Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Extra Credit Definitions

Please go to the wiki to find out the answers to the extra credit definitions!

Module 3: Reading Assignment 5

1. I think the message this tale conveys is that true beauty comes from within. The old woman was capable of showing her inner beauty when the right man, the knight, came along. The knight was shallow enough to be indecisive about whether to choose a beautiful unfaithful woman or an ugly loyal one.

2. I would choose Shannon Doherty to play the Wife of Bath because I feel that their personalities and mind sets are similiar. They're both unpredictable, spontaneous women who seem to want to have fun and find it hard to settle down.

3. We can assume that Chaucer's position on marriage is one of unfaithfulness. The Wife of Bath portrays marriage as something with little or no committment. She even said that she left her fourth husband because something better came along. Chaucer seems to address how looks and social status are not everything in marriage.

Module 2: Warm up

I think that Beuwolf is a epic poem about adventure, war, and treasure. I have never read it before in highschool, so I'm not sure what it is exactly about. I do know that a lot of people tend to find it confusing to read, and most people don't care for it too much.

Module 2 : Reading Assignment 5

My Dearest Judith -
How blessed you are and how blessed your people have been. Not only did your faith carry your through your endeavors, but you allowed the Holy Sprit to take over your pesron and do what was right. Holofernes was not only evil, but he represented all evil men who use and abuse women.

Not only were you able to prove victorious in your personal battle, but then to preach the good news to your people and get them to do the same, by battleing the Assyrians. You are a true heroine, an inspiration to not only honor and obey God, our father, but to spread the Word of God to all people.

Like Joan of Arc wsa burned at the stake for her belief and Mary, the mother of God who believed wholeheartedly, you too will be remembered and honored for your faith.

Ali Moucheron

Reading Assignment 3: Response

This writing seems to be a lot darker and synical than Beowulf. Here the speaker, Grendel the monster, truly has a depressed and pessimistic view of the world and of the universe (inculding God, or the sky as he calls it). Although I see his point - I too would be greatly depressed if I were a grown-up monster, living at home w/ his fat, ignorant mother, who had to eat uncooked humans for food - I don't agree with his actions. This writing focuses on so much more of the negative aspects of the situation than Beowulf does. You almost feel bad for this sad, sad creature and the life he lives. I am glad to see he gets some joy in his miserable life (when he laughs at the humans running and bumping into each other in the dark mead hall).

Module 2: Listening vs. Reading Beowulf

For me, I know listening to it was much easier - especially easier than reading the original text in Old English. However, I still think that reading it is crucial (at least for me because I tend to be a more visual learner). The adapted text version is of course the best way to go for reading it, I feel, since that Old English is very tough to wade through and still get good comprehension of the story.

Module 2 Warm-up

I thought, when first hearing of it, that Beowulf would be about some type of wolf-man creature. I was kind of right - it is about monsters all right. But, I did read it in high school so I knew what it was about coming into it in this course. I didn't remember much to be truthful - just that it had a few monsters and that it was really hard to read in the original language.

Module 2-Assignment 3

John Gardner : From Grendel compared to Beowulf

The story of Grendel is different in a few ways. The story is told in a 1st person narrative from Grendel's point of view. It gives Grendel more human characteristics and makes him more relatable to the reader. It also explains how he is trying to find reasoning by analyzing everything around him in nature.
In the story of Beowulf respect and honor are addressed with the different relationships between him and other people as well as between him and his country. In Grendel's story he is unemotional and unattached from everything around him, even the people. Also, Beowulf seemed to get fulfillment out of helping the Danes where as Grendel never seems to be satisfied.

Module 3: reading assignment 5

1. I think that the story is trying to tell us that there is more to love and marriage than just beauty. There has to be trust, happiness, commitment, and kindness, etc. It's about what's inside that counts.

2. I would chose Angelina Jolie to play the Wife of Bath. Angelina has experience of traveling to different countries. Also, her experience with love and sex scenes would benefit the role of the character. She is also very intellegent in most subjects. She has also been married twice, although the wife of bath had five husbands, it's close enough.

3. Coming from the Wife of Bath's tale, I'd have to say that he views marraige as more than just marrying someone for their looks. It's about finding what your significant other wants or desires and seeing if you can give them that.

Module 3: reading assignment 6

Does the Nun's Priest's moral affect you in any way? Can you recall any other stories involving animals that contains a specific moral? Did those morals affect the way you are today?

beowulf study questions

Describe Grendel's relationship with his mother.

I think that Grendel, at times, gets annoyed with his mother because he calls her old and sick at heart. He also calls her a life bloated, baffled, long suffering hag. At the same time, he feels sorry for her because of "her miserable life's curse." When he asks her why they live in their caves say says "dont ask" and starts to tremble.

How does Grendel's telling of his own story affect your response to him? how is this response different from the way you thought of him in beowulf?

In beowulf, I saw Grendel as a heartless, man eating monster. But when i read Grendel's response, I felt sympathy towards him and I did not think of him as such a terrible creature anymore.

Try to imagine this novel written from the third person point of view- though still from the monster's side. What does first person narration add to Gardner's tale?

I think the first person point of view makes the story more intimate and personal. It helps the reader inderstand him better. From a third person point of view, like in our defense essays, we can understand the monster's actions but the reader can get more sympathy from listening to the monster's story when he/she tells it themselves.

Does Grendel in this novel remind you of any character in another book or film?

The peom Beowulf and Grendel's response are similar to The Wizard of Oz and Wicked. The Wizard of Oz and Beowulf are alike in how they describe the story through the hero/ heroin's side of the story. Wicked, like Grendel's Response, explains the wizard of oz through the wicked witch of the west's side of the story ( in 1st person).

p.s. Wicked is a really good book, and the musical is awesome!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Module 2 Assignment 5

Dear Judith,

I was glad to hear that you stood up for yourself and did not lay there with fear. By decapitating that man, you not only showed bravery for yourself, but also encouraged your people to do the same. However, just as you prayed for the courage to get yourself out of the situation you were in, I advise you to do the same for forgiveness. You are a spectacular and courageous woman, but taking someone's life is serious business. Although you saved your people, at the same time you committed a mortal sin. I do feel that you did the right thing, but I now feel that you should pray for God's forgiveness. Keep up the courageous work.


Module 2 Assignment 3

Not to make a joke out of an epic tale, but as I was reading this (especially at the end), I was reminded of Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". After Grendel attacked the meadhall, the people just rebuilt the door and sang as if they were rejoicing. The fact that this made Grendel angry and retreat seems very similar to the classic children's story. I felt that it really demonstrated how monstrous Grendel really was. It also brought more light as to who his mother was. It was definately much easier to read than Beowulf. I enjoyed it.

Module 2 Reading Assignment 2

The Christian images in Beowulf seem to play an important role as to why Grendel attacked Heorot. Grendel was a descendent of Cain. God would not bless any descendents of Cain, but he did bless all other human beings. This is what provoked Grendel to do what he did. If it were not for the jealousy he had for the people who were blessed by God, the story of Beowulf would not have taken place.

