Back Story: Below you will notice 5 separate class conversations — Per 1, 2, 3, 4, & 7 — that you can scroll through. Each focused on the “Untold Robin Hood Story” hand-out.

Please note: In each class, a student accepted the role as ‘scribe’ to take notes of the on-going conversation. Names were changed (by Mr. Long) to initials. No other edits were made. Please know that each scribe was told “not to worry” about spelling, capitals, etc during the original typing process. The goal was simply to capture the spirit of the conversation, even if it still reads very much like a 1st draft.

Challenge: You have 2 parts to complete:

  1. Share something that surprised you in the conversation that was held in YOUR class.
  2. Share something that surprised you in a conversation held by another class.

Length: 3-4 sentences for each part.



17 responses to “W2, #1: “ROBIN HOOD” CONVERSATIONS

  1. I was surprised the most by how most everyone lost a lot of respect for Robin Hood after reading this version, in my class and in others. Robin Hood had reacted hastily when he found out how Maid Marion married his tormentor, this is true, but a situation like this really calls for a little understanding. Initially Robin Hood will inevitably feel some degree of betrayal because of what Maid Marion had done, no matter how necessary it was. Maid Marion will also feel betrayal because she only did what she did to save her true love; she didn’t marry the Sheriff with malicious intentions.
    With both of these characters feeling so betrayed and misunderstood, the time really called for an unbiased mediator, and Little John was perfect. But instead of trying to get Robin Hood to realize that Maid Marion’s actions were done out of love for him, or trying to vouch for his “best friend” and telling Maid Marion that Robin Hood just needs a little time to himself to think things through, he just up and decided instantly that he’ll whisk Maid Marion away forever and “protect” her from cruel ol’ Robin Hood. I think the situation could have definitely been remedied with some sympathy, but Little John acted a bit too hastily.

  2. 1. Throughout the conversation, the topic of Robin smacking Maid-Marion arose many tmes. I was surprised from the male aspect and the female aspect of this topic. The girls all agreed that Robin acted out of anger but should have never hit his wife. The boys all argued that times were different and that it was socially acceptable to hit your wife. This was just suprising to me that such a small thing could have such diverse opinions.

    2. In period two’s coversation, W.S. and T.P. both talk about, they know why Disney changed the story. This topic also came up in period ones’ debate. You only mentioned the Disney movie once and it is almost like all of these debates are centered around the changes that Disney made. I also was suprised when W.S. said, ” I really notice the cold language of the text”, but i don’t really know what “cold language” means.


    Mr. Long: The “cold language” comment had to do with the written story feeling unlike the “warmer” language/images Disney showcases. BTW, well done re: the gender issues. It’s always fascinating to see how an ‘invisible’ element can sway a conversation. Might be something for us to talk about in the future? Thoughts?

  3. The debate in my class kind of started off really quiet, and then it got really heated in the middle of class. I personally thought that it was really fun.

    One thing though that really surprised me during the debate was, when someone said that Robin Hood was more of the villain than the Sheriff. I started to think that that person was really crazy, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Robin is just a guy breaking the laws and stealing from the people who worked for that money, and giving said money to peasants. Peasants who were probably to lazy to do any work to gain money.

    I also read some of the other classes discussions, they were very interesting. One thing that surprised me was when one of the classes all agreed that Little John wasn’t a really good friend, and that he was latching on to Robin. I thought that Little John was a good friend to Robin, and tried to get him out of jail. He tried, obviously he didn’t succeed, but at least he tried.


    Mr. Long: Glad the process was enjoyable to you, and that it also provided a way to peek into other class discussions. Fascinating how different they can be at times (even on the same topics).

  4. One thing that surprised me in my class was that people were questioning Robin’s true intentions when he was giving to the poor what they had taken from them. I kind of got the feeling that some were considering the sheriff better than Robin! In my opinion the poor peasants were being robbed by unfair taxes. Robin was doing the right thing. The rich just want more money and the peasants are dying to make ends meet. That isn’t right and whatever Robin did to help that situation is right. Sometimes the ends justify the means. One example is the difference between genocide and revolution. No matter what angle you look at it your killing both ways. Now revolution has the right motive that makes it more appealing or even right. But genocide doesn’t and it is considered wrong.

