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The works we’ve read so far in Unit One have been both difficult to understand and hard to relate to. We don’t typically go on sea voyages anymore, or gather in mead-halls, or hide away from humans in forests. 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 two-page (400-500 word) response that links thematically and updates one of the classics we’ve read. You do nothave to discuss the classic text since each prompt is already thematically linked to the classic. For example, when you write about loss (Prompt #1), you’re connecting to the feeling of loss explored in The Wife’s Lament. If you write about the coffee house (Prompt #2), you’re addressing the themes of friendship and camaraderie found in Beowulf, and Prompt #3 deals with a time you felt alone or misunderstood as seen in Grendel. A good rule of thumb is to fully address the prompt as it’s worded.
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. Feel free to add pictures if you’d like, and you can use whatever font you want (as long as I can read it!). This can be nonfiction or fiction, but remember to include descriptive elements: figurative language, interesting adjectives, and vivid verbs.
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.
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.
Have you ever felt alone or misunderstood? Perhaps there was a time when you knew the truth about a situation or person, but you really wanted to believe another reality– even if it wasn’t the truth? Write about this time, person, or situation. Remember to include elements of description. This doesn’t have to be based on a real-life situation; it can be fiction.