Tis the good reader that makes the good book.” -ralph Waldo Emerson

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Tis the good reader that makes the good book.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson
CP British Literature-Ports

Chaucer- Literary Analysis

Written Response #6

DUE: FRIDAY, DEC. 2, 2011 (30 pts)

Analysis: Writing that carefully examines and explores a subject with the objective of gaining understanding.

An extended literary analysis presents a critical understanding of a literary work (or works) base primarily on the author’s own interpretation of the text. It also contains the viewpoints of important critics, either to support his/her own ideas or to offer alternative interpretations. An effective literary analysis synthesizes information from multiple sources into a thoughtful, unified essay.

Sebranek, P., Meyer, V. & Kemper, D. (2007). Write for college: A student handbook. Wilmington, MA: Great Source Education Group.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Choose one literary analysis from The Greenhaven Press Literary Companion to British Literature: Readings on The Canterbury Tales. Read the analysis with careful detail. This means, take notes, highlight and define unfamiliar terms (at least 8). After several careful readings, write a summary of the literary analysis, along with a paragraph explaining what your learned from the essay and include a list of defined vocabulary words.

Within your summary and response, you should include some direct quotes and use correct APA citations (please see APA HANDOUT for correct formatting).

The GOAL for this assignment is to gain confidence reading academic material, to acquire insight into Chaucer’s writings, and to understand the literary analysis genre- so that you may write your own one day!!!

Example Paper

English 11 CP

December 2, 2011

Canterbury Tales Literary Analysis

Summary of Literary Analysis

Margaret Hallissy (1997) begins her essay, “The Churlish Miller’s Tale” by informing readers of its genre, a fabiau, which in contemporary times, is the “equivalent of the dirty joke” (p. 148). The characters and theme are appropriately told in a very vulgar manner, including four letter words and other inappropriate bodily functions to add humor and to appeal to medieval audiences.


In this section, the theme of adultery is addressed and the characters Alisoun and John are introduced. The tale is summarized and we learn that Alisoun, a young wife in medieval times, will never be satisfied with her older, carpenter husband, John. We then learn that Alisoun will eventually, as medieval audiences predict, betray her husband with a younger, “poor scholar,” from Oxford. Nicholas, who has been allowed residence in their home, soon takes advantage of the situation and Alisoun, who is described as “easy”. The two plan their adulterous affair and agree to deceive the stereotypical jealous husband.




What I Learned (one paragraph)

Defined Terms (minimum of 8)

1. FABLIAU- modern equivalent of a dirty joke

2. VIRILE- masculine energy

3. TREATISE- a formal type of writing- longer than an essay

4. CUCKOLD- husband of an unfaithful wife





APA Citation: A Single Work from an Anthology

Hallissy, M. (1997). The churlish miller’s tale. In D. Bender, B. Leone, S. Barbour, B. Szumski & D. Nardo (Eds.), Readings on The Canterbury Tales (pp. 148-154). San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press.

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