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A Proud Taste For Scarlet and Miniver Reading Guide

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Completed by ________________________________

In period _______________________
The Plot:

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver tells the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, a famous queen. The author E.L. Konigsburg tells the story through several different narrators, using a frame story. A frame story is a story that starts before and finishes after another story. In this book, the frame story takes place in heaven.
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver begins in heaven, where Eleanor is waiting with some companions for her second husband to be allowed in. While they wait, each person tells a part of Eleanor’s life, as they see it. They begin at the time of her first marriage, when she is 15 years old. Abbot Suger tells about her marriage to King Luis of France, their marriage troubles, and their crusade to Jerusalem. Matilda-Empress, Eleanor’s second mother-in-law, takes over as Eleanor divorces Louis VII and marries Henry of Anjou, the future King of England. Eleanor helps run England for a while, then goes home to Aquitaine and William Marshall takes over the story. He tells about her rebellions against her husband. She was put in prison by her husband Henry, but was released by her son Richard after King Henry’s death. When she’s released, Eleanor begins to tell her own tale. She took care of England for Richard until his death. Then, when her youngest son John took over England, she headed back to Aquitaine. At the end of the book, Henry, her husband, joins Eleanor and her companions in heaven.
The Structure:

A frame story is a story that starts before and finishes after another story. In this book, the frame story takes place in heaven.


Shoeless Joe, an example tale with a frame story (underlined)

Once I was at YMCA camp and a counselor gathered us to tell a spooky story. His story went like this: A child disappeared from this camp many years ago. He lost both shoes and wandered in the snow, disappearing into the woods. He was never found, but he did leave a trail of little footprints in the snow, left by his shoeless feet. In fact, he still leaves those tracks, from time to time. The counselor pointed out the window to some small, shoeless tracks in the snow, and we all screamed.
In the example, the frame story is told by ______________________________ and the “actual” story is told by ____________________________________.
The Narrators:

A narrator is a person telling the story. This novel has four “Tales” about Eleanor, each told by a different person. Each one has a different perspective on Eleanor.



  • Abbot Suger- pp13-70

  • Matilda Empress- pp74-120

  • William the Marshal- pp127-176

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine – pp181-194

Each of these narrators has a page in this packet to be completed.


Eleanor of Aquitaine

Focus Questions:

How was Eleanor a typical medieval woman?






Women in Medieval Times

Eleanor in real life (via research)

Eleanor in A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

Jobs and Money










Childhood and Marriage










Family Responsibilities










Legal Limits and Social Status










How accurate do you think the Eleanor of the book is to real life Eleanor?

Abbot Suger’s Tale



Character

What you know about him or her (including personality) 3+ things

How you know it (3 + quotes and/or specific examples with page #s)

Eleanor of Aquitaine







Louis VII, King of France







Abbot Suger







Matilda-Empress’s Tale

Character

What you know about him or her (including personality) 3+ things

How you know it (3 + quotes and/or specific examples with page #s)

Eleanor of Aquitaine







Henry II, King of England







Matilda-Empress







William the Marshal’s Tale

Character

What you know about him or her (including personality) 3+ things

How you know it (3 + quotes and/or specific examples with page #s)

Eleanor of Aquitaine







William the Marsal






Character of Your Choice









Eleanor of Aquitaine’s Tale

Character

What you know about him or her (including personality) 3+ things

How you know it (3 + quotes and/or specific examples with page #s)

Eleanor of Aquitaine






Character of Your Choice








Character of Your Choice









After Reading

Answer each question below. You may use another page as needed.

1) How does each narrator see Eleanor differently?

2) Why might the author use each of these different narrators?



3) How was Eleanor a product of her setting? That is, how did the setting (medieval times) affect how the character that Eleanor became? How was she like other medieval women and how was she different? Use examples from the text and the research page when you answer this question.

4) How accurate do you think the Eleanor of the book is to real life Eleanor? Use examples from the text and the research page when you answer this question.


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