    One thing that surprised me in the other classes is that some classes were questioning if Little John intentions were legit. I had never thought of that. My class barely said anything about Little John. Now I just assumed that he was doing it all for the best. I did realize that the story ended on a strange note. And it now makes me wonder what happened after a few days, or months, or years.


    Mr. Long: Like you, I am fascinated how some classes really explored some characters, while ignoring others (vice versa). Normally I’m the only one that knows that, but now all of you can see what is going on in the 5 periods.

  5. What I found interesting in my class was that the debate centered around who was good: Robin or little John?

    The question of who the protagonist was came up and so did the issue of why the story centered on Robin while he wasn’t necessarily the “good” guy. Was Robin the victim? He was the one who was beaten, imprisoned, and betrayed, but it was mentioned that Robin may want some of the money he stole or that he loved the ego boost that the people gave him when he helped them. Was little John trying to protect Maid Merion, or was he trying to steal her away? Little John felt a permanent change after Robin slapped Maid Merion and knew he had to do something, or did he want Maid Marion all for himself? All of these questions were addressed during the class debate, but not necessarily answered. Almost everybody had an opinion, and voiced it, which ameliorated the discussion as a whole.

    I was surprised by period three’s discussion, mainly because there was so much debate centering on the movie version. All we were given was the “Untold” version; in my opinion the movie was pretty irrelevant to the discussion. The difference between the two versions, the movie and the text we were given, is noticeable at first and could be mentioned, but I think the version we were given should have been focused on. Period three’s discussion surprised me the most because of how different the debate was for me than it was for Period three.


    Mr. Long: For me — as the teacher — there is value in moving beyond the specific text in class discussions if it broadens people’s imaginations…and in many ways the only reason for even analyzing literature is to eventually connect it to the ‘real’ world. That being said, our greatest asset in class is using universal language. For us, that is the text, the one thing we all have in common. We obviously have our own biases/experiences/P.O.V.’s. And that can confuse things unless we keep the primary text in our sights at all time. Appreciated your reflection. I think Per 3 pulled it off, even if they took a different path to get there.

  6. In our class the thing that surprised me was how little we talked about Little John. I believe he played a very symbolical role. He was the one at first trying to save Robin from jail. And he was also the one to do the right thing in the end. I believe Little John was the one with the most positive impact on the story, when Marion was left by Robin he was the one there for her in a tough situation. I don’t think Little John intended for Marion and him to fall in love as they ran away but more as a safe haven. I also think it surprised me how we talked about Disney always portraying stories so graceful. It makes you wonder what all those other Disney stories could have been about: Cinderella, sleeping beauty, Ariel, finding nemo..etc.

    I think its interesting that period 7 also brought the batman comparison up. Although they delivered it in another manner, they had the same idea our class did. I also liked how some people in period 7 also brought up that back then a women was a man’s possession. So maybe in Robin’s eyes he had the right to hit Marion because he believed she had done wrong (even though the story never really states what Marion told him.) Maybe Robin felt it was necessary in his position to teach her who is boss.

    Was it, in that respect, an ‘okay’ thing for him to do?


    Mr. Long: Ah, someone has asked the million dollar question. What about all the other movies we take for granted? Maybe this will be a question we’ll pursue this year. Game?

  7. What surprised me in my own class was how we talked about the different sides to Robin. How if we thought about it Robin was a communist. Since we were brought up to believe that communism was bad this changed the view on Robin. The fact that he slapped Maid Marion is another reason our view shifts a bit. Also how we talked about how the hero wasn’t always the protagonist.

    What surprised me in another class (per 3) was that morality and ethics was brought up. About how if we do the wrong things for the right reasons how would they compare. Once I thought about it a little I wasn’t so surprised, since it is relevant. It was just different from the other classes that I had read who had completely missed that point and just focused on the characters and their motives. Or just the characters in general.


    Mr. Long: Interesting how a single word — such as “communist” — can shape a conversation, sometimes in an intelligent manner (inviting more curiosity and questions) and sometimes in a superficial manner (people allowing the word to stereotype and water down a conversation. And there’s no doubt that seeing a hero like R.H. (esp. the Disney version) described in political terms (esp. a term that is naturally biased and historically loaded) can influence a group’s thinking. The key — at all times — is to be able to step back and see that influence take shape in the minute and to question all major shifts just as much as accepting all major shifts.

