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For Wednesday: Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 40-46

Remember, there are no more questions for groups to answer (your in-class writing last time satisfied that requirement). Instead, we'll examine a specific passage in class on Wednesday to get us started, so be sure to read up to or close to Chapter 46. Pay close attention to the chapter between Willougby and Elinor. Very interesting stuff here! :) 


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For Monday: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part I (pp.3-17)

The basic story: The poet links Arthur’s kingdom to ancient Troy, suggesting that Arthur is descended from ancient (and noble) stock. Then the action switches to Christmas games at Camelot, where lo and behold, a Green Man storms the castle riding a tremendous green horse. He challenges the knights to a contest: he will allow any  man one chance to chop off his head, and if he isn’t killed by the blow, the Green Knight gets to give a blow in return. No one takes him up on this offer, and Arthur, humiliated, agrees to do it himself. But Gawain, one of the younger knights, agrees to take his place and slices off the Knight’s head. However, the Knight merely picks it up and says, “see you in a year!”
Answer TWO of the following questions for Monday. To get full credit for this assignment, be sure to do the following: (a) answer each question in a few sentences, (b) be specific—don’t just give a generic answer, and (c) if possible, quote part of the book to support your ideas.
Q1: How is t…

For Monday: Beowulf, pages 3-36 (Alexander translation)

NOTE: These questions are not meant as busy work; rather, they are to be used as a guide to help you through the maze of difficult readings or to give you something specific to respond to.  I don’t want you to skim readings or just read for the plot.  A work of literature is made up of the small moments, powerful phrases, or sudden revelations that occur in the most unlikely places.  Read slowly and carefully, even if you don’t get to the exact end of the reading assignment.  Better to read well than finish poorly.
Answer TWO of the following...
1. In Wednesday’s class we discussed the uneasy truce between the pagan world and Christianity, and in many ways, this truce is embodied in Beowulf.  Where do you see the poet trying to reconcile these two worlds in the poem?  Does it seem natural or forced; half-hearted or valedictory?  Discuss a specific passage or two in your response. 
2. In a famous passage of the poem (page 20/line 500), Unferth, another warrior at Hrothgar’s court, attack…

For Friday: Chaucer, "The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale"

Answer TWO of the following...
Q1: Why do you think the tale begins with such a lengthy Prologue? Why doesn’t he simply get on with his Tale (especially since the Prologue somewhat undercuts the Tale’s effectiveness)?Is he simply talkative like the Knight, or is there another reason behind this?
Q2: The Pardoner says the theme of all his sermons is “money is the root of all evil.” Why does he specialize in this theme, and what does his theme suggest about the profession of ‘pardoning’ in general?
Q3: The Pardoner’s Tale is a classic medieval allegory: three ‘brothers’ arming themselves to find and murder Death. Why don’t they recognize him when they find him? What makes it so easy for Death to win, according to the Pardoner (or Chaucer)?
Q4: Why does the Pardoner try to sell his relics and pardons to the entire group after his sermon? Don’t they already know that both are worthless after hearing his Prologue? Why does Chaucer include this humorous sales pitch?