English III Honors

British Literature:  The Author’s Role in Society?

First Trimester Out-of-Class Writing Assignments

Professor: Jaimie Crawford




Assignment 1:  “How to Say Nothing in 500 Words”

Read Paul Roberts’ essay about writing.  Write two five hundred word paragraphs on the same topic (not necessarily football).  In the first say “nothing” (ie: break all of Paul Roberts’ rules.  In the second paragraph follow his rules and write a concise, unique, and meaningful piece.


Assignment 2:  “Modern Epic” (Eg. Joe vs. Calculus 101)

You have just read Beowulf, your first  “epic”--in other words: a long, narrative poem pitting evil versus good. Now, you get to write your own (much shorter), a minimum of 100 lines, maximum 300.  Number each 10 lines at the side. Entertain me using the guidelines below.

1. The epic must be done on a word processor or typed and must be double spaced.

2. At least 25 of your lines must alliterate across the caesura.                      

example: “A great tribe’s treasures.  Truly from thee”                                                                    

 “Peers of my people:  they have passed from this life.”

3. Use at least one example of the following literary devices: wyrd, werglid, synecdoche or  metonymy,  litotes

4. All normal rules of punctuation apply with the sole exception that each new line will begin with a capital letter.

5.  Each line will have four stressed syllables.

6.  Use epic conventions:  epic hero  a conflict or quest   worthy opponent   epic battle   begin in medias res   attention getter at the beginning

7.  At least three allusions will be included and marked:

 Biblical allusion (BA)  classical allusion (CA)   literary allusion (LA)



Assignment 3: 

CHOICE A “A la Chaucer: Character Description”

Addressing a friend, describe--in Chaucer style (heroic couplets of rhyming iambic pentameter)--a “character” you met this summer.  Use at least three of the following literary techniques:  hyperbole, irony, personification, and litotes.  Your letter should set out to amuse the recipient, but also provide social commentary and satire as Chaucer did about his own society--so utilize intelligent humor;  remember, Chaucer satirizes popular “personalities” of his day.


CHOICE B:  Guinevere’s Side of the Story

Guinevere has neither equality or a voice in the original Morte D’Artur.  Rather, she seems simply a waifish and helpless beauty. (I mean, what would Lancelot do all day if he couldn’t protect her?) Rewrite more realistically one excerpt of Morte D’Artur from a more modern Guinevere’s viewpoint.




Mrs. Crawford's

English III Honors