I certainly hope that you have been keeping up with the reading this semester. It is now time for your final essay.
Please choose one of the following prompts, and write a 6-8 page analysis.
a. Read Thomas Berger's Arthur Rex; or C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength; or The Wicked Day by Mary Stewart.
Then discuss how your chosen text rewrites, inscribes, or reevaluates Thomas Malory or Chretien de Troyes? What is your text resisting, and what does it get obsessed with? How does it fit into the narrative of Arthurian reinterpretation that we've been studying? Contrast your chosen work thoroughly with at least one pre-1500 Arthurian text. Please pay particular attention to how historical and cultural context affects Arthurian literature.
b. Examine how the conflict between courtly love and prowess is worked out in one of the romances (either The Knight of the Cart or Yvain, the Knight of the Lion) we've read this semester. Then compare "How Culhwch Won Olwen" (a tale that also includes both sexual pursuit and deeds of prowess.) How would you describe the significant difference between the two genres (romance and heroic tale) in their handling of these combined themes?
c. Write an analysis of a single Arthurian character who appears in multiple works we've read this semester and consider how the character is differently characterized in these works. Try to choose a character who appears in multiple genres--heroic tale, romance, narrative poetry, novel. One of these works *must* be pre-1500. Gawain would be a great example; so would Guinevere, or even Arthur himself. In your analysis, consider how and why differing genre requirements might lead to very different character presentations.
This is 100% real. But it's an assignment for my actual English majors rather than people who just need a lit credit.
Turnabout Le Morte d’Arthur
Morgan Le Fay was a lot of things in Le Morte d’Arthur, and none of them were good. She was a cold hearted bitch. She was Arthur’s sister and she was jealous that he was king and her husband wasn’t, so she tried to kill Arthur. But it didn’t work. That was the first failed evil plot against her brother, and as centuries went on, her failures only grew. Recently, I happened upon a retelling of Morgan Le Fay’s story that piqued my interest. This time, Morgan Le Fay was simply Morgan Fay and she was the sister of the master of the Kurain Channeling Technique. That’s right, Arthur was now known as Misty Fay, a powerful mystic that could channel dead spirits. In this essay I will explain how Morgan Fay is a never changing backstabbing traitor through the perspectives of two retellings of the story: Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory published in 1485 and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, initial release 2001.
Morgan Le Fay didn’t pine after the throne for herself just like Morgan Fay didn’t necessarily want to be master. Morgan Le Fay wanted her lover to be king and Morgan Fay wanted her daughter to be master. So you would think it’s for love, right? I don’t think so! (Sorry, I know you’re not supposed to use first person in an essay but “disembodied narrator don’t think so!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.) Morgan Fay was proven, in a court of law during the final case of Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations that she is not capable of love. She simply wanted to win over her sister and have HER kid inherit the title of master. Morgan Le Fay is probably not capable of love either but that hasn’t been proven in a court of law, so we’ll go ahead and consider that a difference between the interpretations of her character.
Now, let’s look at the murder plots that both Morgan Le Fay and Morgan Fay used. They were both pretty nasty. Morgan Fay got all three of her daughters involved! It was a pretty crazy plot but basically, they were trying to kill Mordred but actually killed Arthur. I promise no more spoilers. Morgan Le Fey’s plot was even more sinister. It was horrible! She’s such an evil backstabber! She’s such a dumb procrastinator I’m such a dumb procrastinator. There’s no point in writing this anymore. This is our final essay. FINAL! As in, no more after this. Finished. Goodbye. Sayonara. This is due at 11:59pm. It’s 11:38pm right now. I can’t finish 6-8 pages in 21 minutes and even if I could, this essay is still crap. Look, Mr. Gower, we both know I wouldn’t pass this class even if I got an A+ on this paper, which accounts for 30% of my grade. To be honest, I never read Le Morte d’Arthur. Now that I think of it, I don’t think you assigned that book. I didn’t read any of the books you assigned, so I wouldn’t know.
I showed up though, every day. I always sat right in front of your desk, remember? My mom always said I’d learn more if I sat in the front row. My sister always sat in the front row so I did, too. Maybe I thought being present would at least get me somewhere but then again maybe I should have bothered to do some of the homework once in a while, too. I hope you didn’t take it personally, you really are a good teacher, even if you do make us read Arthurian literature in 12th grade English. The problem is that I’m not going to pass any of my classes except PE. The school called my mom a few times to tell her I need to raise my grades or I won’t graduate. I keep telling her I’ll raise them but then I…didn’t. It doesn’t matter now since I’m out of time. Once I turn this in, all my grades will be finalized. Please don’t think I’m begging you to change my grade, Mr. Gower, because where I’m going, grades don’t matter. I’ve decided to end things once and for all. I can’t face my mom without a degree. She’d never let me forget it. I can already hear her, “Your sister has a diploma!” and “Your sister turned in a great essay about Arthurian Literature!” Well maybe I’m tired of being compared to my sister! Well, it’s 11:56 so I need get this turned in. Sorry it’s way below the word count minimum.
Mr. Gower, I know you’re a procrastinator when it comes to grading papers so it will be a few days until you read this. Don’t wait too long, this essay will be valuable evidence tomorrow.