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Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, & Social Commentary

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Lauren Umberger

on 26 September 2012

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Transcript of Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, & Social Commentary

Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, and Social commentary Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) Often called the father of English literature and widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.

Chaucer achieved fame as an author, philosopher, astronomer, and alchemist, but was also involved in civil service as a bureaucrat, a courtier, and a diplomat.

His best known work is The Canterbury Tales, which is the collection of stories we will be reading in class.

Chaucer was instrumental in helping to develop the legitimacy of Middle English as a standard vernacular. The Canterbury Tales Written by Chaucer in his later years
May have been influenced by Chaucer's own pilgrimage to Canterbury
A pilgrimage is a long journey to a shrine, or holy site, taken by people who want to express their religious devotion
The journey in this story is from Southwark to the shrine of Thomas a Becket at Canterbury Cathedral
In Chaucer's masterwork, each character tells a tale on the way to Canterbury
The Prologue describe people from all parts of medieval society-- 29 people total
In the description of the characters in the Prologue, Chaucer offers social commentary Chaucer's Social Commentary Indirect Characterization Direct Characterization By saying "he was not gaily dressed," Chaucer suggests that the Knight is not vain and perhaps takes the pilgrimage so seriously that he has rushed to join the others straight from battle. When the author uses actions, thoughts, and dialogue to reveal a character's personality. Example: When Chaucer says that the Knight "followed chivalry,/ Truth honor..." he is directly explaining the Knight's character to the reader. When the author presents direct statements that reveal a character's personality. Types of characterization the act of using rhetorical means (persuasion, however subtle it may be) to provide commentary on issues in a society. This is often done by implementing or promoting change by informing people about a given problem and appealing to their sense of justice. Social commentary can be practiced in many different forms (writing, film, music, art, etc.) social commentary: In 1729 Jonathan Swift anonymously published A Modest Proposal, an essay that suggested that impoverished Irish might solve their economic troubles by selling their children as food to the wealthy. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor— as well as the then current British policy in Ireland. A Modest Proposal "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..."
- A Modest Proposal Dove Beauty Advertisement "The Evolution of Beauty" TV Comedies TV Dramas Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary. He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society.

In a New York address, he expressed his belief that, "Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen." Charles Dickens Music Writing Television The Rolling Stones The Beatles The Dead Kennedys Pink Floyd Bob Dylan Fine Art "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso "Tank Man" photo from the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 by Jeff Widener Mos Def Internet Memes WIlly Wonka Meme Casually-pepper-spray-everything Cop Meme
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