    I loved how “morality” and “ethics” entered a few conversations before I even used those words when I asked everyone to rank the 4 characters. Clearly this is a “morality” puzzle, more than it is a typical analysis of a typical English story. It works brilliantly to introduce the topics of “hero” and a million other English concepts, but it truly works best as a way to discuss the ever-moving targets of “morality” and “ethics”…and how we bring out own biases/world views into class every day.

  8. My class- It was surprising to me to find that my class had believed that Maid Marion had any options that were favorable to her after Robin had slapped her, given the assumed time period. It appeared to me that Maid Marion had very few choices including running away with Little John and going back to the sheriff. If Maid Marion had been married to Robin, then the other members of the merry men would have noticed that there was some sort of relationship between her and Robin. I highly doubt that any of them would be as quick as Little John to help her, considering that they were supposed to be his followers. It actually surprised me that Little John unnecessarily inserted himself into that situation, being Robin’s best friend. That seemed to be a form of betrayal to me.

    Period 2- I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone in period 2 noted that the protagonist isn’t always “the hero”. I hadn’t thought to mention this in class, but I also agree that Robin isn’t considered to be the hero in “Robin Hood”, but just a conveniently helpful (to some) jerk. I honestly don’t believe that there even is a “hero” in “Robin Hood”, just characters that all believe that their actions are justified. Every character in this story acts on a personal and selfish level, despite the image created for the outside observer. Robin steals from the poor, but also finds entertainment in the fact that, to the sheriff, he is the man that can never be caught. Maid Marion saves Robin through her marriage to the sheriff because SHE can’t stand to see Robin die, without taking into account that Robin would be disgraced. The sheriff gave the ultimatum to Maid Marion of either Robin dying or her marrying him, which definitely is for personal gain because the sheriff shouldn’t be letting out a “criminal” under any circumstances. Finally, Little John is supposed to be Robin’s best friend but runs to help Maid Marion literally seconds after their relationship was over for reasons unknown. I believe that Little John had ulterior motives for helping Maid Marion, like possibly wanting a relationship with her after Robin rejected her.


    Mr. Long: Like you, I can’t help but assume that M.M.’s choices were few and far between after Robin’s slap. While it is tempting to take a 2008 view, the story is set by default in the middle ages, in Europe. A woman’s status — even a princess or noble — was still defined by her a) family and b) her husband (if she had one). Independence, as most woman in 2008 deserve, was not as relevant a topic for woman then. Also, she was of a much higher class than the “thief”; it would have been impossible for her to go unpunished if she was publicly with Robin. The Sheriff’s social status is a bit more ‘flexible’, high enough to possibly — with her father, the King — gone (as those who know the story considered, most likely) assume a high enough level to be taken seriously with M.M. Then again, he’s probably aware that once the King returns, he’ll be punished since he didn’t get permission. One can only imagine something lurking in his soul/mind that ignores that worry.

    And yes, I gave an amen to the “hero” vs. “protagonist” discussion, too. So easy to use them interchangeably, but they do not necessarily mean the same thing when we carefully analyze a text. Everyone needs to think about that! (hint, hint)

  9. What surprised me in my period’s conversation was the comment “Robin was so over confident, that is why he got caught”. I never had really thought to address the why of Robin getting caught. I simply understood it as a fact of the story and moved on. But, this theory of Robin’s haughtiness  was new as well. Was Robin really that sure of himself that he had no fear of ever being jailed? Or was it simply that Robin felt compassion towards all the peasants of the town? And even another possibility, that Robin had a reputation to uphold and that is why he decided to save the ‘peasants’ that were really the king and his men? I believe that it was probably a combination of all three choices. This new idea of why Robin gets caught however, creates so much more depth and magnitude to the story opening up much more possibilities for new versions of this classic tail to be created.

    What surprised me in period one’s discussion was the way they used the society’s values at the time to justify the characters actions. “But with people during this era, cheating, lying, physical abuse was common” “But socially acceptable at this time. Man owns wife” These comments made me think of my assessment of the characters ethics. People are so impacted by what is considered uprightly in their society that during the time of this story Robin’s abuse may have been a normal day to day action.
    This said, I thought it was very interesting how our society has impacted us. Both conversations I looked at started with comparing the written handout to the Disney version. Then they progressed to whether or not Little John’s actions were honorable, on to Robin’s slap, and both dialogs were then scattered with a few comments here and there about the other characters. It is quite amusing how patterns show up in every aspect of life:).


