Notes 1-3 (Essay 1 Procrastinators)
Notes 1-3 (Essay 1 Procrastinators) ENGL 221
Popular in British Literature to 1798
verified elite notetaker
Popular in Foreign Language
Justine Anne Guevarra
verified elite notetaker
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Date Created: 02/22/16
Beowulf 1 . Brief Background Old English was preserved until the Norman Conquest of 1066. French speaking people infused (or corrupted, depending on your point of view) the English language. Monasteries were the main centers of book production SEE INTRODUCTION IN BOOK 2 . Broad Themes Christian theology confronting pagan tradition Female agency (or lack thereof) The power of narrative to immortalize the hero lives on through storytelling Materialism (treasure and word hoard) vs. narrative power 3 . Theme: Pagan Hero versus Christian Ethics Pagan: Beowulf’s boastfulness (or rather, honesty), and desire for revenge (Weregild), materialism Christian: humility, desire to forgive, focusing on the being 4 . Recurrences Metapoetics: poetry about poetry (meta: of the self, selfreferential) Alliteration: repetition of initial or mediate consonant sounds “I could never bring it to bear in battle” (1660) Wordhoard concept: words only have value in circulation Reinforced bond of kinship (remembrance, pride) 5 . Beowulf Heroic traits/tendencies Physical strength, great pride, confidence, accomplishes great feats (such as battling sea monsters) etc. Pride and closeness to his lineage/people Loyalty Desire to exact Weregild or manprice (AngloSaxon and Germanic belief that if a person dies, the victim’s side is allowed to exact revenge through paying or slaying someone with the same/similar rank) Jesus/Christlike figure Does not have a wife: could tempt him to submit to bodily sinful desires Mother is Marylike 12 followers who ultimately betray him in battle (leave out of fear) Wiglaf washing Beowulf’s wounds 6 . Grendel Sinful (similarly to descriptions of nonGeats) Linked to Cain Isolated (outcast from the kinship that Beowulf possesses) Carnal, passionate desires: sex, alcohol (for Geats’ rivals), and food (they literally eat their fleshy desires) Sin/Christian Weakness 7 . Narrator Educates the reader not to be a pagan, despite their good traits Pities them and is somewhat condescending BUT romanticizes their culture 8 . Theme: the Power of Narration People may be almost inexplicably linked with objects BUT one needs to tell own story rather than remembering the objects Focus on Beowulf’s nonbiological son (Wiglaf) and his potential to continue the story Christian Moral: Narrative matters over materials because one’s story will live on if circulated well enough More pagan moral: Legacy is immeasurable and will encourage honor and kinship They want to “cherish his memory” 9 . Theme: Flaw in Materialism Descriptions of weapons: great descriptions of powerful weapons BUT they often fail (vs. actual people such as Wiglaf) Example: Beowulf’s sword failed when he fought Grendel’s mom, so he had to use the sword by giants Earthly existence and possessions will fade and one shouldn’t want to be remembered by it Example: Beowulf’s men buried him with the horde so that they would remember the person, not the stuff Christian Moral: don’t put faith in material things 10 . Theme: Female Agency The Queen Some agency: not intimidated by her husband’s commands Wise: knows her husband and how to talk to him Focused on Motherly role/devotion to son Grendel’s Mother Motherly role/devotion to son BUT Manly: exacts man price/revenge: commitment to proper code of ethics vs. focus on grief Devotion to kin elicits sympathy for the “fatherless creatures” (13451360) and creates an abnormal lack of structure for social order Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 1 . Themes Knightly religious quest Inward battles of morality and spirituality (as opposed to Beowulf’s physical exertion) Power of written text as opposed to merely narration Expresses the transition from oral to written: “trips from the tongue; and as it has been inked” (3233) 2 . Style Heavy alliteration More obvious than in Beowulf ABAB rhyme scheme Give it a singsong quality Early Modern English style translation Play on words: game Wild animals to be hunted as opposed to a fun activity 3 . Female Presence Morgan Le Fay Agency: her power transforms the Green Knight Bertilak’s wife Unclear Agency: ambiguous seduction (either acting upon own desires or merely obeying her husband’s wishes) 4 . Gawain Model of courtesy (of the royal court) Projects proper knightly behavior for the honor of his king (Arthur) and the queen Humble Example: Claims he is the weakest knight when the Green Knight first asks for a volunteer: “loss of my life would be the least lamented” (355) Kind and Pure (mostly) Respectfully decline’s Bertilak’s wife’s advances, but offers to serve as her knight Religious figure (similarly to Beowulf) Materialism and religion: Excess armor