Houston 1 Hunter Houston Mrs. Caldwell English 12 1 February 2007 Biblical References in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Biblical references frequently appear throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The story was written in a time where the rules and morals of Christianity were followed very strictly. The Green Knight approaches the Knights of the Round Table and offers a proposal to the Knights. Sir Gawain being the brave and loyal Knight that he is accepts his offer and is given an axe to cut off the Green Knight’s head. What the Sir Gawain did not know was that the Green Knight still was alive after being beheaded. He told Sir Gawain that he had a year and a day to return for his death. The story is more than what is seen; because it has many biblical references that tie the ideas from each character into one main point. Everything was literal and exact. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, John Gardner portrays the biblical references that give explanation to the origin and background of the novel and how the story is told. A main character that has a lot of biblical references is the Green Knight. The Green Knight approaches King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, in which Sir Gawain accepts his challenge. The Green Knight first quotes scripture. He describes Sir Gawain as being “confessed so clene” and that “no priest be sought”. He says this because Sir Gawain repents for his actions and handles the situation with honor and chivalry. In the bible, only Jesus could be powerful enough to cleanse people of their sins and say they have no more wrongdoing. The Green Knight shows many similarities. Houston 2 The Green Knight also states that “the world was made of flesh” (John 1:14) and that “all flesh is grass” (Isaiah 40:6). He is saying that the world was made for humans and that our bodies are the grass to our own souls. If the main character and his main ideas and points are coming from the bible then it is safe to say that the story is biblically based. The Green Knight is performing the random acts that transpire from a bigger meaning and they show evidence that come from the bible. A commonly repeated theme throughout the story is the theme of Christmas. After the Green Knight gets his head chopped off and still lives he gives Sir Gawain a year and a day to return for his turn to be beheaded. This “year and a day” resembles the annual occurrence of Christmas. Like Jesus’ birth, the Green Knight is reborn when his head is chopped off. This story is described as “…near the surface, a Christian poem”. The overall theme is a Christian one. “…as Christmas itself is Christian; Christian in harmony with pre-Christian nature belief and ritual, a Christian re-interpretation of these.” The story is described as a Christian re-interpretation that has nature rituals and beliefs. The Christmas theme defends and secures the idea that the story is biblically based and has a Christian origin behind it. The story taking place in winter only leads us to believe that it in near Christmas time. “Arthur looks for a marvel, Christmas being the season of marvels (what could be more marvelous than a birth in the dead season” and indeed the ceremonial banquet has hardly commenced…” This describes Christmas as a ceremonial banquet which could also describe Sir Gawain’s ceremonial return to his death. Like the Christmas theme, supernatural events frequently occur throughout the story. We do not know of the supernatural powers of the Green Knight until his head is Houston 3 cut off and we are surprised that he is still alive. At this point we know that the theme of this story has a bigger meaning. When we witness the rebirth of the Green Knight we can relate it to that of Jesus after being hung on the cross. This scene ends and Sir Gawain goes to find hope for his life before returning the next year. He then encounters a transformed Green Knight in the form of a king. Sir Gawain does not know this but the Green Knight is testing him on his journey. This scene resembles Satan in the Garden of Eden when he transforms into a snake to test Eve. The biblical idea of transformation and testing the innocent shows us the background of the story. Through the transformation and the challenges put out by the Green Knight we can gather a resemblance of biblical stories such as the one in the Garden of Eden. The Green Knight also has biblical resemblance to Jesus when he is reborn after he is supposedly killed by Sir Gawain. Not only do actions of the Green Knight show us this resemblance and prospect of origin for this story being biblically based, but he also quotes scripture. The appearance of scripture shows us the Christian theme and the ties to the Christmas story. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, John Gardner portrays the biblical references that give explanation to the origin and background of the novel and how the story is told. To be very blunt, you use three pages to say very little. I think you are trying to prove the origin and the background of the story, which is a tough feat in itself. You do not do this because you get caught up in proving several things like: The story has Biblical references, supernatural elements, and characters that resemble Christ. This is all over the place, and if you take out the pseudo introduction, you barely have 2 ½ pages. This needs work and needs some serious support. Houston 4 English 12 Literary Research Paper Rough Draft CATEGORY 4 3 2 1 Total Thesis Is clearly stated as Is a complete Is a complete Is not a complete 2 Statement a complete sentence and sentence and sentence and/or sentence and tells provides some idea provides little idea provides no exactly what the as to the content of as to the content of information as to paper is about the paper the paper the content of the paper Body Are logically Are arranged in a Are somewhat No logical 2 Paragraphs arranged and easy reasonably logical logically arranged arrangement and to follow order and and slightly difficult very difficult to somewhat easy to to follow follow follow Paragraph All paragraphs Most paragraphs Paragraphs Paragraphing 2 Construction include introductory include introductory included related structure was not sentence, sentence, information but clear and explanations or explanations or were typically not sentences were details, and details, and constructed well. not typically concluding concluding related within the sentence. sentence. paragraphs. Sentence