    Mr. Long: While our #1 goal every time we analyze a story (no matter the medium) is to stay ‘inside’ the story — because that is the only guaranteed way we can be collectively connected to the evidence.

    That being said, looking at the historical or social context of the author’s ideas can have a profound impact on how we interpret a given story/idea. The most obvious moment is the slap. In 2008, we see this very differently than would have been the case in the Middle Ages (when the Robin Hood story would have been logically placed).

    Ultimately, we begin to realize that the story is told not to indict one of the 4 characters of being ‘immoral’. Instead, we slowly discover that it is about how we see the story based on our own biases/world views/moral stance.

    This, I think you can imagine, is something that might be worth bringing up in class.

  10. 1) In my class, in the discussion and the ranking of the characters, I was really surprised by how many people put the sheriff first when he is so strongly portrayed as a villain. Or, at least that was my initial shock. I got to thinking about it, and I’m trying to see this from the Sheriff’s point of view. He is obviously disliked by pretty much everybody because he taxes the people and tries to kill their “hero”. Well, if everybody hated you for doing the job you’re supposed to do, you would probably feel sickeningly lonely. It seems to me that the Sheriff is doing two things:
    a) Blaming Robin Hood for all of his troubles, and therefore:
    b) When he searches for just a single companion in his horribly lonely life, Robin Hood’s girl seems to be the good place to go.
    And since he’s not liked by anyone as it is, whose opinion matters to him? No ones. So his mindset is: Why not take the one opportunity he has at having somebody?

    2) In period two, the one thing that caught my attention was when Robin’s intentions of stealing the gold were questioned. I can’t say I disagree. Think about it for a second: Sheriff taxes peasants, Robin takes taxes, Sheriff taxes peasants, Robin takes taxes… It’s a continuous cycle. No matter how many times the peasants get back their money, it’s just going to be taken from them again. And if this was in fact set in the Middle Ages, where feudalism and gullible, illiterate, unintelligent peasants were common, they weren’t going to be that much better off with their temporary money anyway. So why did Robin continue to do this? “M.H.: everyone in the town loves him because he gives them gold and its just an ego boost for him”
    It makes him look good. That’s it. So was Robin ever a hero in the first place? Not in my opinion.
    If I could, I would go back and change my original rankings that we did in class. This blog changed my original viewpoint.


    Mr. Long: An excellent reflection. Really pleased I was able to read the last few lines after seeing how your thinking evolved. Ultimately, any answer is logical. What I’m impressed with is your admission that you’re open to changing your mind after re-thinking an initial reaction. Good lesson for all of us, esp. since it occurred by moving outside your class period and seeing what another group of students talked about.

  11. I was listening to everyone’s opinions about the story, and the one that surprised me the most was the comment about Little John and Maid Marion. One of the students said that Little John was not honorable and loyal at all to his friend Robin Hood because he took advantage of the situation. The student said that Little John found an opening to take Maid Marion when everything was a mess. I never thought of this before; it seemed that Little John was being the good guy here. But that comment made me think over the story and I started to ponder what would happen next.

    I was reading period three’s conversation, and a comment surprised me. Did the sheriff actually want Maid Marion or did he just say it so Robin Hood will get hurt even more? The sheriff seems like he really doesn’t like Robin Hood and revenge is all he wants. So maybe the sheriff knew that Robin Hood would get really mad if Maid Marion married him and this was his way of ridding Robin Hood away from the kingdom. And hey, it worked. Robin Hood is not coming back, and he probably didn’t even like Maid Marion anyways; maybe this was all part of his plan.


    Mr. Long: I agree with you re: this comment being interesting from Period 3: “Did the sheriff actually want Maid Marion or did he just say it so Robin Hood will get hurt even more?”

  12. In our class, what surprised me the most was what we talked about. The entire time, we talked and discussed about Robin Hood’s condition and marriage with Maid Marion. We didn’t even talk about other characters, such as Little John, and their roles in the play.

    In another class, what surprised me the most was their discussion as well. They also talked about Robin’s condition, his marriage, and whether Robin was hero or not. In discussing Robin’s status, they also made a same reference as our class, Batman.

  13. As I was reading threw my classes discussions, a couple of comments stood out to me. First, someone brought up how this “Untold Robin Hood” was completely different than the Disney cartoons. I believe this is true because robin is the victim in this story. In the cartoons Robin Hood always escapes from the bad guys and is able to get away. In “The Untold Robin Hood” he gets caught, and I thought that was a really good point.

