An Empowering song for Comprehension


Over the weekend, I finally managed to watch the film - The Greatest Showman. One of the songs stood out to me and straight away I thought, this is a must for the classroom. If you have followed my blog, you know I am a fan of using music for reading comprehension and you can read some of my other posts here.

The film tells the story of PT Barnum and his circus.

"This Is Me" is a fight song for people who are not accepted by society. It is sung by Lettie Lutz after she and the rest of the circus troupe are barred by Barnum from an after party following Jenny Lind's performance. The bearded lady refuses to be cut down by the fact that the showman is embarrassed by them. According to the song's writer, "It was really inspired by the group of oddities in the film, and what they came to represent and what [director] Michael [Gracey] talked about them representing," Pasek told Billboard. "People who had lived in the shadows their whole lives and for the first time wanted to feel love and acceptance, and even when P.T. Barnum turns his back on them, they make a statement - not only to him, but to themselves - that they declare to love themselves for the first time."

Here is a link to the music video:



Here are the lyrics with some suggested questions:

I am not a stranger to the dark
"Hide away," they say
"'Cause we don't want your broken parts"
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
"Run away," they say
No one'll love you as you are


But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious


  • What does it mean to be a stranger to the dark? She likes to hide, in the shadows.
  • Who are 'they' mentioned in the second line? Society, maybe her family
  • What punctuation mark has been used to show speech? Inverted commas
  • What are her broken parts? The features that make her 'different'
  • Can these be fixed? Some things that are broken can be fixed but usually leave a reminder.
  • What does the word 'ashamed' mean? They feel embarrassed and humiliated
  • What are her scars? All the things that make her different.
  • Why has she used the word scars? Scars are something that last a lifetime.
  • Why does she use the word 'dust' when talking about breaking her down? To create something you have to crush something so much and it then just disappears into nothing.
  • On a scale of 1-5, how effective is the word glorious?
  • What is the word 'us' an example of? Pronoun
  • Why does she use the word 'us'? To show she is no longer alone and there are others who feel the same way. 
  • How does this make her feel? Empowered to know she is not alone, this might be what gives her confidence to speak out.
  • Looking at the video, when is this film set? In the past.
  • How were these people treated? Why?
  • Do you think it is right to treat them they way they were treated? Why?
  • Do you think we treat people like this today? Can you think of an example?

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

[Post-Chorus]
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh


  • Which word is spelt incorrectly in the first line? What should it be? Want to
  • What is the superlative adjective used in the first line? Sharpest
  • Why has she chosen that adjective? Usually, sharp objects can hurt us so she is describing the words as hurtful.
  • What does she mean by 'send a flood'? She wants rid of the judgements and negativity, she's going to drown them out. 
  • What does the metaphor in the second line remind you of? Almost like flushing a toilet and getting rid of the horrible mess.
  • Do you think she is brave? Why?
  • Why has she used the word bruised when in the first verse she uses scars? Unlike scars, bruising disappears with time. It signifies a change in the attitude of the singer – the words no longer leave a lasting mark on her, but the effect of the hurt becomes more short-lived, more temporal. It speaks of resilience and strength that blossoms from within the singer.
  • What is 'cause short for? Because
  • Why does she use the verb 'marching'? Marching tends to be something you do in a group, like an army, and it is a very determined walk.
  • Why does she march to her beat? She is now taking control of her life and how she is seen by others. 
  • What does it mean to apologise? Say sorry
  • Do you think she has apologised in the past? Why? Yes because she has let others bring her down.
  • Why isn't she going to apologise any more? She has nothing to apologise for.
  • Why was she scared to be seen?  They have been treated as outcasts their whole life and tried to hide in the darkness. Now they know their worth through the circus.



Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades
And reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become

[Pre-Chorus]
Won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious


  • Do you think real bullets are hitting her skin? No
  • What is she using here? A metaphor
  • What is the metaphor? The bullets are people's words and judgments
  • Why has she chosen bullets for this? Bullets usually serious hurt or even kill people. She is exaggerating how hurtful and damaging people's comments are. 
  • What word tells us this has happened before? Another
  • What is a barricade? a barrier to block or stop something
  • What is the barricade in this song? The barrier stopping the singer being who she really is
  • How effective is her verb choice of bursting? Very, she's not just going through the barricade she is bursting. When something bursts its usually because it can not hold anything more in - like a balloon. They have taken so much they can no longer keep it in.
  • Why are they reaching for the sun? This line traces back to the beginning of the song, in which the singer sings that she is “no stranger to the dark”, and that all of the circus members have been hiding away in the shadows their whole lives. But here, instead of remaining shackled by the world around them, they choose to burst out of the darkness and into the spotlight, finally embracing who they are.


When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
Gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me


Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me


And I know that I deserve your love
There's nothing I'm not worthy of
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is bruised
This is who I'm meant to be, this is me


Look out 'cause here I come (look out 'cause here I come)
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me


(Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh)
I'm gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh, this is me)


  • Do you like this song? Why?
  • What is the message of this song? 
  • On a scale of 1-5, how effectively does it convey this message? Why?
  • How would you describe this song in one word?
  • What lessons can we learn from this song today?

I hope you found this useful 

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