Friday, October 9, 2015

Reading Period 6: October 10 - 30: The Once and Future King

Class meeting: October 30
Due date: October 29, 7pm

Long read:

The Once and Future King, Books 2-4
The Queen of Air and Darkness
The Ill-Made Knight
The Candle in the Wind


"The Passing of Arthur" from Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

You might also want to look over "The Lady of Shalott" which we read in class last week, from the same book by the same author.

Creative Assignment:

The poem we read in class, "The Lady of Shalott," is one of the most often illustrated poems around! Create your own illustration of this poem. If you want, you can model it on an existing painting, like this famous one by John William Waterhouse:

Or you can go to this web site to see a huge list of a number of different illustrations of different parts of the poem -- the lady in her tower, in her boat, etc. Use whatever medium you like, but please use unlined paper and some kind of color in your work.


Create an internet personality quiz based on the The Once and Future King. You may have seen quizzes like this around Facebook -- like this one: "Which Harry Potter Character Are You?" To keep it simple, choose four characters to be your results. Then write some questions with multiple choice answers, associating each of the answers with one of your results. Try not to make it obvious which character each answer is connected to, so your quiz-taker has suspense about his or her results! If you want to, you can use an online quizmaker to bring your quiz to life! Or you can just post it in the Google+ community and let us enjoy taking it there. (This assignment was Sadie's idea!)

Writing Assignment:

In the early part of Arthur's reign, there are a lot of wars and chaos as other rulers challenge his position on the throne, and also battle each other. Arthur says that Merlyn is helping him win battles, even though battles are wrong, so that he can put the world to rights. What does he see that's wrong in the world, and how can he fix it? The discussion of this point can be found in Book 2 chapters 2, 3, 4, and 6. Include in your discussion the idea that "might makes right" and present Arthur's alternate solution to resolving conflict. If you like, you can give your opinion too. Do you think that might makes right? Do you think battles are a solution? Write at least 100 words.


The character of Arthur changes significantly from the beginning of The Once and Future King to the end. He goes from a carefree boy with hopes for the future to a tired old king, looking at the passing of his kingdom. Even if you haven't finished the novel, take some time to read the very last chapter of the whole book: Book 4, chapter 14. Would you say that the story of King Arthur was a sad story or a glad story? Is it a story of triumph or failure? This is one of the most important and widespread myths in Western Civilization. Do you feel, in the end, that King Arthur's round table was a failed experiment or a grand example? Ultimately, is this story a tragedy? Write at least 100 words giving your opinion.


Choose ten of these characters from the Arthurian legend that T.H. White interprets in the three sections of the book you read for this week. For each character, give a short description of their role in the book, the part they play in the story. Number your quiz from one to ten. If you haven't read enough of the novel to find ten of these, you can look them up.

King Lot of Orkney

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