Module 1: Activity 1

The Romantic Period (1798-1832)

The Romantic Period was one full of changes that the human race had never been witness to before. These exciting changes undoubtedly were catalysts for many of the writings of the period. Events such as the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire caused everyone to question where their world was going.
Many took these sometimes bloody changes as signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Judeo-Christian religious traditions. (Abrams and Stillinger) Many writers of the time hoped that this would be the violence that preceded an unprecedented reign of peace on earth. However, they were disillusioned by many of the results of these revolutions and changes, and continued to demand that mankind examine itself and strive for real and meaningful change that would benefit itself. The horrific violence in the French Revolution and the aftermath of such horrors were the main items of disillusionment for many writers that supported such radical change of oppressive governments. But one thing they lacked was a real and valid replacement of these oppressive governments. Many of the idealistic Romantic writers of the times did not get the peace on earth they were expecting.
Some of the main writers of the time period include: Keats, Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, Barbauld, Smith, and Robinson. They all explored various themes, but the main strings of writing in this time period included: lyrical poetry, renewed appreciation for nature, valuation of feelings and emotions over reason and logic, and Gothicism. (Abrams and Stillinger) These writers often sought to go against the status quo, the norms of their culture, which they saw bringing so much pain and misery to their everyday neighbors (through revolution, war, and political oppression). (Abrams and Stillinger)

Works Cited

Abrams, M.H. and Jack Stillinger. “The Romantic Period: Topics.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 2006. Norton Topics Online. 23 May 2006

Module 2: reading assignment 2

The Christian images used in Beowulf for me demonstrate the struggle between pegan and Christian culture, reminiscent of that time period. They do not detract for me. Instead they add as one can see these issues that these two cultures dealt, at that time. In Beowulf I think that Christian images were infused to make a battle between Grendel and Beowulf seem more like a battle between good and evil. However the use of Christian images did not detract the story for me since I was more concentrated on a over all story, and not the little parts of it.

Module 3: Reading Assignment 4

1. What is the point of the Canterbury Tales?
The point is so the characters can visit the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury to thank him for helping them when they were in need. The Canterbury Tales also bring out societal problems through the corruption of characters.

2. How do you think Chaucer will approach topics like marriage, fidelity, religion, and economics? Are there any hints in the text? If so, what are they?
I think that Chaucer will address these issues by showing how corrupt society is. For example, the Friar is a begger of the religious order who hears confessions and gives easy penance to those who donate money. I believe that marriage is not honored or taken seriously since the Wife of Bath has had five husbands. Infidelity is probably a common occurance. It seems like economics is based on greed since the five guildsmen are only worried about material wealth.

3. What is most captivating about this piece?
The most captivating thing about this piece is the reality of certain individuals in society. For example, the physician is supposed to help those who are sick, but instead his main concern is getting their money. The Canterbury Tales does a good job at capturing the societal corruptness through the satire of many characters.

Module 3: Reading Assignment 2

Assignment 1: The works of Marie deFrance and the story of Gawain and the Green Knight both apply the concept of courtly love; the love a knight might have for a lady of higher rank than himself. In Marie deFrance's tales, women's power is her motivating force. In Lanval, the queen betrays her lord's trust by professing her love for Lanval. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight exemplifies courtly love when he takes the lady's advancements. The lady surely is of a higher status and he admires her for her beauty even though she is unavailable.

Assignment 2: Lanval seems like another example of courtly love, only based on a woman trying to go for something unavailable. The Queen hates Lanval, which puts him in poverty because he knows of her unchaste nature. It appears that the Queen is corrupt and immoral because she betrays her Lord's trust by professing her love for Lanval. This story sounds like it's based mostly on sexuality. Even when the Queen gets mad at Lanval she insults him by calling him homosexual.

Module 3:Warm Up

I cannot go on living my life through this mirror anymore. I have tried for years to do my weaving and not the room but something has come over me. I saw a man a very lovely man, Lancelot. I know that once I leave this room I will face doom. But the weaving must stop and my must see if my life can go on without a curse. I fear that it will not go on but I do not care. What is life worth living if all I do is weave my web and live life through a mirror. The time has come the curse to take me. I will sing my last song and find peace in life outside my room.

Yours truly,
Lady of Shalott

Module 3:Reading Assignment 6:The Nun's Priest's Tale Question

What makes Chauntecleer groan and cluck in his sleep? Explain the event in detail.

Module 3 Reading Assingment 5

1. What message is this tale trying to convey?
I feel the message trying to be conveyed is that love and marriage are important aspects of life. The whole story is based on a man trying to figure out what women want. And once he gets married it’s about trying to work it out so they will both be happy. I think the comprise in marriage is a theme that is conveyed in the end of the story.
2. Imagine you had to cast a current actress to play herr; who would you pick and why?
I would cast Diane Keaton to play the old woman. I think would do a great job of portraying an old woman with a hint of beauty underneath. I feel she could portray the old woman with just the right balance of self-confidence and insecurity.
3. What is Chaucer's position on marriage (if we can assume this tale presents it)?
I think that he takes as mixed approach to marriage. He took a modern approach by having the old woman ask the knight to marry her. I feel he believes a husband a wife need to be happy together and that some scarifies have to be made in a marriage. I did not like his view that the wife should obey her husband he that he the master of the house.

Module 3 Reading Assignment 2

Courtly love is present throughout both works. Lais was intended to have an audience that is noble, plus the book is dedicated to the unnamed king. This coincides with Simpson’s composition of courtly love. One of the attributes for a work to have courtly is for it to “Aristocratic. As its name implies, courtly love was practiced by noble lords and ladies; its proper milieu was the royal palace or court”. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Gawain is portrayed as a good Knight that was brave, loyal, and honorable, which all part of chivalry. Arthur followed the first commandment of the Code of Chivalry from Chivalry by Leon Gautier states that “I. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions” (Marshall).
Marshall, James. The code of Chivalry 28 May 2006. 9 April 2002. <>

Simpson, David L. 1998 28 May 2006. <>

Monday, May 29, 2006

Module 3: Warm up

Dear World,
I feel imprisoned on my island of Shalott where people pass by but don't know who I am. This horrible curse keeps me from looking upon Camelot so all I do is weave to pass the time. I get lonely and jealous from seeing other couples together. One day I could not help but look at this gorgeous knight. The curse was set upon me so I left my island in a boat hoping to escape such reality. Let death take me if I cannot be happy any longer.
The Lady of Shalott

Module 2 - Reading Assignment 3

John Gardner : From Grendel compared to Beowulf
Beowulf is a story of good vs. evil cut and dry. Beowulf is clearly good, Grendel is clearly evil. Response gives the monster Grendel human qualities. He tries to be accepted, to fit in. He justifies that people should be understanding of him because he only eats a few danes. In his eyes disolving the barrier of good vs. evil becomes good vs. trying-to-be good.
It gave Grendel's perspective and left the reader more willing to examine his character, not just dislike him for being a bad guy. It made him almost human, to which people can relate.

Module 2 - Reading Assignment 2

Christian Images

Grendel is described as a descendant of Cain from the book of Genesis and his ancestors were survivors of the 40 day flood. Therefore, destened for hell. At Hrothgard's banquet, as in Genesis I, a joyous song of creation inspires Grendel to renew his attacks. Hrothgard thanks God for Beowulf's help when Beowulf arrives. Beowulf describes his impending meeting with Grendel as being in God's hands and says that the winner will be whomever God favors.
A regretful view is used by the author in respons to Beowulf's assailents. Although Hrothgard gives Beowulf rewards, he warns him against excessive pride in his youthful strenghth. This comes from Christian's with Paegan ancestors intersecting values in an effort to reconcile them.
Grendel represnets evil (devil), therefore, Beowulf represents good (God).
Yes, these references make sense, as they describe the characters as opposites and help to emphasize that good triumphs over evil.
These images add to the text by relating the information into a logical sense that we can relate too (good vs. evil).