Uses a variety of Uses a variety of Uses some variety Uses no variety in 3 Structure sentence structures sentence structures in sentence sentence structure with few mistakes with some mistakes structure with many mistakes Amount of All topics are All topics are All topics are One or more 2 Information addressed and all addressed and addressed, and topics were not questions most questions most questions addressed. answered with at answered with at answered with 1 least 2 quotes or least 2 sentences sentence about sources about about each. each. each. Quality of Information clearly Information clearly Information clearly Information has 2 Information relates to the main relates to the main relates to the main little or nothing to topic. It includes topic. It provides 1- topic. No details do with the main several supporting 2 supporting details and/or examples topic. details and/or and/or examples. are given. examples. Mechanics No grammatical, Almost no A few grammatical Many 3 spelling or grammatical, spelling, or grammatical, punctuation errors. spelling or punctuation errors. spelling, or punctuation errors punctuation errors. Format Follows MLA format Follows MLA format Follows MLA format Does not follow 2 with a few minor with some errors with many errors MLA format errors Sources All sources All sources All sources Some sources are 2 (information and (information and (information and not accurately graphics) are graphics) are graphics) are documented. accurately accurately accurately documented in the documented, but a documented, but desired format. few are not in the many are not in the desired format. desired format. Total: 20/40 Houston 5 Bibliography Bible Chance, Jane. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Yale University: Mayard Mack, 1986. Parkins, Ronaldo. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." W.W. Norton and Company. 2 Feb 2007 <http://csis.pace.du/grendel/projs3d/begi.html>. Reed, Frank. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I1996 1 February 2007 <www.lib.rochester.edu/chamelot/sggk.htm>. Electronic Peer Review This process is going to feel a bit like musical chairs. Follow these steps: Open your first draft and this document on your laptop. Trade seats or laptops with someone. Each of you will type directly into the opened documents on the laptop. So you are reviewing theirs and they are reviewing yours. When you are finished with the documents, copy/paste THIS review to the end of your partner’s first draft. (That way the review and the paper are in one file) Use the specific saving process indicated at the end of this document to save the draft/review in the Student Projects Folder under your period number for Mrs. Caldwell to retrieve. Do a review of a classmate’s essay. Answer questions directly into this document using italics or a different color font for your answers. Please put a space between questions. If you need help using the Reviewing Tools in MS Word, see the following file in the Student Projects Folder: mswordfeatures.pdf . If you do not see a reviewing toolbar go to View/Toolbars/Reviewing. You are not editing the paper, but if you see a glaring error, highlight it in yellow. 1. Do you have a sense of why you should be reading the essay? (the “so what” question) What is it? Biblical references gives you something to relate to as you read the story Where is this indicated? In the thesis and in the end of most paragraphs Houston 6 2. Is there enough text cited so that you can follow the student writer’s point clearly and be effectively persuaded?yes 3. Do you have a sense of what all the pieces of the essay add up to? yes Where does the writer articulate this sense clearly? In the end of the paper 4. Does the writer help you get from one paragraph to the next so that you have a sense of direction throughout the essay? sometimes Where is this indicated or not indicated? Going from the Christmas topic to the supernatural was a hard transition but you make it seem easy. 5. a. Where are you persuaded to agree with the paper’s direction? yes b. Disagree? c. Not understand what the point is? Not understand what the big deal is? 6. What do you like most about the essay? The Christmas idea and how the green knight is reborn 7. Write in your own words what you consider to be the writer's thesis. The writer uses biblical references as a tool for the reader to connect. 8. Identify the writer's major points by highlighting them in pink within the body paragraphs. 9. Identify citations by highlighting them in blue. 10. Describe the writer's strongest claim and explain why you think so. the reborn and second chance claim is the strongest because there is so much text support with that claim. 11. Comment on the essay as a whole. The essay is good but nothing is ever perfect. 12. Make at least 1 suggestion for content improvement. Make sure to make citations after quotes. At the end of each paragraph go back to the thesis and really drive that point in hard. 13. How many sources are cited in the paper? three 14. How many quotes/paraphrases are evident within the paper? nine 15. Does the paper have any major structural problems? Not that I could see but I suck at structure. (Indicate mechanics or sentence structure issues by inserting a comment. Number each error –1,2,3…- and add commentary. Do not correct-only comment or suggest) 16. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being best), rate this paper and indicate its ability to stand on its research as reliable and on its claims to be addressed in the author’s words. Houston 7 3 the paper is good but the argument could still use some work but it is a solid first draft 17. How many pages are the document not including the works cited? three 18. Go into Page Setup and write what the margins are here. 1 on top and bottom and 1.25 on the sides Also indicate the font and size used. 12 times new roman 19. Do you see any MLA issues in the paper? no Please insert comments to indicate the problem or missing element. (format, header, title, block quote, citations, etc) 20. Is there a working bibliography (Works Cited Page) attached? yes Which source is cited most often? The Bible How many times total is it cited?3 When you are finished, copy/paste this document at the end of the first draft you are reviewing. Save the new file in the following manner: Author’s Last Name/ PR by Your Last Name Example- Parker PR by Murphree Save this into the Student Projects Folder under your period number. Also save a copy to their flash drive.