The works we’ve read so far in Unit One have been both difficult to understand and hard to relate to. We don’t go on sea voyages anymore, or gather in mead-halls, or go on pilgrimages to Canterbury. But it would be a mistake to assume that you can’t relate to Old and Medieval English literature. All of these works also demonstrate universal themes and deal with emotions and experiences we recognize today: the loss of a home or a way of life, the need to stand up to evil, the need for community, and taking long, life-changing journeys.
Choose one of the prompts below and develop a one-page (250-350 word) response in which you demonstrate how you have dealt with one of these universal themes in your personal life. This is an informal writing assignment, so feel free to get creative and have fun with this assignment, or to get personal and expressive. You are welcome to use first person (I and we) and to write this in any form you choose — poem, short short, letter to the editor, journal entry, blog post, newspaper article, or even a series of Facebook status or Twitter updates — as long as your writing meets the minimum word count.
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PROMPT #!: Have you ever lost something that was really important to you? How did you feel about it? Did other people understand what you were going through, or did you constantly have to explain yourself? Have you ever moved? Did you miss your old home? Write a lament for something that you have lost. It could be something serious, like the death of a loved one or a move that was hard to adjust to, or it could be something not-as- serious, like the loss of a favorite childhood toy.
PROMPT #2: You are trying to open up a restaurant / coffee shop that will become a social gathering place for your friends and peers. You want this place to be really cool — but also a place where people can relax and get comfortable. What kind of establishment will you open? How will you get people in the doors? What will they do once they get there? How will you keep them there for long periods of time and keep them coming back? Write a description or story of your ideal social meeting place.
PROMPT #3: Imagine that you are going on a college study trip, or pilgrimage, with a group of four strangers. Where would you go and why would you be going there? How would you want your life to change? Who would the strangers be and how would they talk, act, and dress? A nerd? A prep? A jock? The pretty girl? Write your own social satire of the members of your group.