is an outward sign of inward grace because one needs spiritual protection a. Walks to church with his armor b. Takes off his armor to be slain c. Details on armor: pentangle (symbol of eternity) on one side, and the image of the Virgin Mary on the other side Path to righteousness a. Lone figure b. Battles animals (but does not hunt them) and avoids sexual desires description of the hunt and preparation of meat is meant to deter the reader from such acts, so that they will not have a tainted soul (as opposed to Beowulf’s focus on dying from this event) 5 . Gawain’s Journey Expressed Through the Animals Increasingly less gruesome description of the hunt and preparation Deer: innocent a. Gawain receives one kiss Boar: losing his will to fight seduction somewhat b. Gawain receives two kisses Fox: cunning c. Gawain receives three kisses and withholds having the supposedly enchanted gift Coincides with strikes at the end 1 strike: does not hit 2 strike: does not hit 3 strike: draws blood The Canterbury Tales 1 . General Theme: Protestant Reformation ideals ahead of his time (Martin Luther) The General Prologue 2 . Literary Background Established literary value of the English language Through writing in English rather than French (more of the style of the aristocracy) Did not focus on ability to read Latin (sign of upper class) Many of his manuscripts survived to the present day c. 1440 printing via Gutenberg’s press William Caxton was the first to produce books in England and published The Canterbury Tales the book became more widely available and popular 3 . Chaucer’s Background Middleclass background (son of an affluent wine merchant), but married a higher class woman social mobility and representation of high and low culture and statuses in his work 4 . Style Estate’s Satire Exposes typical examples of corruption at all levels of society Formal, rhymed couplets legitimizes rhyme as a valid/good trait of poetry English, but with lingering French influence Pronunciation: emphasis on the “e” at the ends of words Words: “Coeur” (French word for heart) as seen in “corage” 5 . Narrator Character in a story rather than merely a narrator 1 POV (as opposed to omniscient) Equally detailed descriptions (for all social classes) Disclaimer/apology at the end of the Prologue hides Chaucer’s true motives Vows to truthfully tell a vulgar tale for the sake of narrative integrity Explains that he talks about people regardless of social order because he is often confused 6 . Topic: Materiality Dress Social attire as a social signifier 7 . Character: Knight Generally, favorably depicted due to upper class audience Chaucer needed support from nobles via a pension and/or favors (artistic patronage) Depiction similar to Sir Gwaine (Sir Gwaine and the Green Knight) 8 . Character: Monk Religious BUT has many secular (outdoorsy in particular) interests and materialistic tastes 9 . Character: Friar (Hubert) Greed: Territorial begging profits for himself rather than to the poor Lustful: impregnates many women and has them married to other men to hide his actions Dishonest: advocates easy penance in exchange for monetary donations 10 . Character: Preacher/Parson Christlike Looks like a shepherd Has 12 apostles Forgiving Does not show favoritism Practices what he preaches BUT he is an example of how too much goodness can lead to vulnerability 11 . Characters: Pardoner and Somnour Somnour Effeminate: voice, hair Manipulation/con artist: Blackmails people to give him money or else he will turn them over to the ecclesial courts and sells phony relics Pardoner Manipulation: tells others they can buy their way into heaven or lessen their time in purgatory 12 . The General Prologue Description Competitive Wants to win the storytelling contest “Experienced,” but not educated “experienced though noun aucturitee” (1) Wise from experience (especially from having 5 husbands) Travels a lot to many pilgrimages Social Passionate Wears red stockings and expensive, elaborate clothes 13. Feminist? Independent Rejection of valuing female virginity Using heard scripture and/or functional literacy Depicts battle of the sexes (while still in a traditionally female role) Convinces her first 3 nice/docile husbands that they made sexist remarks when drunk and makes them feel bad for her make it up to her through favors AND does this when she was in the wrong Resourceful (sex and economics) Moves from one rich husband to the next becomes increasingly rich Business: Uses sex as a bargaining tool to encourage husbands to serve her (supply and demand, 294) Business: tells a husband she could make more money selling herself, so he should be grateful. She only implies the male shame of losing her as a kind of sexual property (292). 