The Canterbury Tales: Revised and Contemporized – Writing a Contemporary Tale
The Canterbury Tales: Revised and Contemporized
Write a contemporary tale that illustrates some aspect of our own 21st Century society. Be sure that your tale provides a window into our world so that readers in the distant future may gain insights into what citizens in our society value and enjoy. Like Chaucer, you may choose to write in any genre that you prefer. *A Genre of the Tales, appears at the end of this document; it shows each of the genres used by Chaucer and shows which of his tales fall into various categories. You may wish to read more of the Canterbury Tales to generate your own ideas for the contest.
Tale must be typed, double- spaced, 12 pt. font/Times New Roman
Tale must have a title and reflect 21st Century character traits (social class, habits, values, styles, appearances, morals, lack of morals, etc.)
Tale must descriptively reveal some aspect of 21st century culture, social classes, trends, lifestyles, professions, sports, entertainment, education, politics, religion, etc.
Tales may be set in local, state, or national regions
Tales must be between 3-5 pages in length
In planning your 21st Century tale, how would you rank the social order in American society? Compare and contrast Medieval vs. Contemporary Societies’ economic/social class structures.
Complete the Chart: Comparing Social Classes
Medieval Social Classes Today’s Social Classes
1. Ruling/Nobles/Royal 1.
2. Clergy/Church/Religious 2.
3. Middle Class 3.
4. Trade Class 4.
5. Peasant Class 5.
(Continued on next page!)
Make it FUN, make it REAL!
*Genre of Chaucer’s Tales
(for use as possible models)
Genre Defined Example
Chivalric Romance tale of love, adventure, knightly Knight’s Tale
Knightly conflict and pageantry Squire’s Tale
Myth creating or recreating a myth Manciple’s Tale
Mock-Heroic ridicules, by imitation, chivalric Nun’s Priest’s Tale
Literature and heroic characters
Beast Fable Animals are given human Nun’s Priest’s Tale
qualities and are involved in
tales that teach a moral lesson
Mock-Romance ridicules the chivalric romance Chaucer’s Tale #1
Jokes humorous incidents that ridicule Friar’s Tale
people Summoner’s Tale
Canon’s Yeoman’s T.
Fabliau stories based on clever tricks Miller’s Tale
that involve infidelity Skipper’s Tale
Sermon an oratory preaching a Parson’s Tale
A Christian message
Exemplum a sermon that illustrates a Pardoner’s Tale
known moral lesson
Saint’s Legend tales of inspirational acts Second Nun’s Tale
Miracle of the Virgin tales in which the Virgin Mary Prioress’s Tale
Miraculously aids a follower
in time of need
Moral Tale tales to inspire moral conduct Physician’s Tale
in the listener Cleric’s Tale
(Miltner, Robert. The Canterbury Tales. United States of America: The Center for Learning 31.)