Monday, September 24, 2007

Wholly Boisterous and Full of Pride.

Right now I'm in a British Literature class, and because it's a web-based course, we have to post several times a week to a Discussion Board in the place of classroom participation. This week, we're reading and writing about Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. I received a lovely compliment about a post I made, and wanted to record it.

I wrote this:

Q: Why do you think the author deliberately creates so many parallels between the exchanges (of blows, of gifts) and the days of the hunt and seduction?

A: I think the author deliberately creates the parallels between the all the exchanges and the days of the hunt and seduction to point out the hypocrisy of the court. I think this idea is further solidified by Gawain's initial claims to Arthur and his court about him only having value as Arthur's nephew, as well as by the dramatic presentation of his arms branded by the mark of chivalry as he went off to fulfill his commitment to the Green Knight, and finally by the beautiful reputation than preceded him in the new court in which he now resided. I think these things were set up to portray Gawain in one way to provide a shock factor when he behaved in another.

As for the exchanges, none of them were done in a simple way, but rather each of them came with a boisterous promise and dramatic vow before a large audience of noblemen and women. I believe this was done in this way in order to prove how each party in the exchange was honest and generous, pious and chivalrous, brave and honorable. There was never a quiet agreement between two men of integrity, but rather a big show every time, every day, with every vow.

While the Lord of the house rode off to the hunt to fulfill his end of the bargain, Sir Gawain stayed behind and became the hunted. He was pursued by the Lady of the house, and the spouse of his bargaining partner. As the Lord battled his unwilling prey, Gawain as prey over and over again gave in willingly to sweet words and hidden kisses. At the end of the night, he would hear the boasts of the hunting champion and would again brazenly vow to fully exchange all of his profits, all the while remaining quiet about the profit of love that was gaining in value day by day. Gawain was not fully honest, he was not fully chivalrous, and his bravery in this situation went only so far to meet the needs of a young man smitten by a woman he could not fully have.

A Classmate's Reply to my Post:

I not only agree with your assessment, I am more than a little envious (color me green?) of your writing ability. I mentally compared your submission with mine and wonder why I spent so much time rehashing the events when they really don’t have all that much to do with the question. You stated your premise at the beginning where it should be while I buried mine almost at the end. I found the basis for your conclusion to be clear, concise and on point without being terrible dry. Take me to your writing teacher!


  • Amy

    What a compliment! You are a great writer!

  • Jenny James

    Amanda- I've always thought you are brilliant. You have a way of articulating yourself so clearly and confidently. You could certainly do well on any debate team or with any law firm. With life experience comes great knowledge and wisdom. So, what exactly are you going to do with this English lit degree?? You could write your own ticket if you wanted to.

  • Amanda

    Jenny: "You could write your own ticket if you wanted to."

    Ba-dum-bump. (My attempt at typing a drumroll.) No pun intended, I'm sure.

    I don't know what I will do with this thing. I have always had a passion for Missions, but long-term missions is not a probability for our family unit. When I initially went to college, my major was pre-med and I intended to live on the mission field practing medicine in a remote area. After two attempts at Chemisty and only a passing grade (which to an A student feels alot like an F), I decided medicine was not for me.

    That's when I left ORU the first time (after SP 1995) to go to Rhema Bible Training Center. I graduated from there in 1997 with a ministry certificate - missions emphasis. I moved to France to work with missionaries, came home again, went back to ORU (SP 1998)and changed my major to English.

    At that time, I thought I would work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, as I love language and the function of language. (Which if I transfer into UNT, I will officially have a concentration in Linguistics, not Literature, which would be more conducive to working with Wycliffe. Their headquarters is in Dallas, by the way. I digress.) But, life happened, I left school again, got married, had kids, and here I am again -- pursuing this degree.

    I am hoping to finish no later than December 2008 (With the hours I have right now, I should be done already. I may be able to work out a way to finish sooner than 12/08, but we have to examine costs, time factor, etc.).

    So what will I do when I'm done? Brag.

    No, seriously, I don't know. I will probably continue on in a Master's program, maybe in Theology. We'll see. James is so supportive of me being in school. Primarily because he still get his laundry done, but also because learning just makes me feel so fulfilled and that affects who I am with him and the world. I have to take advantage of this opportunity while it's available, you know?

    Even in all of that, I remain flexible and willing to be a part of the ebb and flow of God's will in my life. I know what I have planned, and am pursuing it as time allows, but in my flexibility, God has exposed me to and allowed me to be a part of far more than I ever could have dreamed. So, who knows what I will do with my degree? What did Ezekiel (via Pastor Kevin this Sunday) say? "O Soveriegn Lord, You alone know." Something like that is right where I am.

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