AHS students study satire with The Canterbury Tales

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Updated: January 12, 2018

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Ashdown High School English teacher Ryan Murry and her Senior English Advanced Placement students studied Chaucer’s use of satire (a type of genre that uses humor, irony, hyperbole and understatement to point out a problem in society and thus promote

a change in behavior) as they read The Canterbury Tales. All but three foil characters suffered from at least one deadly sin (wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy or gluttony).

Students were given the task of analyzing the character and revealing the satirical elements through a costume and a lecture to fellow classmates. The final activity was a small festival as they prepared to leave from the Tabard Inn and journey forth to “seek the holy blissful martyr,” in Canterbury. The piece of Horatian satire was the perfect stepping stone to the study of Jonathan Swift’s famous satire, A Modest Proposal.