Honors English 4 Beowulf Writing Assignment #1, Due 9/25/13

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Honors English 4 – Beowulf Writing Assignment #1, Due 9/25/13
Step 1: Write a boast in the style of Beowulf or a flyte in the style of the Unferth-Beowulf exchange. (30%)
Your boast or flyte should meet the following requirements:

Some tips:

  • Some students might find it easier to write a personal boast, or a flyte between friends, but feel free to inhabit a character—whether its one from Beowulf or one from another work of literature or pop culture. You might also choose to channel a public figure (ex. boast as if you were Kanye; flyte as if you're Kanye and anybody ever).

  • Your boast or flyte should include specific references to feats and accomplishments in the same way. In other words, don't just brag generally.

  • For some examples of boasts, check out lines 407-426, 632-638, and 2510-2515 (spoiler alert).

  • Don't forget to reference the parents/father/king of whoever is doing the boasting/flyting (ex. "Greetings to Hrothgar, I am Hygelac's kinsman."

  • If you choose to write a boast, be sure to end it with a promise of what your next great feat will be. If you choose to write a flyte, end it with a challenge or taunt.

Step 2: Using your boast or flyte as inspiration, write a two-page essay about the role of boasts and/or flyting in Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon culture. (70%)
Your essay should meet the following requirements:

  • It should adhere to the guidelines for written work in this class.

  • It should begin with an introduction in which you state your thesis or claim (i.e. what you think the role of boasts and/or flyting is in Beowulf).

  • Textual evidence to support your claim. You should definitely include quotes from Beowulf, but you might also want to reference "Verbal Dueling" (or any other scholarly articles you might find).

  • Analysis of the quotes to demonstrate how they help you prove your claim.

Some tips:

  • Be specific! In other words, don't just say "boasts help men prove they're manly." Tell us how it helps specific characters prove they're manly, and why that's important within the context of the poem. To help, consider focusing on a single boast, or just the Beowulf-Unferth exchange.

  • Read closely! As you analyze your quotes, look at the details. Check out word choice, alliteration, imagery, and all that jazz. Think about the choices the poet is making.

  • Reflect. Think about your process of writing your boast or flyte. Use that experience to consider the importance of boasting and flyting for Anglo Saxon literature and its subject matter. What does this kind of verbal bragging and challenging help the speaker accomplish?

  • Think thematically. Consider the themes and values of Anglo Saxon/Scandinavian culture we've discussed in class in your analysis.

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