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Module 1: Activity 1

Victorian Age

The Victorian Age refers to that which was written during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). This was the time period in which the novel 1st began to dominate English literature. Most Victorian novels were long and full of intricate language, but the dominant feature was the close representation to the real social life of the age. It was largely influenced by the development of the emerging middle class and the manners and expectations of this class, as opposed to the aristocrats that were dominant in the previous ages. This time saw readers and writers catering to the varied tastes, not just the wealthy.

At this point we begin to see feminist issues and attack of the double standard of sexual morality by Josephine Butler. Writers began to write about prostitution as a social problem, rather than a fact of urban life. An example of this was Charles Booth. Charles Dickens associated prostitution with the industrialization of modern life, portraying prostitutes as human commodities consumed and then used up and thrown away like garbage. Victorian literature forms a transition between romantic period writers and the 20th century literatures. Other novelists and poets of this time include the Bronte sisters, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Lord Alfred Tennyson and Oscar Wilde.

Prevailing methods of publication included serials and short episodes, usually printed monthly. This kept the reader interested and left them with cliffhangers, which added intrigue and drama. Also, as mentioned in the podcast, this was a time of beauty in everything from literature, to art, to music.

Works Cited

"Victorian literature." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 22 May 2006. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 27 May 2006. <>

(P.S. I know the works cited should be hanging indented, and paragraphs should be indented as well, but I could not make that cooperate on this post :) )

Module 2: Warm Up

I had never even heard of the novel "Beowulf" before this class much less read it. Outside of Shakespeare, British Literature was not really offered to us in my high school. I really do not have any idea what this would be about but looking at pictures and such I would like think that Beowulf is possibly a mythical creature or a deamon that affects the lives of the characters in his book. I'm very interested to read into the book and find out the true story behind "Beowulf".

Module 2: Reading Assignment 5 - Judith

Dear Judith,

I want to tell you how proud I am of you. I am impressed by your courage, determination, and great zeal for the Lord. You not only did something incredible for yourself and your people by killing Holofernes, but I am sure that you have inspired many other women to fight back against men desiring to take advantage of them. You have paved a new way for women and have enabled them to see that they are to be respected and treated with kindness. You took a risk, but you did it for your people. It shows me how much you care about them and their safety. I believe that the Lord was with you. He helped you to be courageous, gave you the strength you needed to carry out the task, and will continue to walk by your side. I pray that He will give you comfort and peace, and that you will in no way feel guilty about your actions. You are a true heroine! It is wonderful to see someone stand up for what they believe in, regardless of what it may cost you. You have inspired me to continually do my best to stand up for my beliefs and be willing to face hardship in order to help others. Thank you so much for being the woman that God created you to be!


Landon Deeds

Module 2: PodCast Tutorial

There is a big difference between reading Beowulf and listening to Beowulf. Beowulf was a tough read, and I struggled with words and meanings throughout my entire reading. I understood it somewhat, but after listening to your PodCast while reading along with it, I feel like I understood it much better. It flowed very easily for me (since you were not struggling to pronounce your words), it was much more enjoyable, and I grasped a better understanding of the characters and the plot. It possibly takes a little longer to listen to someone read it to me, but I believe that by listening to it I am able to comprehend it better.

Module 2: Warm Up

I did not read Beowulf in high school. Some classes had the opportunity to read it, but my section never read it or talked about it. Before finding anything out about it, I always thought that Beowulf was about a wolf. I just knew absolutely nothing about it and assumed it was about a wolf or wolves (this was also never seeing the title or it written down as Beowulf). Since beginning college, I still have never read it, but I do believe that I was inaccurate in my original thoughts I had while in high school. I think it is about some warrior that kills this demon, but honestly, that is just a guess.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Module 2: reading assignment 3

In the Beowulf vs. Grende, Respons from Grendel was much easier read for me. This was the big difference beside the obvious. The Respons from Grendel was more explanatory of his actions. His killings were justified in a way. While in a Beowulf, Grendel is represented in a worst possible light. These are 2 main differences for me, but ofcourse they are many others.

Module 2: Warm Up

I don't really remember, but I think I did read Beowulf in high school. If I remember correctly, it's about a fictional monster character that the town slays. If that's not correct, then I must have completly made that up. :-)

Module 1: Activity 1

The Victorian Period
As stated on your podcast, the Victorian Period lasted from 1832-1900. This time period is named for the literature that was written during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) ( As you also stated, this was a period that consisted of beauty. The beauty ranged from that of paintings to the very beauty of city life. In direct contrast with the beauty of this period, was the conflict between those in power and the poor. I believe you described it as the time period where "the rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer." The writers of the Victorian Period chose to illuminate the problems and trials facing the poor, and they gave light to the shocking fact of children being forced to work in sweatshops. This also was a time period where a great deal of change took place. This change was brought forth as a result of the Industrial Revolution and caused the literature and writing to be concerned with social reform (
Many social changes happened during the Victorian Period. Historically, reading literature had only been something for the privileged or the learned. However, with the growth of universal education and with British society slowly becoming literate, reading literature was becoming more accessible and desirable for the common person ( With the broadening of their audience, authors could now sell their works to the public at large instead of only selling to rich individuals. Writers now to worry about catering the varied tastes of the general public. For this reason, authors decided to use a series of short episodes, in weekly or monthly installments, in order to reach the wider audience. They contained cliffhangers that grabbed the reader's attention and made purchasing the next publication a must (
Some of the most important authors of the Victorian Period were Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Robert Browning, the Bronte sisters, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde. The novel had become the leading form of literature, and the Victorian Period is classified as the high point in British literature. Charles Dickens was and still is the most popular and read author of this time, and succeeded at writing novels better than any other writer. He was a self-made man who worked extremely hard at giving the people exactly what they wanted. The Bronte sisters were others who managed to create masterpieces of fiction, although not immediately appreciated by the Victorian critics ( Authors would compare and contrast the country life to that of city life, and during the Victorian Period, sex was beginning to make its way into the literature.
Works Cited
"Victorian literature." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 22 May 2006. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 27 May 2006. <>
"Victorian Period: A Time of Change." About. 2006. About, Inc. 27 May 2006. <>

Module 1: Warm Up

The only two British authors that I am familiar with are William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. I have only read Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. However, I was certainly more acquainted with William Shakespeare in high school. The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet are all of the Shakespearean works that I have read. The Taming of the Shrew was the work of Shakespeare that I most wish I would have had the opportunity to read in high school. Shakespeare was a difficult read in high school, but even now, it is still not the easiest of reads. I would not say that reading British literature is my favorite thing to do, but I also do not absolutely hate it. Unfortunately, I did not read anything by Chaucer in high school. So, reading his works for this class will certainly be a new experience for me.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Module 3-Warm up

I, lady of Shalott, have lived long enough. For, I cannot bare the tortures of my curse any longer. I live within these four gray walls, and four gray towers. It is true that within this tomblike home there is a space of flowers. However, this curse has not bestowed me now, but it will if I choose to live. For it is my freedom or my death, I must choose. I was not to look at the world through my own eyes, only through the shadows of the mirror. I believed in the promise of the mirror, and I failed to abide by its single rule. I glanced out of my window, into the handsome man’s eyes. At that moment, the mirror cracked from side to side, I am now doomed. My sheltered life must come to its end.


Lady of Shalott

Module 1: Warm-up

I unfortunately was not introduced in great detail to many British authors. I did however read Shakespeare in High School.

I've ready MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. I absolutely love Romeo and Juliet it is by far my favorite. I recall reading a few Shakespearean sonnets but I don't remember the numbers off of the top of my head it has been a while.

I've never gotten the chance to read Chaucer before but am looking forward to begin in that endeavor.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Module 2- Reading Assignment 5

Dearest Judith,

I heard of your great courage, and I cannot express the respect I have for you. You have done what every damaged woman has dreamed of doing. To all woman you are a great inspiration. I truly admire your strength and courage and most of all your Faith in the Lord. Leading your citizens into battle took a lot of guts, and surely enough you pulled it off. You have gained great respect from your people. Stay true to them and most of yourself.
Blessed is the power of the Lord.

Module 2-Reading Assignment 3

I found that reading Gardner's Grendel was much easier to understand. Gardner gave much greater detail of Grendel's life, which gave the reader a better understanding of his demons. I too, wish that Beowulf would have had a portion of Gardner's version, to help us better understand where Grendel came from and why he did these horrible acts. I would much rather read a more modern version of Beowulf, like that of Gardner's Grendel, any day.

PodCast Tutorial

After reading Dr. Breeden's version of Beowulf, I felt I had a pretty good grasp on the material. This had been the fist time I read Beowulf. The tale was very intriguing. Then once I heard Ms. Ritter-Guth's PodCast, I realized how much of the material I missed. I felt it much easier to understand while reading along with the PodCast. Before I found myself fumbeling over hard to pronounce words, then losing my focus.

Module 1:Activity 1

Major works of Renaissance literature were ballads, books of manners, romances, scientific texts, histories, translations, dramas, poetry, and satire. Humanists greatly influenced literature of this time period. Desiderius Erasmus and Sir Thomas More were two very literary influential humanists.
Some major authors of the Renaissance were John Skelton, Chris Marlowe, Henry Howard, and, of course, William Shakespeare. Drama was a major contributor to the literary world during the Renaissance. The first public theatre was built just outside London. William Shakespeare is a very well known playwright of this time period.
Poetry also developed its own British style. It divided into two categories; Metaphysical, meaning intellectual, and Cavelier, which were more Classical. Satire, which is sarcastic humor about a serious event, also became very popular.

Works cited:

Module 2: reading assignment 5

Dear Judith,
I just wanted to acknowledge that with you courage, and faith in God you were able to free your country from evil that was carried trough Holoferns. This was not just a victoty for country, but for all the women as well. Thank you for poving that women is capable of doing everything same as a man , and sometimes even more. This is something that evry woman thanks you for. It is really a true honor to be in same category with you.
Mirjana Trifkovic

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Renaissance 1485-1660
Name Renaissance comes from the word "rebirth".The Renaissance takes place in the late 15th, 16th, and early 17th century in Britain, but it started earlier in Italy and the southern Europe, somewhat later in northern Europe. In English cultural history is sometimes referred to as Elizabethan era.
Here are some important facts that happened during this period.
-Columbus Arrives in America, 1492
-Leonardo Da Vinci painted The Last Supper in 1495
-Sir Thomas Wyatt 1503 - 1542 (Poems first published 1557)
-Henry VIII Crowned, 1509
-Henry VIII Names himself the Supreme Head of the Church in England, 1531
-Henry VIII beheds his friend Sir Thomas More, 1535
-Michelangelo designs dome of St. Peter's Church in Rome, 1546
-Henry VII dies, 1547
-Elizabeth I Becomes Queen of England, 1558
- Slaves in America begin, 1562
-William Shakespear and Christopher Marlowe born, 1564
-James Burbage receives license to open first theater in London, 1576
-Globe Theater Built, 1599
- Shakespear's Julius Ceasar, As you like it, and Twelfth Night, 1599 1600-1603
- Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Merry wives of Windsor, 1600
- James I named King of England & Scotland, 1603 1605
- Shakespeare's King Lear and Macbeth, 1605
- Cervantes published part 1 of Don Quixote, 1605 (Part 2 published 1615) 1607-1609
- First permanent English settlement in New World (Jamestown), 1607
- John Milton born, 1608- Shakespear writes sonnets, 1609 1609-1611
- Donne's Holy Sonnets written, 1609
- Shakespear retires to stratford, 1610
- King James Bible, 1611 1616-1642
- Shakespear and Cervantes die, 1616
- Mayflower sails for the New World, 1620
- English Civil War 1642 - 1649 1642-1658
- Puritans clost theaters, 1642 - 1660
- Charles I beheaded, 1649
- Cromwell establishes military dictatorship, 1653 - 1658 1660
- Milton begins paradise lost, 1660
- Puritan Common wealth ends, 1660
- Monarchy restored, 1660
Work cited
"English Renaissance." Wikipedia the Free Encycledipia. 11 May 2006. Wikimedia Foundation,
Inc. 16 May 2006.
" The Renaissance." 20 May 2006.

Module 2: Reading Assignment 5

Dear Judith,
You are one lucky woman to be able to hear the voice of God in your heart. Not too many people recognize when He is encouraging us to do something. Because of your unique talent, the Hebrews followed you into battle against the Assyrians. They will continue to look to you for guidance and advice. Please do not let this new power come over you. Whatever you tell your fellow Hebrews to do, please do so after much consideration. I know you have their best intentions at heart. Thank you for your strength and wisdom. Congratulations on successfully reclaiming our homeland!
Go with God,
P.S. - I heard Oxyclean does wonders for bad stains, including blood!

Module 2:PodCast Tutorial

I listened to all the podcasts and they really helped. Now I understand story as well as the characters so much better. I personally always found listening more effective than reading. However the reason for this is also due to the fact that the English is my second language. Listening also makes it easier to understand something once is pronounced correctly. Thanks professor Ritter for doing these.

Module 2: Reading Assignment 5

Dear Judith,
After reading your story I would like to congratulate you on your victory. Your courage and advice enabled your warriors to defeat Holoferne's people, along with the help of God. You are very respected by the citizens and act as a role model for many women. My advice to you would be to use your power constructively. Give women more freedom and offer guidance to those who need it. Tell the men your opinion on battles and make them listen to you since you obviously know what you're talking about. With the strength and intelligence that you have, your city will surely prosper.

Module 2:Reading Assignment 5

Dear Judith,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Cheryl, a student of Professor Beth Ritter-Guth. I have been studying British Literature and came across a wonderful writing about you. What a strong and amazing woman you are. Your leadership qualities make us all very proud and honored. I do, however, have one small suggestion. Please remember that when you are returning home from one of your victories, trophy head in hand, that it's not a very good idea to use the cloth wrap that you use for your food to carry back your prize. As a woman, you know we always carry extra.

May the heavens keep you strong and prosperous and lead you on the great path of many victories.


Module 1: Warm Up

I have previously read Shakespeare in High School. My class read a few poems of his, but we mainly focused on Othello. I recall that part of our senior project was to actually perform a scene from Othello in front of the entire class. Everyone got their small parts and it was quite interesting. I think the hardest part of acting is feeling the exact emotions your character is undergoing and then being able to evoke those same sensations to the audience. In the case of a Shakespeare play, the stakes are raised on an extremely high level; a performer must be on top of his or her game. If Shakespeare’s words are read incorrectly the entire meaning of a scene may be destroyed. I think the reason Shakespeare’s words are so complicated to read today, is because he was an innovator of his time and when he couldn’t find the exact word to describe something he just made one up. I find it simply amazing that Shakespeare added 2,000 plus words to the English language!!!

