Inn of the Sixth Happiness Cinema Study Guide

Find inspiration for your teens with Inn of the Sixth Happiness Cinema Study Guide for literature learning using the medium of movies!

Teens can use some movies as part of the work that earns their Literature credits if they practice analysis skills like the ones explored in this guide.

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning is geared to:

  • the visual learner in high school
  • those who are reluctant readers or for whom reading is very time-consuming
  • and to those who love movies!

Good movies tell good stories. Not only that but good storytelling requires the use of traditionally respected literary devices and techniques. With a little help from a study guide, many movies introduce the viewer to excellent literature that is being presented in a visual medium.

This format for literature study is a great option for high school students who become overwhelmed with a demanding reading list. Can you REALLY use movies as literature? While reading books is still a necessary part of a teen’s high school education, placing the ANALYSIS of literature primarily in the arena of movies is a good option for some students.

As with all curriculum from 7Sisters, we aim for no-busywork and no-overkill, instead offering teens a chance to build critical thinking skills while earning high school credit.

How much credit does each Cinema Studies Guide earn?

The Cinema Studies for Literature Learning is part of the English/Language Arts credit. Each of the guides with its movie can count as a book, although teens should also read some real books too. (Read this post to understand what goes into the Language Arts credit.)

What is in each Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guide?

Each guide contains:

  • Background information
  • List of characters
  • Theme or themes being highlighted
  • A few vocabulary words to consider
  • Questions to develop thinking skills and awareness of how the themes work in the movie
  • Answer key for parents

Cinema Study Guide for Inn of the Sixth Happiness

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) was the powerful story based on the life of missionary Gladys Aylward’s rescue of children in China during Japan’s invasion during World War II. The movie won the Golden Globe award for the Best Film Promoting International Understanding. It is based on her biography: The Small Woman: The Heroic Story of Gladys Aylward by Alan Burgess.

While this is a biopic (the movie is inspired by her story, although sometimes fictionalized) many of the events did happen:

  • her perilous trip from England to China,
  • running an inn for mule train drivers in mountainous China,
  • using storytelling to spread the gospel,
  • friendship with the mandarin,
  • becoming the foot inspector,
  • quelling the prison riot,
  • shepherding one hundred orphans across the mountains to safety. 

Teens will be inspired by her story, as well as becoming better acquainted with this time in history. They will also learn important literature analysis skills.

Focus for Literary Analysis: 

  • Theme
  • Motivation
  • Difference between biopic and documentary

Click here to view an excerpt from Inn of the Sixth Happiness Cinema Study Guide.

Here’s how Cinema Studies for Literature Learning guides work.

  • Each study guide asks the student to read the introductory material, watch the movie once (answering questions as they go, occasionally pausing the video), and then take a week to think a bit about the ideas and the literary devices they observed. Ideally, students should discuss their answers with someone else to enhance the learning process.
  • Students then watch the movie a second time after the questions and ideas have had some time to take root, then write in response to the suggested assignment at the end of the study guide. Writing assignments assume a certain degree of basic understanding on the part of the student regarding paragraph structure and essay form. (If your teen has not practiced essay writing, we recommend that you look into a writing guide like Introductory Guide to High School Essay Writing by Marilyn Groop, available in the ebookstore here.)

This product downloads as two separate PDF files. One file is intended for student use. This document contains fillable fields so students can type their answers directly into the guide. The other document is the answer key, intended for the parent.

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