English III

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 Roberts’ essay about writing.  Write two five hundred word paragraphs on the same topic: a character description of Grendel.  In the first say “nothing” (ie: break all of Paul Roberts’ rules when describing Grendel.  In the second paragraph follow his rules and write a concise, unique, and meaningful piece.  BOTH PARAGRAPHS SHOULD BE TURNED IN ON ONE PAGE.  Use the proper MLA heading.


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), between 20 and 25 lines.  Number each line at the side and LABEL the following. Entertain me using the guidelines below.


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

·        At lease half of your lines must alliterate across the caesura.                               

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

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

·        Use at least one example of the following literary devices: werglid, syndoche, metonymy,  litotes, and “grim irony” (I will explain these in class).

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

·        Each line will have four stressed syllables and eight total syllables.

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

·        At least three allusions will be included and marked:

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



Assignment 3: 

 “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. Maximum 2 pages.