You are on page 1of 2

The Arch Method: The Millers Tale and The Knights Tale Essay Prompt Directions: Use the

passage analysis prompts below to practice the prewriting arch method. Remember that all such prompts are generally structured around a what and a how. 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, its a way to clarify the process we call the arch method. Take for example, the following prompt: The passage below is from an autobiography. After reading the passage carefully, write an essay analyzing how the author uses juxtaposition of ideas, choice of details, and other aspects of style to reveal the kind of person she is.

Chaucers The Canterbury Tales includes The Millers Tale, a fabliau and The Knights Tale, an epic romance. The essay prompts below ask you to compare and contrast two (or more) elements found in The Millers Tale and The Knights 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 the Knights Tale. What is Chaucer implying about the Knights chivalric ideologies and courtly love compared to the Millers inversions of the two?

2. The meaning of some literary works is often enhanced by sustained allusion to myths, the Bible, or other works of literature. The Knights Tale and The Millers 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.

3.The female love-interests from The Millers Tale and The Knights Tale are similar and yet different. Briefly discuss how Chaucer describes each. Then in a well-organized essay, analyze the nature of the courtly lovers character and show how it enhances meaning in its respective genre. Do not summarize.

4. In great literature, no scene of violence, exists for its own sake. Chaucer confronts the reader or audience with a scene or scenes of violence. In a well-organized essay, explain how the scene or scenes contribute to the meaning of the complete work. Avoid plot summary.

5. Many plays and novels use contrasting places (for example, two countries, two cities or towns, two houses, or the land and sea) to represent opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. Settings in The Millers Tale and The Knights Tale are contrasts of such places. Write an essay explaining how the places differ, what each represents, and how their contrast contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole.

Now, select the prompt you liked best. This essay must be 750-1,000 words in length, in MLA format. Use parenthetical citations from the text to support your assertions. Introduce the authors full name and the names of both texts in your introductory paragraph. Subsequently refer to the author by his last name. Although its impossible to avoid some plot summary, keep summary to a minimum. The focus of your essay should be on thematic or structural analysis. This essay is due: DRAFT: FINAL: