The Canterbury Tales and The Refugee Tales

Analytical Option
1. The Canterbury Tales (CT) and The Refugee Tales both address the power structures in their society in different ways. CT looks at the three estates (social classes) through a tale-telling contest, often asking questions about what truly guides the tales told by each of the pilgrims. The Refugee Tales, on the other hand, uses the telling of tales to look at the corruption of power and the dangers of losing power or agency. Using these two works, examine the different ways in which they address the issues of social class, agency, tale-telling, and power. Think about how these ideas are defined, how they are different in each work, and any similarities you see between them.

2. Compare and contrast the portrayal of two of the pilgrims from the Canterbury Tales by looking at the portraits in the General Prologue. Consider what sort of social stereotypes are used in these portrayals. Consider, too, how they are assessed by the narrator or even by other characters in the text. Try to come to a conclusion about the portrayal of the two characters you choose.

Strong analytical papers generally have the following elements:
• An introductory paragraph with a clear, analytical thesis statement, preferably one that addresses how question (how the texts achieve particular effects) and a why questions (what “message” the texts convey to us). The introductory paragraph should not “funnel”—that is, beginning with such statements as “From the beginning of time” and moving gradually toward your point. The introductory paragraph should get to the point in a succinct and interesting way.

• Each paragraph should have a clear, analytical topic sentence (generally the first sentence) that conveys the key idea of the paragraph.

• The conclusion should point to the larger ramifications of your analysis.

You are welcome to draw on the material in the texts, including introductory information and appendices. Please use in-text citations and affix a bibliography formatted according to MLA guidelines (as specified in Purdue OWL ) to your paper. Remember that all sources (including online ones!) must be cited.

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