Week 9: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images

Reflections Essay


Choose one of the essay topics for this week. You will find the topics listed down at the bottom of this page; scroll down to find them. If you want to write on a different topic, contact the instructor first (make sure you do that at least one day before the deadline so that you can receive an answer back in time).

Links to stories. You need to provide a link back to each of the specific stories that you discuss in your essay.

Image. You are required to include at least one image with the story, along with a link to the webpage where you found the image, plus information about the image. You are free to re-use the images you find at the course website, or you can choose some other image to use that you find on the internet. Remember: even if you are re-using an image from the course website, you need to provide image information about it.

Title. You need to include the words "Essay for Week ___" in the title you give to the post, along with a title for your actual story (for example, "Essay for Week 2: Honesty Rewarded in the Jataka Tales")

Length. Your Storytelling post needs to be a minimum of 300 words long (maximum 1000 words). Make sure you do a spellcheck and a word count, and that you proofread your post by reading it out loud.

When you are done, complete the Gradebook Declaration.


I have published a blog post with the words "Essay for Week ___" in the title, along with a specific title for my essay.

My post is between 300 words minimum and 1000 words maximum.

I have spellchecked and proofread the post.

I have included links to the specific stories that I discussed.

I have included an image, along with Image Information.

Possible Topics:

Comedy and Humor. What were some of the comic elements in this week's stories? Did you appreciate the humor in the stories? What are the characters and/or situations that were supposed to be humorous? Was the humor based on surprise? exaggeration? making fun of someone or something? Did any of the stories make you laugh out loud? Which story did you think was the most humorous? How does the kind of humor you found in these stories compare to the kind of humor found in television and movies today? (Make sure you provide specific examples from at least three different stories.)

Sexual Conduct and Misconduct. What seem to have been the rules for sexual behavior based on the stories that you have read here? Do you see any consistencies in the way that sexual desire is depicted in these stories? Are the sexual desires of men basically like / unlike the sexual desires of women? Are women held to a different standard of conduct than men? What are the sexual taboos and how are they reinforced? Are there any points of comparison that you can make with the sexual norms and sexual taboos in our society today? (Make sure you provide specific examples from at least three different stories.)

Setting and Landscape. What impression did you have of the setting and the natural landscape for these stories? How did the setting contribute to the meaning of the stories? Where did the stories take place? What details do you remember about the settings of the stories? Did the setting(s) play an important role in the stories? Were the seasons or time of year important in any of the stories? The weather? Was the natural setting realistic, or was it a kind of fantasy setting? (Make sure you provide specific examples from at least three different stories.)

Women's Roles. Many storytelling traditions are male-oriented, with the female characters appearing in clearly subordinate roles. Sometimes the stories are explicitly misogynistic, treating women with contempt, suspicion or fear. In other storytelling traditions, women (or girls) emerge as the central characters, and they are represented in a more positive light. What did you think about the way women and girls were represented in the stories that you read this week? (Make sure you provide specific examples from at least three different stories.)

Assess. Think back to your Starting Assumptions this week and your Starting Assumptions for the course in general. Did anything you read or studied this week make a big change in your starting assumptions? What surprised you the most? What stories made the most vivid impression on you? Why? Was there a story that didn't grab you at all or that you didn't understand? Did this unit fit into your expectations for a course in World Literature? If you were going to continue with this topic, what kind of research and reading would you want to do? What questions would you want to find answers to? (Make sure you provide specific examples from at least three different stories.)

Modern Languages MLLL-2003. World Literature: Frametales. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:48 PM