learning goal: what does it mean to be human, in light of Beowulf?
Class time available for composing the essay-response to this question: What does it mean to be human, in light of Beowulf and the NYTimes article provided in the previous class? Though you have worked in groups for step one (the finding of lines from Beowulf), the essay is to be composed without classmate-conversation. The writing of the essay is an individual, independent process.
Submit the essay to TURNITIN before midnight Friday, March 3.
BE SURE to use the prescribed template, and to acknowledge in the footer any people or sources influencing ideas or details in the essay.
Recap of preparation to this point:
In order to consider the question of how firm or blurred is the line between humans and monsters in the poem, you looked for lines that indicate/suggest characteristics of the three monsters, and those that reveal characteristics of the humans in the poem. This Step One was meant to give you food for thought, as you consider the essay’s main question of what it means to be human.
Step Two, reading the NYTimes article about medieval speech and violence, was meant to broaden the possibilities of your thinking–by introducing you to, or reminding you of, a historical analysis of an apparently related topic. The article uses the term “dehumanizing,” for example. Do not feel obligated to make equal use of the poem and the article. The poem is our primary focus.
Finally, remember that I am asking you, not the Beowulf poet, this question of what it means to be human. The poet may suggest or indicate how he would answer this question, but I am asking you. Use the poem as a touchstone or reference point, but as my sharing of the article suggests, feel free to make contemporary or historical references as part of your essay-answer.
n.b. the flow chart/prep sheet stipulates an essay of 500-1000 words, and of more than one paragraph.