The Arch Method: “The Miller’s Tale” and “The Knight’s Tale” Essay PromptDirections:
Use the passage analysis prompts below to practice the prewriting arch method.Remember that all such prompts are generally structured around a
“What did the author doing and how is he/she doing it?” This question is certainly a simplification, but for the most part and for our purposes here, it’s a way to clarify the processwe call the arch method. Take for example, the following prompt:
The passage below is from an autobiography. After reading the passage carefully, write an essayanalyzing how the author uses juxtaposition of ideas, choice of details, and other aspects of styleto reveal the kind of person she is.Chaucer’s
The Canterbury Tales
includes “The Miller’s Tale,” a fabliau and “The Knight’sTale,” an epic romance. The essay prompts below ask you to compare and contrast two (or more)elements found in “The Miller’s Tale” and “The Knight’s Tale” and explain its significance.Choose ONE of the following prompts. Use the ARCH METHOD to simply the prompt:1. The Miller presents a love triangle, with two young men fighting over a young woman, possessed by an older man. Note the similarities and differences between this story and theKnight’s Tale. What is Chaucer implying about the Knight’s chivalric ideologies and ‘courtlylove” compared to the Miller’s inversions of the two?2. The meaning of some literary works is often enhanced by sustained allusion to myths, theBible, or other works of literature. “The Knight’s Tale” and “The Miller’s Tale” makes use of such sustained reference. Write a well-organized essay in which you explain the allusion that predominates in these tales and analyze how it enhances meaning.