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Hello, folks; I'm Miss Sewell and welcome to this English unit, "Telling Tales" by Patience Agbabi.

This lesson looks at Patience Agbabi's 21st century pilgrims on their journey towards Canterbury.

Now, we're going to join them on their journey throughout this unit, but today we're going to focus on what inspired Patience Agbabi to create her pilgrims from what she read in Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales", and how he constructed his pilgrims. Now, before we begin, I'd like you to make sure that you have a pen, a piece of paper, and you make sure that you've cleared away all devices that could distract you from this lesson.

Make sure you turn off the notifications on this device that you're viewing this video from.

Take a moment now to do those three things, and make sure that you pause the video, just so you don't get lost through the lesson.

Okay, let's get started.

In this lesson, you'll master what frame narratives are and how they work; who the modern pilgrims are that we will meet along our journey; and have an understanding of the author biographies that come right at the end of "Telling Tales".

So firstly, we're going to have a quick catch-up of the key knowledge that we need for this lesson today.

So, "The Canterbury Tales".

Now, "The Canterbury Tales" is an epic poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer.

And he wrote about pilgrims sharing stories along their journey towards Canterbury.

"Telling Tales" is the revoicing of "The Canterbury Tales".

"Telling Tales" has transported "The Canterbury Tales" into the 21st century.

Now, performance poetry is key for both "The Canterbury Tales" and "Telling Tales".

Now, performance poetry is poetry specifically composed for, or during a performance to an audience.

It allows for more expression to be added to poetry and allows an emphasis on language.

Satire is used by both poets, Chaucer and Agbabi.

Satire is the use of humour or exaggeration to expose people's voices.

Now, today's lesson, we're going to learn a new device, and this device is frame narrative.

Now a frame narrative is when a main story, or narrative, contains one or more smaller narratives as part of the overall story.

So we could say, a story within a story.

So, a main narrative contains one or more smaller narratives as part of the overall story is what we call a frame narrative.

What I would like you to do for your first task is to pause this video, and I would like you to fill in the missing words from this definition.

You can pause the video in three, two, one.

Excellent; so, you should have taken the time to pause the video and have a go at filling in these missing words.

I've put the definition back on your screen.

When a main story or narrative contains one or more smaller narratives as part of the overall story.

That's what a frame narrative is.

A story within a story.

Now, how do frame narratives look? For example, "The Canterbury Tales" is our main narrative.

Our main narrative is made up of smaller narratives that feed into the larger one.

"The Canterbury Tales" has smaller narratives of "The Knight's Tale", "The Friar's Tale", "The Cook's Tale", "The Miller's Tale".

These small, four narratives, plus our other 20 all make up "The Canterbury Tales" and feed into our main narrative.

Another example from film is "The Titanic".

Now, you might remember that we begin our voyage on the Titanic as our 21st century Rose, who is a very elderly woman.

She goes back to view the Titanic, now sunk beneath the sea.

She recalls her story of when the Titanic set sail in 1912.

So our past story is our smaller narrative that makes up our new story for the 21st century.

How about "Avengers: Endgame"? So, "Avengers: Endgame" is our main narrative, our larger story.

It's fed into by our smaller narratives that happen during this time.

For example, Black Widow and Hawkeye go off to try and find the Soul Stone.

Thor and Rocket go off to find the Reality Stone.

Captain America goes to retrieve the Mind Stone.

Hulk goes in search of the Time Stone.

Nebula and War Machine go in order to get the Power Stone.

And Ant Man and Iron Man go to collect the Space Stone.

Now, all of those six narratives are smaller narratives that make up our larger narrative of the "Avengers: Endgame".

In order to defeat Thanos, those smaller narratives must take part in order to achieve that larger goal.

We also have the text we are studying for this unit of "Telling Tales".

"Telling Tales" has a frame narrative.

"Telling Tales" is our main narrative, our main story.

And we have our smaller stories of "Emily", "The Devil in Cardiff", "Roving Mic," and "The Kiss", plus our other 20 stories that make up the "Telling Tales".

Now, Patience Agbabi, at the end of her poetry collection, she says this.

She says, "I would like to thank Geoffrey Chaucer for creating a literary work that defies time and space." So here, Agbabi is trying to have a conversation with Chaucer.

By creating her poetry, she's been able to create and reinvent Chaucer's original poem.

She's brought it into the 21st century, so it can be appreciated in its new form, as well as in its original form that Chaucer created.

She's having a conversation with him through her literature to appreciate the work that he created, but also, to show her new work, her new creation.

In doing this, she's able to highlight how, actually, Chaucer was using a lot of satire in order to critique the people who were around him at the time, just how Agbabi uses satire to critique the people that are living within the 21st century.

And the two texts, alongside each other can tell us a lot about how life was and how life is now.

So, within Agbabi's work, we are able to highlight key parts influenced by "The Canterbury Tales".

Now, the three main sections that we're able to see very clearly that are inspired by "The Canterbury Tales" are the names of the tales, the characters of the tales, and the plot of those tales.

Now, all of these three things link up to our "Telling Tales".

So, the names of the tales, the characters of the tales, and the plot of the tales, all feed into the new "Telling Tales" that we shall start reading.

We're able to see how Agbabi has taken inspiration from the Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" in creating her new "Telling Tales".

She carefully crafts Chaucer's ideas, language, and characters into her own style of poetry.

She draws on her 21st century society for inspiration, just as Chaucer did in creating "The Canterbury Tales".

He observed people.

He was able to construct characters from people that he saw when he was out and about, similar to how Agbabi would have found inspiration from the society she is in.

