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Study Guide for English Test Two

I. Vocabulary

A. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

a. Stranded- forced into shallow water or onto a beach, reef or other land; left helpless.

b. Barricaded- blocked.

c. Ravaged- destroyed.

B. The Canterbury Tales: The Prologue

a. Solicitous- showing care or concern.

b. Garnished- decorated; trimmed.

c. Absolution- act of freeing someone of a sin or of a criminal charge.

d. Commission- authorization; act of giving authority to an individual.

e. Sanguine- confident; cheerful.

f. Avouches- asserts positively; affirms.

g. Prevarication- evasion of truth.

C. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale

a. Capital- wealth in money or property.

b. Timorous- timid.

c. Derision- contempt or ridicule.

d. Maxim- briefly expressed general truth or rule of conduct.

e. Stringent- strict.

f. Cant- insincere or meaningless talk.

II. Study Guide Questions

A. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

1. What insight is given into the atmosphere of the times?

The atmosphere of the times was all about royalty, religion, and the royal kingdoms.
2. Who or what was important enough to mention at some length or in some detail
and what can we infer from this?

Royalty, people of the church and monastery are people worth mentioning. It was all
about royalty, religion, and battling other kingdoms. People from the upper class were
only important in the ninth and tenth centuries.

B. The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

1. What is the situation of the prologue (who, what, when, where, why?)

Who: people and palmers.

What: They are going on a pilgrimage.

When: April 11, 1386

Where: The Tabard Inn

Why: to seek St. Thomas a Becket, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury who was
killed in Canterbury Cathedral.

2. What is decided in terms of a contest? By whom? What are the particulars?

Who can tell the most entertaining tale. The Host. Idk about the particulars

C. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale & The Wife of Bath’s Tale

1. What is the plot of the tale? Setting?

The setting of The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is in a small cottage, by a little meadow with a
barn. The month is May.

The plot of the tale is the fox, whose name is Sir Russel flatters and tricks Chanticleer,
the rooster, into closing his eyes and showing his crowing abilities (singing). Then Sir
Russel Fox attacked Chanticleer and dragged him to the woods. Then, Chanticleer tricked
Sir Russel Fox to open his mouth and speak and Chanticleer escaped.

The setting of the Wife of Bath’s Tale is during the times of King Arthur.

The plot is the maid was raped by the knight, and instead of being persecuted, he is sent
on a journey to find what all women desire: he finds out they all want different things. He
has twelve months and one day to figure it out. But, he meets the old hag, and asks her
what all women desire, and she says they all want control of their husbands. And, in
return, she wants him to agree to let her do whatever she wants. The knight then returns
to the queen and gives her an answer, the court does not disagree, and he is spared. The
knight and the old hag wed privately, and she asks him would he rather have an old,
faithful wife or a young, unfaithful wife, and he replies by saying he wants what she
wants, and she turns into a young, faithful wife.

2. What topics are addressed by the tale? What points are made about these
topics?

The topics that are addressed by the tale and their points are:

3. What is the main theme of each tale? What is the moral or lesson?

The Nun’s Priest’s Tale:

Flattery can persuade others, but it can be outwitted.

Don’t let people persuade people by means of flattery.

The Wife of Bath Tale

People don’t always live up to their titles. Knight rapist vs. being chivalrous at first.
People can change for the better.

4. What can we infer about the teller of the tale?

The Wife of Bath Tale

The teller of the tale was trying to expose the corruption of the church and the people in
it.

The Nun’s Priest’s Tale

The teller of the tale was trying to teach people not to let flattery weaken them.

Conclusion:

The teller of the tales had knowledge of things by experience or by learning from the
experience of others and was trying to teach people a lesson.

D. Four Ballads

1. Definition of a ballad-

Narrative poem by an unknown author, which is meant to be sung.

2. What do you observe about the structure of each ballad?

They usually have:

A rhyme scheme

A repeating line in each stanza

Dialogue or monologue

Direct address

4 line stanzas
3. Are any elements common to all four ballads?

They each have:

4 line stanzas

A dialogue vs. a monologue

Direct address

Rhyme scheme

4. What is each ballad about? Plot? Theme?

Lord Randall- The mother and son are having a conversation. Lord Randall says he
dined with his love, but it wasn’t working out. He decided he is not searching for love
anymore and he is dying because of it. All he wants to do is lie down.

Theme- Sometimes, love kills figuratively or actually.

Get Up and Bar the Door- the husband and wife are having a contest to see who will bar
the door because the wind is blowing into it. So, they agree on whoever speaks first will
have to bar the door. At twelve o’clock at night, two gentleman walk into the house while
being watched by the husband and wife. They proceed to eat the wife’s pudding that she
worked so hard to prepare, but she said nothing. Then, the husband speaks, and he must
bar the door.

Theme- Don’t be stubborn.

Twa Corbies- The two ravens are moaning and looking at this dead knight behind this
mound. His hound, hawk and lady left him. They are not loyal. They want to eat him.
They want to peck out his eyes.

Theme- loyalty is only present when you have a purpose for someone.

Barbara Allan- this man is in love with a woman named Barbara Allan. He sends a man
to Barbara Allan’s house and she says young man, I think you are dying. The man then
died because his love for Barbara Allan was denied by her. Then, she dies for him.

Theme- Some people think it’s worth dying for love.


5. What did you learn about ballads by writing your own ballad with your
partners?

6. How does seeing Bob Dylan’s reworking of an old ballad into a modern ballad
affect your understanding of the ballad form?

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