Thursday, September 15, 2011

English Lit Class Period, September 14, 2011

Due today: Pg. 2-19, 47 in the purple anthology that we received on Monday
We began with Smith handing out the final essay questions for Beowulf (She is giving this to us to make sure we know WAAAYYY ahead of time what we will be writing about for the final essay)
Next, Joe, Ryan and Andrew performed their Skit that they didn’t get to do Monday. They did the scenes on page 80 until the end of the book. Their theme was Pirates! They did such a great job! The theme of Pirates was an easy, effective way to modernize this scene! Ryan=Captain Oedipus, Andrew=Messenger and the slave, Creon; Joe= shepherd and crew.
We began with the following notes (you should have read most of this in your anthology but Smith went over these just as a recap):
Anglo-Saxon Background Notes
The English have created a political system over the years “by and for the people.”  “Emphasis on personal rights and freedoms”
-Great Britain has been invaded by:
                  Angles and Saxons
  • Animism: belief that natural phenomena or inanimate objects possess spirits.
  • Spirits must be constantly satisfied.
  • Druids: intermediaries between spirits/gods and people
  • King Arthur-Celtic Warrior legend
    • Mists of Avalon vs. Gwenyvere’s religion (Christianity)
  • Feature women legends
      • Morgan Le Fey
·       Stayed for more than 400 years
·       Brought armies and organization to Britain to prevent further invasion
o   roads, villas, public baths
o   defensive walls
·       Change of religion to Christianity- unified because of European missionaries
·       Without Roman control, just a country of separate clans.  No central government.
Anglo-Saxon "Sweep Ashore":
·       Angles- Saxons- Germany
·       Jutes- Denmark
·       Language of the Anglo-Saxons became the language of the country Engla-land (England)
·       Celtics fought Anglo-Saxons from overtaking land (Arthur)
·       Country divided into separate principalities- each with own king (Macbeth)
·       Danes invaded:
o   Plundered and destroyed everything
o   Fierce Viking people
o   King Alfred led group against them- helped make England a more unified nation.
·       King Alfred’s success allowed for Christianity to reemerge.
o   This also helped to create a unified nation: common faith and morality, right conduct.
·       Battle between Danes and Alfred continued until 1066.  William Duke of Normandy, France took over.
·       Women inherited and held property until Norman Conquest.  Also, they were significant contributors towards learning and religion. 
Key Points:
  • Kinship groups were lead by chiefs
  • Farming,  local governments, fine crafts (metal works)
  • Christianity became dominant religion- linked England to Continental Europe
  • Monasteries brought  learning and literacy-preserved works from older oral tradition.
  • English gained respect as a written language- Latin still used in churches.
Anglo-Saxon Life: the Warm Hall, the Cold World:
  • Two class society:
    • Earls: (Warriors)
      • Ruler and related to the founder of the tribe
      • Consulted witan or Witenagemot(wise men) group of respected earls
      • Responsible for law and order
    • Churls: (Freemen)
      • Warriors, laborers for the earl
    • Thralls: slaves
  • Women: received power as queen, wife of earl or church woman
  • Fame and success were gained only through loyalty to the king (King Arthur and his knights)
  • Loyalty grew out of need to protect the group from the wilderness.  Most groups lived together with animals in homes surrounded by a wall or fence.  This created a sense of community discussion.  Rule was by consensus. (What does this mean?)
Anglo-Saxon Religion: Gods for Warriors:
  • Despite Christianity Anglo-Saxon gods remained (Norse mythology)
    • Oden: god of death, poetry, magic
      • Woden-Wednesday
    • Thumor: god of thunder and lightning
      • Thor-Thursday
    • Dragon: guardian of treasure and of death (ashes of old warriors)
  • Concerned more with ethics than with mysticism especially with the early virtues of bravery, loyalty, generosity and friendship.
The Bards: Singing of Gods and Heroes:
  • Communal Hall: place for shelter, meetings, storytelling
  • Scops (bards):
    • On same level as warriors
    • As important as fighting, hunting, farming or loving.
    • Sang with a harp
    • Told heroic tales that spoke of war, disease, and old age.
“For non –Chiristian Anglo-Saxons, whose religion offered them no hope of an afterlife, only fame and its reverberation in poetry could provide a defense against death.”
*Desire to be remembered for years*
The Christian Monasteries: The Ink Froze:
“In the death shadowed world of the Anglo-Saxons, the poets or bards provided the one element of hope: the possibility that heroic deeds might be enshrined in the society’s memory.”
§  Monasteries were the centers of learning, strongholds of Christianity.
o   Monks preserved some of the old literature wrote in either Old English or Latin which remained the main language of study until King Alfred.  Manuscripts were copied by hand.
§  King Alfred instituted a running history of England called the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

The Stages of the Journey (this is the same for epic heros and tragic heros)
Stage one: Innocence
Stage Two: Initiation, (in this stage, innocence is lost in a variety of ways)
Stage Three: Chaos
Stage Four: Resolution
Epic Heros VS Tragic Heros
Epic poem:
      Long poem
      Deals with a hero
      Handed down orally through generations
      Always a supernatural idea in epic poems
      Characters believe in a god or gods (in Beowulf it is Christianity
Epic Hero:
      Cannot not be beat, unbelievable powers
      Complete a symbolic descendant to hell, also has to fight a monster there
      Extremely Proud
      Values fame and being noticed
      Has  loyal followers
      Embody qualities of their society (if Beowulf doesn’t embody the culture of Anglo-Saxon he can’t be an epic hero)
      Undertakes something of tremendous concern to self or community

“Begin with the end in mind!”, Ms. Smith. This is the purpose of the handout we received today
*** A chapter is called a “canto” in Beowulf-inian.
We began the first canto of Beowulf (page 21) in the last five minutes of class
Homework:: Read first four cantos of Beowulf THERE WILL BE A QUIZ THIS FRIDAY SO STUDY UP!
Also the Booker Prize Project end date was moved to the 17th of October!

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