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HIS 101 Northern Virginia Community College Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales Essay


Module #8, The Canterbury Tales Occupation Comparison  

For this assignment, you will need to read the “General Prologue” of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.  Be sure and watch my video on Chaucer and The Tales in the module for more background information. The “General Prologue” is an introduction to the characters in the poem, and Chaucer spends a great deal of time describing the characters. Because the poem is a satire, the descriptions can be very comical, unusual, and not what the reader might expect. 

Each of you will be randomly assigned a character from the “Prologue.” Chaucer refers to the characters by their occupations, not by their names, which tells us how his society valued peoples’ careers. Your task will be to research the occupation of the character you are assigned as it was in the year 1400 CE. Then compare your research to Chaucer’s description in the “Prologue.” You may use research sources outside of the textbook, especially in the NOVA Database. However, I discourage you from using such sites as schmoop or cliff notes for your research sources because they are aimed toward a literary understanding of the document, not a historical understanding. Those sites help to better understanding the themes behind the story.  


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