Reflection: Discourse and Questioning The Knight's Tale, Day 2 of 3 - Section 2: Emily's Voice


In an earlier lesson that I taught about the lack of women's voices in Beowulf, I emphasized the cultural context of stories and who tells them. The women in Chaucer's stories range from the outspoken and lively Alisoun telling us "The Wife of Bath's Tale" to Emilia, Theseus meek and mild sister-in-law.  Chaucer strives to show us, in a way Beowulf's author did not, how complex and varied women could be. Whether he is being ironic or sincere, we aren't presented with a single cultural concept of women, instead we are given access to a variety of behaviors and attitudes from all the social classes, a reminder that where and how a woman was raised determined her behavior. 

I like to take time with my students at this point and discuss a little about the way culture influences gender.  I want them to start think about the different ways women (and men) might behave and speak based on where their geography, their social status, even their religion.  If Beowulf can help students understand that different cultures can have different ideas about gender, then The Canterbury Tales can help students understand that each culture has a wide variety and range of gendered behaviors and a host of associations made with those behaviors. 

  Women's Voices
  Discourse and Questioning: Women's Voices
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The Knight's Tale, Day 2 of 3

Unit 8: Canterbury Tales - A Knight's Tale
Lesson 5 of 8

Objective: SWBAT understand the literary techniques of style Chaucer employs to demonstrate the different storytelling styles of each character.

Big Idea: How does the author make this story believable? What is the difference between a believable story and a realistic one?

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palamon and arcite
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