speaker of the piece. When you’re done, briefly discuss the relationship between the speaker and Chyna.
Have your students open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to explore the piece and create a graphic organizer that reflects – in visual form – the ways in which the speaker was impacted by Chyna and how those ideas intertwine with one another. When you’ve gone through the directions, give your students time to work. Tell them to be done with the assignment with about 20 minutes left in class to spare.
When your students are done, have one student share one of their pieces of analysis with the rest of the class. Then ask your other students to raise their hand and make a “connection” between the first student’s response and one of their own. Repeat these steps until you have at least four volunteers share their insights.
- Body / Body Image
- Death / Grief
- Education Formal / Informal
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail
- Death or Dying
- Sexism and Misogyny