Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
For the response paper, choose one of the following topics and analyze the reading assignment for the day with respect to the topic you’ve chosen (only choose one topic):
Narrative. What are the main elements of the narrative? Don’t simply summarize what happens in the story but discuss what seem to be the major sections or main divisions of the story. Outline the story line into sections. How do those sections/divisions relate to one another (or not)? What is the organizing principle? Is there a sense of a beginning, a middle, and an end to the story? Does the main story have a frame of some sort around it or an introduction that sets up the major themes and images of the story? Is there a climactic moment? Are there any subplots?
Form. What kind of poetry is the text? Does it rhyme and/or have stanzas? Does it alliterate? Does it use both rhyme/stanzas and alliteration? Does it use neither? How long are the poetic lines (i.e., number of syllables or metric feet)? Does the author use typical poetic techniques of later poetry (e.g., metaphor, imagery, symbolism, syntactic inversion, rhythm, poetic diction, enjambment)?
World View and Values. What kind of world does the text portray? What are the fundamental elements or principles of the text’s fictive world? Is the world a benevolent place or is it dark and dangerous? How does the text portray humanity? Does the text seem to view/portray the world and humanity in a basically positive or basically negative light? What are the fundamental values of the text? Does the text value hard work, honesty, wealth, breeding, loyalty, physical prowess/beauty, intelligence?
Gender. How are men and women portrayed in the text? What seems to be the attitude of the author toward men and women? What are the characteristics of a good man or a good woman in the text? Or a bad man or a bad woman? Does the text generalize about male and female gender roles? What does the text imply or say about what roles are appropriate for each gender? Does the text seem to favor, criticize, or attack either gender?
Religion. How are religion and religious ideas portrayed in the text? How Christian is the work in outlook, doctrine, and/or symbolism? Does the text use Christian images? Does it espouse Christian values (with or without explicit Christian content)? Does it reflect on or mention Christian doctrine? How is organized religion portrayed? How are Church figures (such as friars, monks, priests, and nuns) portrayed? Is the text critical of the Church?
Social Class. How are members of different social classes portrayed in the text? What seems to be the attitude of the author toward the king and royal court, the nobility, peasants, and/or townspeople? Does the author use, endorse, or undermine the stereotypes about particular social classes? Does the author seem to identify with any particular social class or with the values of a particular class?
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