Old English Information Unit 1

“Angle Land” “Angle Land” describes who ruled England at that time. Three tribes ruled it, and they were known as the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes.
Alfred the Great When the Danes raided towns and monasteries in England, Alfred the Great stopped them and became the first king of England.
The Magna Carta The Magna Carta was forcefully signed by King John. The document limited the powers of the king, and it marked the beginning of parliamentary government in England.
William the Conqueror William the Conqueror was the duke of Normandy in France. He had the last successful invasion of England in 1066.
Henry VII Henry VII made England a new unified state. “England was poised to participate in an incredible period of discovery and expansion.”
As Christianity grew in England, how was life changed? Consider the following ideas when developing your answer: When Christians first arrived, what English society was like prior to Christian arrival, new ideas Christians brought. Before Christians arrived in England, many people believed in numerous gods. England was ruled by many different tribes, and it was not very “peaceful” until St. Augustine arrived. Many of the people in England were not accepting of Christianity. The Christians has such a different culture than the Natives. They brought the Bible and Latin learning with then, and it took them a long time to fully accept it as a religion.
After the Norman/French invaded and conquered England, how was life changed? Consider the following ideas when developing your answer: Language changes, social/structural changes. England drastically changed when the French invaded. A new language was introduced making it a bilingual country, and a new government was put in place. People were probably rebellious, and that probably made William the Conqueror try to win fans by doing numerous activities. The French invasion was the last successful invasion of England, and its effect still impacts the world today when we “make a last will and testament, repeating the same meaning in Anglo-saxon and Norman French.”
Describe some difficulties in England during the 1300s and 1400s. Consider the following ideas when developing your answer: How the Plaque affected the population, wars, Henry VII. England suffered many difficulties during the 1300s and 1400s; this ranged from the black death to brutal wars. The population of England suffered greatly when the black death knocked out a third of the population. Adding to this, two huge wars broke out. England had a war with France that dragged out for more than one hundred years. The other war was a brutal civil war which lasted about forty years. Two kinds, Edward II and Richard II, were also assassinated. All seemed doomed until Henry VII came into power. He unified the country and led them into a new period of discovery and expansion. “They created a country, a language, and a literature that was to become one of the wonders of the world.”
Key Historical Theme: From many Tribes to One Nation For a millennium, England experienced successive waves of invasion.The last invaders, the Normans, brought with them the French language and feudalism.After a turbulent period, England eventually became a unified state with one language.
What did the early inhabitants of England think about the sea? The sea is an unknown and barely explored place, especially in the Old English and Medieval Periods. Back then, the islanders thought the sea was a “protective barrier and an untamable threat.” The sea helped protect the country from invasions, but the sea itself could also be an enemy. “As a watery wilderness, the sea is a kind of placeless place, a vast nowhere that can separate one from home.”
How did Christian monks change Old English writings, such as “The wanderer” and “The Seafarer”? The original version of “The Wanderer” and “The Seafarer” discussed “exile and separation from a remembered home.” The stories were bitter, but the monk’s versions were even more. The monks mentioned that being exiled from home meant one was exiled from Heaven, much like Adam and Eve. The monks redid “The Seafarer” to where it had an “overarching theme of exile from Eden, from Heaven, and from God.”
What is a mead-hall, and what did it symbolize for the early English people? A mead-hall is a place that provides “warmth, light, food, drink, song, and fellowship for a lord and his warriors.” In other words, it is like a feasting hall, and it is a place where Christians fo in celebration of the lord. It is known as a sacred place, and it is the heart of it all. For Beowulf, it was a place he went to when he left the darkness.
What is the relationship between place and literature? “A country is a geographical area with shared stories.”
What do we learn from Beowulf about what was required for a man to become a leader? Beowulf taught people that the only way to become a leader is to prove oneself in battle. Beowulf proves himself by aiding his kinsman Hrothgar and has victories over Grendel and Grendel’s mother.
When we read Beowulf, we read about things “passing away” or ending. What two things are mentioned here? “The audience knows that the poet is lamenting not only the death of a hero but the passing of a hero’s way of life.” Beowulf’s whole life was being a hero, so when he died a hero was lost and the life was lost. He also died for his people.
Chaucer–amoung many others– had some issues with the Catholic Church. What were some of these issues? A big issue with the Catholic Church was the wealth of some churches and monasteries. In The Canterbury Tales, characters exhibited questionable behavior which “suggests the controversy that would lead to the Reformation.”
Chaucer wrote about the problems without doing what? Chaucer wrote about the issues without ranting, raveing, or preaching. “Instead, he shows us characters like the Monk, who spends more time hunting and feasting than praying or fasting.”
When writing about social changes, many writers do not “act like sociologists.” Instead, how do they write about these changes? Writers try to make a reader think by reading between the lines. “Readers are often left to figure who or what is to blame.”
How does literature change or reflect society? Literature often reflects what is/are the current issue(s) happening in the world.
What does “tradition in literature” mean? “Tradition in Literature” does not just mean inherits, but it refers to “what a writer does with what is inherited or handed down.”
How is the past included in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight submits to tests that come from “earlier folk tales and romances, or adventure stories about knights, and the poet weaves them into a seamless whole.”
How did Sir Thomas Malory rework the story of King Arthur in More D’Arthur? Malory gathers legends of King Arthur and his knights to write a farewell to the era of knights.
Provide 3 possible ways different tellers/singers changed the plot of Beowulf? Beowulf has changed in many ways due to tellers/singers. Audiences wanted to hear more, and so an extension was made to where he kills the mother’s mother as well. Another teller has said that he meets his own fate while battling a dragon. Also, many monks have changed it by adding Christian elements.
On what did Chaucer model the structure of the Canterbury Tales? Chaucer modeled the structure of The Canterbury Tales off of the Decameron by Boccaccio.
How did Chaucer make his version different? Chaucer’s is different because he “is able to show interesting differences between noble motives and others not quite so noble.” He also reveals something about the teller in each tale.
Describe the new poetic rhythm that Chaucer developed for his poem. Chaucer developed iambic pentameter in his poem. This is when a line of ten syllables has five alternating accents.
What 2 things do Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and the medieval retellings of King Arthur show? These stories show how new versions of a story come about and how a story changes over time. Each time the story is told, it changes a little every time. It also shows how “generations used those forms to relate the history of the tribe for each new generation.”
What is the relationship between the writer to tradition? A “tradition in literature” is what a writer does with a story that is handed down.

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