A favorite English poet of mine is Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His famous poem “Kubla Khan” is certainly one the most vividly expressive poems that he wrote. I only wish “Kubla Khan” was more of an epic poem, as in Beowulf. He is know mainly as a key contributor of the Romantic movement.

I have never read Chaucer before this class, I hope to have some good times with the Tales.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Module 2: Reading Assignment 3

The Reponse from Grendel had many similiarities to the actual story of Beowulf, only it was told from Grendel's perspective. It seems like Grendel's hatred for men far surpasses anything else which supports his representation of evil. His murderous drive takes place when his soul can no longer resist blood. Slaughtering Hrothgar's men doesn't even phase him anymore, and his destruction becomes repetitive. Grendel laughs at his actions and how the people try to defend themselves, though inevitability he knows that he will walk away from Hereot satisfied.

Module 1: Warm Up

I did have British Lit. in highschool, but honestly I remember very, very little. We read Othello, and I'm sure some other Shakespeare. I vaguely remember Chaucer, so this class should be interesting.

Module 2: Warm Up

I did not read Beowulf in High School . However I did reed Macbeth instead.

Module 2- Assignment 2

Many references to Christianity are mentioned in Beowulf. From the beginning of the story when Grendel's character is first described, it is mentioned that he is a descendant of Cain (from the book of Genesis) and that his ancestors were survivors of the 40 day flood.

When Beowulf goes to the land of the Danes to battle against Grendel, Hrothgar thanks God for Beowulf's help. Beowulf himself also feels that God has sent him there to help. When Beowulf refers to his upcoming battle with Grendel he says that whomever God favors will win, leaving it in his hands.

Beowulf is also symbolized as a Christ figure for the Dane's. Because of Grendel being portrayed as an evil figure, he his seen as a deliverer for those people. And also like Christ, Beowulf was willing to pay the ultimate price to save the lives of those people.

Module 2: Assignment 3

I think that Grendel’s response is much easier to read than Beowulf. In Beowulf, I didn’t feel bad for Grendel because he was portrayed as an evil monster who feasted on humans without any care. However, in Response, you feel his pain and understand why he does what he does.

Module 2: Warm Up

I read Beowulf in high school. But back then I thought it was hard and I did not like the book at all. But after reading it this time it seemed easy. There were a few sections I had to reread to make sure I understood it, but overall I thought it was pretty understandable. I guess I just did not care back in high school which is why I did not like the story.

Module 1: Activity 1

Anglo-Saxon Period

The Anglo-Saxon period extends from 449-1006 A.D. This became known as the Anglo-Saxon or Old English Period when the Germanic people took over England. These people were divided into four main groups: Anglos, Saxons, Jutes, and Danes. With them, these groups brought the main form of literature during this time, Poetry. The verses of these poems contained alliterations, repetitions, and 4 beat rhythms. Themes of these poems were about belief in fate, religious faith, and admiration of heroic warriors.
Beowulf is the oldest and longest Old English poem known today. Other poems of this time were “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and “Dream of the Road.” More historical works were Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, which means Ecclesiastical History of the English People, by Bede and De Consolatione Philosophiae, The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius. “This was a significant work of largely Platonic philosophy easily adaptable to Christian thought, and it has had great influence on English Literature.”

"English Literature," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2006 © 1997-2006 Microsoft Corporation.

Module 2: Reading Assignment 3

Gardner's Grendel tells the story of Beowulf from Grendel's point of view. Gardner tries to stay true to the Old English style but in a way that modern readers can understand. Gardner shows that Grendel cannot help it when he attacks the Danes because he has these monster urges that he cannot control. When he arrives at Hrothgar's hall, Grendel tries to be nice and knock on the door but he cannot help it that the door falls off every time. Grendel is just too strong for the bolts on the door. He even tries to smile at the Danes but they go running and screaming. This makes Grendel laugh. In his eyes, Grendel only takes a couple of Danes to eat. The Danes should not be that upset. Gardner also shows that Grendel is picky. Grendel refuses to eat deer because they are not as meaty as cows and are harder to catch. Once again, Grendel cannot help it that he prefers humans as well. Gardner evoked as much sympathy and emotion as one could possibly evoke for a monster. Overall, Gardner gave Grendel a heart.

Module 2: Reading Assignment 2

During the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christian and pagan worlds collided. Beowulf contains both pagan and Christian influences but the Christian references outnumber the pagan references. The human characters in the poem continually refer to God and thank Him for all He has provided them. The Danes believed God brought Beowulf to them. Beowulf believed God sent him on this journey to save the Danes. These references to God make sense in the poem because it makes the reader aware of the time period in which the poem takes place. It adds to the text because it shows the people had so much faith in God that they knew He would send someone to help them with the Grendel problem. At the same time, all the references to God can be a bit much. After the first couple of pages, the reader understands the unwaivering faith of the people that it does not have to be repeated as much as it is.

Another Christian reference that makes sense is the section of the poem involving Grendel. Because Grendel is from the line of Cain, the humans associate him with Satan. The Danes need a savior to rescue them from Grendel. The Danes believed God sent them Beowulf. In modern Christianity, people believe God sent His only son, Jesus, to save the human race. This reference also adds to the text because it is something modern readers can relate to even if they are not Christians. It is an easy parallel to draw.

Another logical reference occurs when Beowulf fights the dragon. At this time, Beowulf is king of the Geats and therefore is responsible for the safety of his subjects. The dragon is terrorizing his people. Beowulf readies for battle knowing that this would be his final fight. Like Christ, Beowulf was willing to give up his life to save the lives of his people. This reference adds to the text because the reader can see how Beowulf's story mirrors that of Christ.

Module 2- Warm Up

I have read Beowulf already in high school. I remember the general story line of him fighting against Grendel, his mother, and then the dragon. But the names and details are very fuzzy. But as I'm reading now it's coming back to me :)

Module 1- Activity 1

The Romantic Period

The Romantic Period (1798-1832) was influenced heavily by the French Revolution. Many people of the time were obsessed with "violent and inclusive change in human condition." Many poets of the time were very enthusiastic about the Revolution and they also related it to the fulfillment of prophesies in scriptures. They thought that universal peace would follow this violence and human nature would change drastically.

Another major topic of the Romantic Period was "literary gothicism." This radical style involved things like nightmarish terror, violence, and sexual rapacity. One of the most famous examples of such writing is Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." Other writers that used this style were Byron Manfred and Emily Bronte.

Lyrical poems were also another new mode of writing in this time period. Normally these lyrical poems are in terms of an developing encounter between two things like mind and nature, or subject and object. Wordsworth's example of this can be seen in "Tintern Abby." Other famous authors that wrote in this mod were Elizabeth Barrett Browning and James Joyce.

Works Cited
Norton, William Warder. The Romantic Period:Topics Introduction. 2003-2006. 22 May 2006. <>

Monday, May 22, 2006

Module 2:Reading Assignment 3

It was written not so very long ago, but still has the same flow as Beowulf. It's an interesting take on Beowulf, presenting the scenes through the monsters view. It's a little darker, but I guess that would make sense since it's Grendel telling the story. He does make reference to people praying to sticks and stones, so it has a bit of the pagan beliefs.