14. Not Feminist? Manipulative and dominant Seeks to use men rather than be more equal to them (issue of proto vs. contemporary) (see resourceful above) Vengeful, but not sinful Retaliation for 4 husband’s cheating: made him believe she cheated on him to drive him mad 15. Her Interpretation of Scripture ProtoProtestant: individuals need and interpret scripture for themselves In this case, she interprets this as a woman not holding a position at the church Evidence: a. Sex makes babies, BUT she doesn’t have kids b. Double standard: biblical figures (such as King Solomon) had many wives c. Sex makes babies, and thus more virgins, BUT again, she doesn’t have kids 16 . Connection Between Marriage and Economics Diversification (of markets, men) Backup plans for the future Thinks that a mouse stupidly only has one hole to go into “I holde a mouses herte nought worth a leek / That hath but oon hole for to sterte to,” (57879). 17 . Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus? Balance: She embodies Mars and Venus (Heart is from Mars and Bodily desires are from Venus) “In feeling, and myn herte is Marcien: / Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse” (61617) and “My chamber of Venus . . . Martes merk upon my face” (62425). Possessed traditionallyperceived masculine traits desire for Sovereignty NOT a man in a woman’s body Ambitious, competitive, unladylike and unapologetic desire for control and dominance (sex and otherwise), outgoing, etc. th 18. Husband Background Age difference (she’s 40 while he’s 20) because she likes younger men Met him at her 4 husband’s funeral (which, of course, is fine because he was a philanderer) Power Balance Changes Initially shares assets with him (due to irrational attraction to him) a. He has power and doesn’t care about her desires, so he controls her: doesn’t like her roaming around, etc. (640) b. Justification: University student (who can read Latin) has auctoritee Shift beings in an argument: a. She rips a page from his sexist book (Valerie and Theofraste), strikes him, he strikes her back, she lays there and pretends to wants a kiss (but hits him again) b. Reciprocity: He gives her back the assets and will neither hit her nor make sexist comments. In return, she is loving and faithful. (With power, women want to please their husbands) 19. Male Narrator for Female Voice Proto Feminist? Transcends beyond misogynistic literary female stereotypes (mostly) Respect: through allowing the Lady of Bath to tell her tale uninterrupted mostly BUT Unclear whether or not this taints or brings greater respect to protofeminist ideals Metatextuality: (reading about reading) Valerie and Theofraste 20 . So… ProtoFeminist? Articulates double standards regarding gender Sex without having children (similar to male behavior) Claims that sexual desires come from the stars (or something unconscious as men sometimes do) “By vertu of my constellacioun; / That made me I coude nought withdrawe” (622 23). Discredits entire sexist tradition (694716) Since men wrote so much literature, of course they wrote bad things about women When they grow older and cannot perform sexually, they become bitter and write horribly sexist things (71314) Equitable Behavior (expresses rift in Estate Satire) Does not judge people based on rank, race, or wealth; she only cares if she is sexually attracted to them (62932) BUT it’s unclear if she embodies sexist tradition Desire for complete dominance over men (as opposed to desire for equity) as opposed to realistic and lasting balance and therefore lasting control The Wife of Bath’s Tale 1 . MetaNarrative There used to be fairies, but the friars ran the fairies away with their begging (spontaneous alteration of story) Ovidian tale of Midas: why women cannot keep secrets Midas’ wife was sworn to remain silent about Midas’ long ears, but she tells the swamp. The long reeds hear and the ass’ ears and whisper them with the wind (97987). Chaucer explains that if the reader wants to hear the rest of the tale, they should read Ovid (81). 2. Transfer of Authority Power from King Queen to grant judgement in the case of a knight raping a virgin The Knightly quest: 1 year and 1 day to find what women want most and his life will be spared 3. Continuation of ProtoFeminism? Woman in Ovidian tale of Midas Not an ordinary woman (therefore ordinary women can keep secrets) Fictional/mythical/unrealistic 4 . Parallels between Prologue and Tale Both the Lady of Bath and old woman force demands on others: Old woman forces marriage on the knight Lady of Bath forces her desires on her husbands Desire equity Old woman explains that rank and physical appearance don’t matter a. Low rank: Nobility can be seen through virtuous living (not inherited) and Jesus was poor, but great b. Ugliness: No one will cheat on her Desire sovereignty and will please husband in return Old woman asks the man to choose whether he wants an ugly, but faithful wife or a beautiful, but unfaithful wife he lets her choose he receives a beautiful and faithful wife Lady of Bath receives all of her assets and is loyal in return.
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