English 344 Assignments Page


Siân Echard, University of British Columbia

English 344 home page

Assignments weighting:

Quizzes: October 6, October 25, November 8, December 1 (3 @ 5% each, and 1 @ 10%) = 25%

Prepared reading: In class: see online version of syllabus for groups and dates = 10%

Proposal and bibliography: to be e-mailed to me (sian@mail.ubc.ca) by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, November 1 = 15%

Draft of final paper: to be e-mailed to me (sian@mail.ubc.ca) by 11:59 pm on Thursday, November 17 = 15%

Final paper: to be e-mailed to me (sian@mail.ubc.ca) by 11:59 pm on [date to be determined] = 35%


In class: October 6, October 25, November 8, December 1

The point of these assignments is to make sure you keep up with the reading, and that you are following the Middle English. There will be 4 quizzes throughout the term. Each one will consist of multiple-choice plot-related questions, and in the case of the works in Middle English (the Alliterative Morte, Sir Gawain, and Malory’s Morte), a very brief passage you will be asked to identify and paraphrase: 3 quizzes at 5% each and 1 (the Malory quiz) at 10% (25%)

Prepared Reading Assignment

This is a group participation mark, based on prepared in-class reading aloud of lines from the Alliterative Morte Arthure and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight . I will divide you into groups and assign the passages early in the term, once registration has settled down. The idea is that you will read aloud important parts of the text, things I plan for us to discuss on a given day.

See below for your line assignments. On the day for which you are scheduled, come to class prepared to read your lines aloud. This is a participation mark: if you are present and make a good-faith attempt, you will earn at least 8 points. If you are truly wonderful, there is the possibility of 9 or even 10 points.

You will read best if you read the whole section for your assigned day carefully, so that you know what is going on. Pay attention to whether your passage is description and dialogue; to whether there is a change in speaker or attention; and to how you think the audience might be reacting. Think about the sounds and how they mesh with the words; have some fun!

Research Paper

Due date (proposal and bibliography): to be e-mailed to me (sian@mail.ubc.ca) by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, November 1

Due date (draft): to be e-mailed to me (sian@mail.ubc.ca) by 11:59 pm on Thursday, November 17

Due date (final paper): to be e-mailed to me (sian@mail.ubc.ca) by Monday, December 12

This is a three-part exercise, designed to provide feedbak and support towards the final product. The final product is a SHORT paper (1000 words; that is, about 4-5 double-spaced pages for most people) on a topic of your choice.

This is a research paper, in that I expect you to develop your topic and argument through a combination of close reading of our course texts, AND careful searching for relevant critical literature. The paper itself is short; you should be thinking about the research as landscape or context for your own focused exploration. Your goals are to ask an interesting question of your medieval source material, and to set about exploring that question in a way that respects the details of that material, and shows an awareness of how scholars have approached that question.


  • a possible title for your paper
  • a short paragraph outlining the focus/ argument of your paper [this could become the core of your introduction]
  • a list of up to 6 carefully-chosen critical works that will offer context for your paper

The DRAFT should be a complete version of your paper.

The FINAL PAPER should take account of the feedback you received on the draft.

It might help you to have a sense of the paper topics I have seen in this course in the past. Issues of interest to other students have included

  • public and private identity (versions of this focus have included the individual versus the collective, love, chivalry, heroism)
  • nationalism (issues include whether the term is appropriate at all; how it articulates with the representation of the Other; how an English writer like Malory makes use of French sources; how audiences might have engaged with the text)
  • Malory’s use of a source text (this one has sometimes developed into discussion of anticipated audiences; sometimes it ends up focusing on style and formal features; sometimes it ends up taking on one of the thematic issues included in this list)
  • narrative structure in medieval texts (can end up in a consideration of genre)
  • the impact of presentation on reception of a source text (versions of this paper have included focus on manuscripts, on editions, on editorial controversies, on introductions, on anthologies...)
  • the role of religion (has included discussion of crusading imagery, of outward versus inward religion, of questions regarding free will; sometimes his paper has taken on how pre-Christian notions (destiny, Fortune) fit (or do not) with Christian ideas about history
  • role of women in one or two of the course texts
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