Module 2: Reading Assignment 2

There are quite a few references to Christianity throughout Beowulf. There are mentions of Cain. Grendal and his mother are supposed to be decendants of Cain.They refer to hellish horror and being hateful to God. They offer thanks to God Almighty, Master of all. I kind of get the feeling of the soldiers being like "disciples" of Beowulf. There's also a reference to a blessed light in the cave. When the writing speaks of "The Lord" seeing the people needing a leader, that also reminds me of Moses and that he was chosen to lead the people. I think they make the text interesting. It kind of makes you wonder why they were put in the poem during such a pagan/christian time of conflict. Were they originally there or were they added after years of oral story-telling. Like that game you play when someone starts a story and you whisper it around the room. By the time it reaches the end, it has changed.

Module 1-Activity 1


The Renaissance period started in Italy during the fourteenth century, spreading to the north, including England, by the sixteenth century, and ending in the north in the mid-seventeenth century. The Renaissance was the turning from God to man, marking the period of rebirth to humanism and knowledge. (Renaissance meaning rebirth) The highest cultural values were usually associated with active involvement in public life, in moral, political, and military action. However, science and the arts were becoming the greater importance of this era. It was the age of new discoveries, both geographical and intellectual: Christopher Columbus discovered America, Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, William Shakespeare was writing his famous plays, and lastly, but not least, the most famous of them all was the Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci. He was a famous painter, architect, inventor, scientist, poet, musician, and a teacher.
Imitation was also derived from the Renaissance. This is when writers were to capture the spirits of the originals, mastering the best models, learning from them, then using them for their own purposes. Even today, contemporary critics believe that the great literary works expressing definitive moral values had already been written. However, it is believed that imitation was not the predominant practice of many of the great writers.
The major political accomplishment of the Renaissance was the establishment of effective central government. It also suggests that there was ideal behavior that was appropriate to their place in order of things. It is no wonder then that much Renaissance literature is concerned with the ideals of kingship, with the character and behavior of rulers, as in Shakespeare’s Henry V.
During this time, there was also a split in religion, the Protestant Reformation. Europe was divided into Protestants and Catholics, which often went to war with each other. One of the most important changes caused by the Protestants was the rejection of the Pope as spiritual leader. Protestants believed that the Church as an institution could not grant salvation; only through a direct personal relationship with God could the believer be granted salvation, reading the Bible. The Protestants stressed the need for all believers to read the Bible for themselves. To make that possible, they were active in translating the Bible into languages that were easier to understand.

Works Cited
“Renaissance”. Wikipedia the Free Encycledipia. Wikimedia Foundation,
Inc. 18 May 2006. <>
“Renaissance History”. Cybersleuth Kids Search the Internet. Cybersleuth Kids. 18 May 2006.

Sample Post

Thank you so much for all your help with everything!!!!

Module 2: Reading Assignment 2

Beowulf has many religious, especially Christian, images because at the time when this story was told the Christian and Pagan cultures were colliding. Beowulf starts out with the image of God’s creation. Grendel hears celebration about this and gets angry causing his attack on Hrothgar’s people. The image of God’s assistance and guidance is used throughout the story. God is credited for bringing Beowulf to the Danes and for giving him aide in his battles. The image of Hell is used when talking about Grendel. His lair is described as being dark and murky (Hell-like characteristics), and there are many references to his grudge against God. These make sense because Grendel is said to have been the spawn of Cain who was pure evil. Beowulf’s images add good, power, and strength to the text whereas Grendel’s images focus on evil and destruction.

Module 1: Activity 1

Anglo-Saxon/Old English
This was a time period of oral tradition and story-telling. Poetry was the dominant genre.
Strong beliefs in faith, as well as religious and moral lessons are apparent throughout literature.
The writings were long epic poems that had many Christian elements.Writings were based on gods and heroes. It brought people of diversity together through great stories and myths.

The Anglo-Saxon people were pagans who prayed to gods and nature for success in things such as a bountiful harvest or to prevail in battle. The society was divided into different social classes. There was a king, and below him were two levels. These levels were the upper class called thanes and the lower class called ceorls. There were minstrels who chanted songs during festivals and for the king. Two of the poets from this time period were Caedman and Cynewolf.
One of the most well known Old English pieces of literature is Beowulf, which tells the story of a Germanic warrior.

The World Book Encyclopedia

Module 2: Reading Assingment 5

Dear Judith,
I would like to thank you for all the great deed you have preformed. Not only did you perform a task for your country you also performed a task for womanhood. I am honored that you would task such a risk to protect yourself and your country. Since you have performed such a great task and helped your country defeat Holoferne’s army I think you should be the new leader. For to long we have been run by men and until your great task we going to be defeated by Holoferne’s army. You were the one who gave us hope and inspiration to defeat theme. You were the only took the risk and had the help of god. This is why you should be the one to lead this country. You have power now and you need to use the power to become Queen. I recommend that you go and speak to the people and than to the King. You need to get the people on your side, which they all ready are. After this you need to speak tot eh King. You need the people to back you so may become Queen. This will not be an easy task but I have faith in you. If you ask for the help of the Almighty you be able to accomplish this task and lead this country with great honor and respect.

Module 2: Reading Assignment 3

I think that Response is very similar to the writing of Beowulf. It is actually an extension of Grendel. I like how the story gives the reading background information on Grendel’s life. I would have enjoyed if this was actually part of Beowulf because it lets us see another side of Grendel. I know this would not be included in the Beowulf because Grendel is suppose to a evil horrible monster but I like how this story depicts his emotions and feelings.

Extra Credit: Audio CD

If you purchased the text for class from our bookstore, you received a CD packaged with your text. Please listen to these audiotexts and answer the questions at the end of this post:

1. Track 1: The Dirge (Tim Murphy)

2. Track 5: Wife of Bath (JB Bessinger)

3. Track 6: There is no Rose (choral arrangement)

Questions (please post to blog):

1. Do these audio files help you understand the text? Why or why not?

2. Which one is the most interesting?

3. Sum up each piece and offer a one paragraph review.

Beowulf Study Questions - Extra Credit

Here are some questions up for discussion on Beowulf. You can earn extra credit (2 points for ech question) by offering complete answers here on the blog. Please include the question you are addressing in your response.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Warm Up 2

I remember very litte from Beowulf. I think it is about a man defeating a beast. I am not totally positive on that though. I did read it in high school but it was my junior year.

Module 1: Activity 1

The Middle English Period (1066-1485) was a time known for its influence from French literature. French writing replaced English in the literary works in the begining of this time period. Latin was the main language for the works that students studied from. By the late 14th century, English became the main language in everything.

Literary works of the time period were very culturally diverse. Many works were influences either by French or Italian customs. A famous writer of this time period to captivate the French custom was Chauer. He wrote the Canterbury Tales in 1387. He was never able to complete the 24 parts of his story because he died. He was able to characterize life and fertilily of invention in this work. He also wrote about religous innocence, chasity, and female volubility.

One main theme of the time period was chivarly. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which was written in the late 1300s, is a prime example of the good and the bad sides of chivalry. This tale is one which was drawn from French sources. Many tales with knights looked back on the time of King Arthur, as this one does.

"English Literature."Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2006. 1997-2006. English Literature. 21 May 2006.