    Another thing that stood out to me was, someone said that Robin Hood was over confident in my class. And at first I understood what he meant, but as I thought more I realized I disagreed. If Robin was in any sense confident, then wouldn’t he be able to at least attempt to escape from the dark jail cell. “Robin realized his fate was completely in the hands of others”, to me that’s not a confident realization.

    I think its interesting how some classes think alike and bring up same topics. For example, period1 and period 4 both discussed how “The Untold Robin Hood” story was more violent than the Disney versions. Both periods discussed the “cold” words that the author choose. And periods 7 and 3, discussed how Robin slapped Marion. And I thought it was very interesting how one person can bring up a simple fact and the whole class with relish on it.

  14. In my class it really surprised me that not many people saw it like me. I dont see how nobody understands that Little John is a scumbag. I’m not too happy with Maid Marion either. It’s like she just offers to marry people in order to solve all her problems. Did she not think it would catch up with her?

    In one other class I saw something else that surprised me. The communist reference. In the past Ethan always said something along those lines. I don’t quite know about that, but I can see where they are coming from.

    P.S. Are we allowed to use other students names?

  15. I was surprised that many of the responses argued that Little John was a disloyal friend. Many of my classmates said that he had “ulterior motives” when he told Maid Marion he would protect her forever. I also noticed that the majority of my classmates who agreed with that opinion were male. I disagree with them because I believe Little John was just trying to protect Maid Marion when no one else would.

    In another class, Period Two, someone brought up the point that Maid Marion was willing to be with anyone but Robin. They saw the situation as Marion just clinging to any man to get away from Robin. I saw it in a completely different way. Maid Marion would have done anything to save Robin, even if it meant marrying the Sheriff, whom the whole town despised. Perhaps Robin slapped Marion because he saw her actions the same way some students in Period Two did.

  16. In my period’s conversation, I was surprised by the fact that it was generally the same people talking throughout the discussion. I am not sure whether the note-taker was able to keep track with all of the minor details of other people, but there seems to be a certain group of people doing all of the speaking. I only counted at least twelve people speaking, and if I could recall there was at least three people who were not mentioned. I wonder if the number of people speaking in a conversation could shrink, since the topics discussed may become more challenging.

    In terms of a different discussion, what caught my attention was period 3’s discussion. In comparison with a discussion such as period 2, the period 3 notes were very brief and concise. I felt as if I could not understand the actual topics and themes being discussed. Also, as Mr. Long stated, the conversation did in fact become off-topic. Although Mr. Long found the thinking process constructive, I for one do not agree. In times of in-class essays and such, one cannot write off-topic. For example, in the SAT writing section, off-topic essays receive a lower score such as a 2, versus a score that constantly refers back to an original idea, such as a 5.

  17. I thought it was interesting to see how so many of the classes talked about the same subjects, just in a different way and how some topics were different. I found it surprising how off topic our period got. I think some of us forgot what our main goal was in the debate, which is something I definitely have to work on. As another class related Robin Hood to R & J, S.D. related this to Batman. I thought that was interesting, because it gave us an “oooohhhh!” like the light bulb turning on. We could realize how similar this story is to common things we know about already. We also discussed the Sheriff’s motives of marrying Marion. I think that he was marrying her to bring Robin’s hopes and spirits down. He probably would have married her even if she wasn’t beautiful.

    Within the different periods I found a lot of comments and questions interesting. One thing that was surprising to me was that in period 1, they took a spin on how the author said, “as he strode away he felt a permanent future.” It took me by surprise because I had assumed that this sentence was addressing the future for Little Jon and Maid Marian, not even thinking of the other perspective. In period 2, someone had mentioned comparing it to Romeo and Juliet. I guess you could see this, through some of the social rules and how people thought, but I can’t see the resemblance all too well. But I liked how they were thinking of comparing this to connect it to something that was familiar. I think that if they would have expanded their thoughts on how it was similar, it could have made a really good discussion. I also liked reading when someone in period 2 suggested that maybe Robin had different motives for steeling gold besides giving to the poor. I think this was interesting because maybe he was steeling to prove that he could get away with it, rather than for the good of the people. There is a big fill-in the-blank for that one. Again, period 7 brought up Batman. But the majority in that class disagreed with the comparison. Interesting.

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