Honors 12: Unit One Part One Anglo-Saxon Poetry Beowulf, The Seafarer, The Wanderer, The Wife’s Lament Pre-reading Writing & Discussion



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Honors 12: Unit One - Part One

Anglo-Saxon Poetry

Beowulf, The Seafarer, The Wanderer, The Wife’s Lament
Pre-reading Writing & Discussion:

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a hero as: “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” How does your conception of the modern hero agree with or differ from this definition? Explain in detail. Give examples of people (specific individuals or groups) who are heroes and explain why.


How can literature reflect the values, beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyles of a given culture? Give an example of current literature and how it reflects values, beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyles of modern society.
Unit One – Part One Essential Questions:

  1. What is oral tradition? What are the characteristics of oral tradition?

  2. What are the unique traits of Anglo-Saxon poetry?

  3. How does oral tradition differ from literate tradition?

  4. What is Epic poetry? What are some examples of Epic poetry from different time periods and cultures?

  5. What is the Epic Hero Cycle?

  6. What can we learn about Anglo-Saxon life and values from the poetry of the Anglo-Saxon time period?

  7. What do we learn about the Anglo-Saxon concept of a hero from the poetry of the time period? How is it similar and / or different from our modern concept of a hero?


Reading & Writing Assignments: Textbook Pages
Beowulf: Build Background 31

Beowulf: Part One



Grendel 33 – 35

Beowulf 36 – 39

The Battle With Grendel 40 – 44
Reading Response Questions 44

(Written response to #s 2,3,4)


Beowulf: Part Two

Grendel’s Mother 45 – 46

The Battle With Grendel’s Mother 47 – 51
Reading Response Questions 51

(Written response to #s 2,3,4,5)


Beowulf: Part Three

Beowulf’s Last Battle 52 – 55

The Death of Beowulf 56 – 59

Mourning Beowulf 60

Reading Response Questions 63

(Written response to #s 1,3,4,5,7,8)

The Seafarer, The Wanderer, The Wife’s Lament
Build Background 84

The Seafarer 85 – 89
Reading Response Questions 89

(Written response to #s 2,3,4)


The Wanderer 90 – 93
Reading Response Questions 93

(Written response to #s 2,3,4)


The Wife’s Lament 94 – 95
Reading Response Questions 96

(Written response to #s 2,3,4,6,7,8)



Please note: Reading response questions should be answered in complete sentences using specific examples from the text to support the key points of the responses. These responses will be used as a starting point for class discussion related to the literature. Participation in class discussions is expected; in addition, written responses to the questions will be collected and graded at the end of each literary selection.

Unit One – Part One Writing Assignment choices:

  1. Hero Comparison: Write an essay in which you compare and contrast Beowulf with a hero from popular culture. What makes each character heroic? What are the similarities / differences? How has the conception of a hero changed over time? These are just a few of the issues you may discuss in your essay. Length 2 – 3 pages typed, 12 point font.




  1. Anglo-Saxon Life: Write an essay in which you examine and analyze what you learn about Anglo-Saxon life, culture, values, beliefs, and attitudes from the literary selections we have read in Unit One – Part One. What was life like? What values and beliefs were important? What attitudes were prevalent about topics such as courage, fate, the span of life, death, etc. Length 2 – 3 pages typed, 12 point font.


Essay Grading:
Focus – Presence of a clear and concise guiding thesis

Content – Thesis support with well-developed elaboration including specific textual examples

Organization – Clear and logical order of ideas with effective use of transitional words / phrases

Style – Effective word choice, sentence structure, and sentence variety



Conventions – Correct grammar, spelling, and mechanics
Each category is worth 10 a maximum of 10 points for a total possible of 50 points


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