Warm Up 1

I have read Chaucer, Beowulf, Shakespeare and a few other British works in high school. I was excited to see that Chaucer was on the list to read. The Cantebury Tales has to be one of my favorite literary works.

Module 2-Warm-Up

Beowulf is about a warrior defeating an evil beast, if memory serves correctly. I read Beowulf in High School but remember very little about it. I remember character names but that's about it. Hopefully it will all come back!

Module 2:Warm Up

I have never read Beowulf. During high school, I remember that it was something my friends had to read for one of their English classes, but I did not. It seems that it will be the classic good against evil battle, with heroes and bad guys.

Module 1-Activity 1


The Victorian Period (1832-1900) boasted a time of tremendous change. During this time, the Industrial Revolution greatly impacted English culture. Machines replaced human laborers. Manufacturing and trade took precedence over the importance of owning land. Therefore, huge numbers of people moved to the city looking for work in the factories and mills. A large proportion of the immense urban population lived in the slums and tenement buildings. The Industrial Revolution changed the role of women in English society as well (“The Victorian Age: Topics”).

Women and children sought work in the factories and mills. They worked long hours for low wages. Great debates ensued about the woman’s new role in society, politics, and other social issues. Newspapers and periodicals were widely read. People were compelled to write about the plight of the poor. England experienced a significant economic depression in the 1840s and did not want to relive that time. Because of newspapers, interviews, novels, poetry and even folk song, the government began to regulate working conditions and inspect factories and mines in the 1830s and 1840s. During the Victorian Period, writers explored whether they believed the Industrial Revolution was good or bad? Did it help or hurt society (“The Victorian Age: Topics”)?

Some of the most influential writers of the time that showed the negative side of urbanization were Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry Mayhew, and William Booth. One author showed the importance of industrialization, he was C. Duncan Lucas. Other authors wrote in support of women seeking lives outside of the home. These authors include: Charlotte Bronte, George Gissing, and Elizabeth Eastlake. As one can see, women played a significant role in the literary world. One last interesting fact about the Victorian Period was the use of illustration in novels and in poetry. The writer wanted the reader to see exactly what they meant in their writing. Poetry was influenced by great works of art and vice versa. Several writers utilized illustrations in their works quite often, such as: Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Robert Browning. Overall, the literary works of the Victorian Period debated social and political issues, explored the world of the poor and working class, and fused poetry with art (“The Victorian Age: Topics”).

“The Victorian Age: Topics.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Norton Topics
. 2003-2006. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 19 May 2006.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


In highschool my senior year, we started off reading some Shakespeare. I remember Macbeth, and Hamlet and I know we read a few sonnets but I couldn't begin to tell you which ones. We also read a few of the Canterberry Tales, and again....couldn't tell you which ones if I wanted to. We did read Beowulf also, I remember the general jist of the story, but I'm starting to read that now and some of the details are coming back to me too :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Module 2- Warm Up

I have no idea what Beowulf is about. If I were to guess, I guess it would be about a warrior and a beast (gathering from the pictures). We did not read this story in school. However, I look forward to reading the tale.

Module 2: Warm Up

I don't remember that much about Beowulf even though I read it a year ago. I do know that Beowulf is called by a king to help fight against a monster that's terrorizing many warriors. Beowulf destroys the monster and is deemed a hero throughout the land.

Module 1-Activity 1

The Romantic Period
The Romantic time period followed the Neoclassical Period and took place between 1798 and 1832. It was a movement of literature in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Many extraordinary writers came out of this literary advancement such as: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hendry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Edgar Allan Poe. The themes utilized by these authors center around the basic concepts of imagination and freedom of thought and expression(Brians, 2004).
One theme of Romanticism is religion. The people wanted more than traditional values and conservatism, so the writers got away from rationalizing with logic and reason to focus on imagination. This is displayed when they write about social injustice. For example, some authors spoke out against slavery, saying that anything is possible if you’re white and educated (Woodlief, 2001). This freedom of expression enabled writers to speak their minds. The use of imagination can be seen when they write about nature and the supernatural. They appreciated nature’s beauty and its surroundings by incorporating their own passion into their works. The supernatural, influenced by earlier folktales and ballads, was irrational and let the writers use their imagination and freedom of thought (Brians, 2004).
Forms were a prominent theme throughout the literature of the Romantic Era. Proper literary forms were not used because imagination was placed higher than reason, emotions over logic, and intuition over science. Because of this there was passion and spontaneity in the literature. There was more priority put on inspiration, enthusiasm, and emotion. It was believed that good literature should have enthusiasm, not be restricted by rules(Brians, 2004). This is why some of the most talented writers came out of the Romantic Era.
Works Cited
Brians, Paul. Romanticism. 1 Oct. 2004. 16 May 2006. <>.
Woodlief, Ann. American Romanticism. 18 Aug. 2001. American Renaissance. 16 May 2006. <>.

Reading Assignment 2: Beowulf

There are many Christian references and influences in Beowulf. I think that the references made sense for the most part. When I first read the text it was a bit distracting trying to figure out what was being said but after listening to it made much more sense. Some of the references that stuck out to me were that God was constantly referenced throughout the whole story. Beowulf repeatedly says the God will chose the right man to win the battle, when talking about his battle with Grendel. When Beowulf defeats Grendel, Wealhtreow and Hrothgar’s Queen both thank God for Beowulf’s defeat. They also had guardians in the story; this reminded me of angles guarding the enterance to Heaven. The cup being passed around the room by Hrothgar’s Queen reminded me of the last supper. The cup was shared with the guardians and Beowulf, just the like the cup was shared by the disciples and Jesus.

Module 2: Warm Up

I never Read Beowulf in high school, in fact the only British Literature I remember reading is Shakespeare. Since I never read Beowulf I don’t remember anything about it. However, I think that the story is about a warrior. The name seems like he is tough and strong like a wolf would be.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Well, I too had British literature in high school, 11th grade to be exact. Oh, so long ago. So, from what I can reamember, I read the Tell Tale Heart, Paradise Lost, Chaucer (The Canterbury Tales). I do remember reading Shakespeare. I have read Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, and various sonnets. I also read Beowulf, but for some reason I don't remember liking it much. Well, I guess we shall see. I wish everyone the best of luck in this class!

Warm Up

It seems like forever since I've read literature as a senior in high school. We covered a lot of the material that we're going to be reading such as Beowulf, Shakespeare, Chaucer, and a lot of other little sonnets that I can't remember. I'm excited to learn even more about the literature a second time around.

Module 1: Activity 1

The Victorian Period

The Victorian Period lasted from 1832-1900. This time period is named after the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) ( According to Landow, the Victorian period experienced a second English Renaissance. Victorian England enjoyed a great expansion of wealth, power, culture, and literature.
The Victorian period produced some significant authors. Some of the most notable are Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, and Thomas Hardy ( During this time the novel was the leading form of literature because poplar works become more widely available to the reading public. The Victoria period is also regarded as a high point in British literature because during this time novels became common place. The Victorian authors created legacies with continuing appeal that still exist in today’s society ( One of the great novels that was written during this time, and that is still widely read, is Frankenstein. Frankenstein was one of the first horror novels written. It had a much grimmer tone than did novels of other time periods.
The Victorian theme is known to be realistic and grimmer than other periods. The author that is most associated with this change is Hardy because of his straightforward treatment of sex and religion. He also had a disregard for marriage in his writings, which was new in literature (
The Victorian theme is also more realistic because it focused on child labor. This promoted the growth of literature for young people (
Even thought the theme tended to be realistic and grim there were still some elements of heroes and chivalry. The authors of these works wanted to regain the noble courtly behaviour of the past and instill it upon the people. ( In conclusion the Victorian time period was a time of change in literature that help shape the literary world.

