Name: Period: Date: Medieval Literature The main thing to keep in mind about literature from the Middle Ages is the very distinct social structure at work in Medieval England. The peasantry composed and shared __________________________________, contributing to the rich oral tradition, while the aristocracy favored _____________________________, reinforcing the feudal system and offering the possibility of social mobility. Folk Ballads Despite the challenges posed by the dialect, you should be able to read and understand the folk ballads “Twa Corbies” (p. 194) and “Get Up and Bar the Door” (pp. 196-197). What are the elements of a folk ballad? Romance: Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur Malory’s contribution to Arthurian Legend, in addition to being the most complete surviving collection, is considered to be the first great work of English literary prose (as opposed to verse, such as Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales). Malory gathers together the French and English Arthurian legends that had been accumulating since the twelfth century, but he also imposes his own worldview on the story, as he lived during the turbulent fifteenth century and witnessed the decline of the feudal system. Malory looked back nostalgically to a vanished world that seemed brighter and more heroic than his own changing times. (NOTE: Idealizing the past is often a writer’s indirect way of criticizing the present.) 1. What warning does King Arthur receive in a dream? 2. How do circumstances frustrate his attempt to heed this warning? 3. What is the relationship between Mordred and Arthur? 4. How does the description of Lucan’s death contrast with the speech in which Arthur laments him? 5. What reason does Sir Bedivere give for not wanting to throw Excalibur into the water? 6. How does the king interpret his motive? 7. What takes place when Bedivere finally does as he has been told to do? Currin/English IV Interpretive Sentences Assignment The most effective writing is a seamless blend of evidence and analysis. Practicing the art of writing interpretive sentences is a great way to cultivate this style. An interpretive sentence essentially consists of an evidence clause linked to analysis clause by a strong verb, such as implies, reveals, or suggests. Thus, interpretive sentences are complex sentences and can help you break out of simple sentence patterns. Elements of Effective Interpretive Sentences Context: The writer identifies the literary work or the specific section or element of the work the sentence will discuss. Literary Device: The writer names, defines, or implies by illustration a relevant literary device. Text References: The writer directly quotes words and phrases or refers to specific content or language from the literary selection. Interpretation: The writer shows how the literary device and examples reveal theme, the speaker's attitude, the poet's artistry, or the significance of the work. Coherence: The writer uses transitions and connecting words to bind the parts of the sentence into a logical whole. Examine the structural elements of this sentence on the Anglo-Saxon poem we listened to in class: In “The Ruin” the speaker uses the elegiac form to lament the destruction of human achievements by fate—a theme announced in the first two lines by the contrast of the wondrous “work of giants” with a city broken by fate. ASSIGNMENT: Using the elements above as a guide, write an interpretive sentence for either one of the folk ballads OR the selection from Malory’s Morte d’Arthur in the space below. Please write neatly and thoughtfully.
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