Works Cited
Landow, George. Victorian and Victorianism. 1998. University Scholars Programme Project. 16 May 2006. <>
“Literature in Great Britain, the Victorians and their Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century
Precursors: A Chronology.” The Victorian Web. December 2001. 16 May

“Victorian literature.” Wikipedia the Free Encycledipia. 11 May 2006. Wikimedia Foundation,

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Warm Up

Wow, it has been a while since high school. I remember reading Shakespeare's Hamlet, Julius Ceasar, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. I know we had to have read more, but I just cannot recall them. Unfortunately, I only remember bits and pieces of them, but I do remember that I enjoyed that class in high school. Hopefully, since I have matured since then, I will grasp a better concept and greater respect for British Lit this time around. :)

Warm Up

In high school, I read approximately 10 British works. These works ranged from Beowulf, Hamlet, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed the Canterbury Tales and the Shakespeare pieces. I look forward to reading new selections.

Warm Up

My junior and senior years of high school each had a good amount of British Literature in them. Even though I read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and even had to do a project on them for our school's Renaissance Fair, I cannot recall that much about the works. I also remember reading Beowulf that year. Senior year I read some Shakespeare (a few sonnets, and Macbeth, I think) and a few other British authors: John Donne, Lovelace, Milton (Paradise Lost), Pepys (loved The Plague Year and The Fire of London), Defoe, Swift, and some Pope, as well. Overall I don't think I can say I hate Brit. Lit. - although some of it is definitely more difficult to read than other parts (Shakespeare and Chaucer were harder for me in particular, when compared to some more likeable/readable stories by Swift, Pepys, and Defoe).

Warm up

Last time I had British Lit. was in high school. Sorry to say but it wasn't my favorite either. I also recently read Othello last spring in English 106. This should be a fun class.... hopefully! :)

Warm Up

It's been along time since I was in high school as well. I don't really recall reading much along the lines of British Literature. It does sound like an interesting subject, and I look forward to the challenge.

Warm Up

I feel like it has been forever since I have been in high school, and that would be the last time I have read British Literature. I would say it has been around six years since I have read British Literature. I do not remember off hand which authors I had to read but I do remember reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Other than that play I don’t remember what I read and I don’t recall reading Chaucer. I am excited about this course because I am hoping it will refresh my memory on some literature and help me appreciate the literature I have not read.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Lecture Notes: Beowulf

Beowulf is written in the Heroic mode. There is only one surviving copy in print, so the author is not known. Further, it isn't known if this piece was written at the time of the events it details or if it is a memory written down much later in time. It seems to illustrate Scandanavian lore, though none of these characters are present in the historical Scandanavian texts. Most scholars assume that this story was told in Scandanavia, but written down later by monks or scholars in England. The Christian references in the text seem to point to some sort of Christian influence interfused with Germanic and Scandanavian tribal influences. It appears that the text, or oral story, to be exact, did not originally contain Christian references (to Cain and Abel or the Great Flood, for example); these elements were probably added later.

There are a whole host of people that study this text, but it is assumed to be dated at about 1000 AD. Since it has some Homeric elements, it is thought to be a stem from or an assist to that Homeric tradition noted for heroic literature. We don't know much about the one surviving copy, but we can try to explore the issues as we see them surfacing in the text.

It is important to pause and think about the language of Beowulf. Old English differs greatly from modern English (the language we speak). In its original text (a little bit like Russian), there are inconsistencies in spelling and grammar, and meaning and inflection is generally part of the word root or ending. In fact, some of the letters don't even appear in our alphabet. Most importantly, we need to remember that Beowulf would have been presented in the oral tradition; this is a text meant to be Shakespeare...and, in reading, we lose a lot of the flavor of the text. I know it is tough, but try to imagine a friend telling you this story at the bar. There would be hand gestures and the fullness of language.

Beowulf was a member of the Geats clan; they were a seafaring tribe likely from the coast of Sweden. They disappeared, literally, from history, probably through conquest, but they really did exist. So, is Beowulf real? I don't know. If he was real, he was likely born in 495 AD (Klaeber) and defeats Grendel and his mother is about 515 AD (Klaeber). Eventually, Beowulf becomes King of the Geats (this is documented in history) and then is killed later (some say 50 years, but there is no proof) by a dragon. Obviously, the dragon is speculative.

We are most interested in Beowulf's treatment of Grendel and Grendel's mother. Grendel is said to be of the line of Cain (from the Biblical Cain and Abel story). There is some speculation that Beowulf is similar in stature to something like the Loch Ness Monster, and his ancestors were the only survivors of the 40 day flood (Noah's Ark). Grendel's mother, however, is not portrayed in such grand terms; it is thought that she was smaller in size. They lived together in an underground system called a lair.

Grendel is problematic because he disregards law and custom. His mother, of course, demonstrates pure wrath and vengeance. As a didactic text (one that instructs), the characters of Grendel and his mother demonstrate the rules society should follow in terms of greed, uprisings, revenge, etc. However, the question remains...what would Grendel's mother say about the whole thing?

Here are some things to consider as you read:

1. What makes Beowulf a hero? What makes Grendel a monster?

2. Is it possible that Beowulf and Grendel represent types of persons found in society? If so, who?

3. How does exile function in this work?

4. For whom do we feel sympathy?

5. How would a feminist approach this text? A Marxist?

6. Should we feel sorry for Grendel's mother? For Grendel?

7. Can you see in the text where Christian influences are inserted? Find examples and post them on the blog.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Lecture Notes: Old English

Generally, the Middle Ages are split into two sections: Old English and Middle English. However, that segmentation seems a bit complicated, and it easier, I think, to divide the eras into "Old English" (pre-Norman Conquest) and "Middle English" (1066 - post-Norman Conquest).

As you will read, your text offers a complete history of this time period. Don't get bogged down with this information. Here are some important highlights:

1. There were two worlds colliding; there were "Pagan" cultures interfused with "Christian" culture. This is important; often, the texts of the period speak to trying to better one over the other. Since monks usually were the only people "writing" down these stories, it is pretty obvious which side they supported. Poets explored the tension between the two groups.

2. Texts weren't readily accessible to the people, so many of the stories were passed down through an oral tradition. This means that we may never know the true origin of certain works (like Beowulf).

3. There are two primary poetic modes: heroic and elegiac. Beowulf is cnsidered an example of the heroic mode because it illustrates bravery, loyalty, vengence, and desire for treasure. The elegiac mode illustrates the loss of those concepts (the loss of treasure, for example). There is some debate, however, about the definition of Beowulf. Some will argue that it is elegiac.

Beowulf PodCast 3

This is the third podcast of Dr. Breeden's version of Beouwulf.

Beowulf PodCast 2

This is the second Beowulf podcast of Dr. Breeden's version of Beowulf.

Beowulf PodCast 1

This is the first PodCast for reading Dr. Breeden's version on Beowulf. I am not an expert reader, but I think it might help audio learners access the material.

British Literature Timeline

Here is the podcast of the British Literature Timeline for British Literature I.

Tips for Reading Literature

Please check out this screencast for tips on how to read literature :-) Here is a similar podcast of this material.