Now, it's interesting, and we will see how Agbabi does this, but she takes either a word or a section of "The Canterbury Tales", and she's able to then build a whole character around those simple words or a simple phrase.

And she's able to do this through her biographies, which we'll look at in a moment.

Firstly, we need to make sure that we're aware of what a pilgrim is.

So, a pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.

A person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons is a pilgrim.

We have pilgrims in both "The Canterbury Tales" and "Telling Tales", and our pilgrims travel from Southwark to Canterbury.

What I would like you to do, in a moment, is to pause the video.

On your sheets of paper, you should copy down the definition and fill in the missing words as you go.

You should pause the video in three, two, one.

Excellent; so, by now you should have paused the video and you should have written down the definition in complete.

Give yourself a tick for both words if you have them written correctly.

So, a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons is a pilgrim.

So, you should give yourself a tick for journeys and a tick for religious.

Well done if you managed to memorise those two words.

Now, in creating her modern pilgrims, Agbabi does three things.

She picks a tale, and by picking that tale, she then reinvents the pilgrim's name who tells the tale.

She modernises the narrative of that tale told.

And then she reforms the biography of that pilgrim who tells the tale.

Now, what I mean by this is she brings the pilgrim into the 21st century by altering some of their personality or some of their traits in order to fit into society that we're aware of today.

So, we're going to look at how she does this.

So we're going to look at the knight and "The Knight's Tale." Just so we're aware, we're going to just recap what "The Knight's Tale" involves from "The Canterbury Tales".

So, the knight tells the first tale of "The Canterbury Tales".

And he talks about Palamon and Arcite, who are cousins.

Now, the cousins are imprisoned by Theseus, and they are imprisoned together in a tower.

Palamon awakes one morning, he looks from a window and he sees a woman called Emily.

Now, Palamon falls in love with Emily at first sight.

Arcite sees Emily also and falls in love with her too.

This angers Palamon, who believes he claims Emily first.

The friendship begins to deteriorate as they compete over Emily and for her love.

Now, Theseus sees this, and he arranges for a tournament to take place between the cousins to compete for Emily's hand in marriage.

During the tournament, Arcite is thrown from his horse and he dies.

And after a period of mourning, so a period of sadness and sorrow, for that, Arcite's death, Emily and Palamon marry.

So the knight tells this tale right at the beginning of "The Canterbury Tales".

He's the first pilgrim we hear from, and his first tale is told.

Now, we're going to look at the characteristics of the knight and how he is described and presented to us by our narrator.

Now, the knight has a high social standing.

He is a knight.

He is strong.

He is brave.

So the rest of the pilgrims look up to him as a result of this.

So we say that he has a high social standing.

Throughout his tales, he describes his love of ideals.

So he appreciates truth, honour, freedom, and courtesy.

He also explains how he took part 15 crusades.

Now, crusades are religious wars.

So he took part in 15 crusades.

So he would go to other countries and he would fight in these religious wars.

And examples of places that he would have fought are Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, and Russia.

And of course, there are more.

Now, if we look at Agbabi's Robert Knightley, we're able to see that knight already appears in Robert Knightley's name.

So here, we have our reformed name, given by Agbabi.

But Robert Knightley also has high social standing.

As we'll find out, he is a professor of creative writing.

Now, within his community, within his group of pilgrims, he would also be looked up to.

Robert Knightley published in a collection of poems called "Truth, Honour, Freedom and Courtesy".

His work is translated into 15 languages.

So his poetry has been translated into 15 languages.

But also, he represented the British Council in Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, and Russia, and some other countries.

Now, when we have both characters next door to each other, we can see clearly the similarities between them.

And we can see the small areas that Agbabi was able to take some inspiration, and construct a whole new character based around these.

Although they differ in their jobs, both the knight and Robert Knightley have a high social standing.

Although the knight describes his love of ideals, Robert Knightley must also hold truth, honour, freedom and courtesy as an ideal, as he names his collection of poetry after them.

Because the knight took part in 15 crusades, 15 is the important part, because this is then transferred into Robert Knightley's character by his work being translated into 15 languages.

Notice how Agbabi has just taken a small detail, the number 15, and has been able to craft it into the new character of Robert Knightley.

It's something so simple and subtle, and it could go missing.

He represented the British Council in Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Lithuania, and Russia.

Extremely similar to that of where the knight took part in his crusades.

So, our two characters are extremely similar, even in small details.

Now we're going to look at where this information comes from.

After our collection of poems, after all of our tales have been told, Agbabi gives us the biographies of these pilgrims that go on a journey.

Robert Knightley is a professor of creative writing at the UEA.

He's a poet who represented the British Council in Egypt, Turkey, Lithuania, Russia, Morocco, and Algeria.

His work is translated into 15 languages.

His third collection, "Truth, Honour, Freedom, and Courtesy", was shortlisted for the T.


Eliot prize.

Here, Robert Knightly is described as a professor.

Now we're given this piece of information to show that Robert Knightley has a high social standing.

Well, that's extremely similar to the knight from "The Knight's Tale", who also has high social standing as a knight.

Both men are therefore looked up to by the rest of the pilgrims. We are told the list of countries where Robert Knightley represented the British Council.

These are the same locations where the knight fought in crusades.

The fact that the number 15 comes up again, so, Robert Knightley's work is translated into 15 languages.

15 is important to the knight as he took part in 15 crusades, in 15 religious wars.

"Truth, Honour, Freedom, and Courtesy" is the name of the collection of poetry that Robert Knightley creates.

The knight describes his love of ideals as being truth, honour, freedom, and courtesy.

Things that every knight would hold close to his heart.

So both characters appreciate these four ideals.

So it's clear where Agbabi took her inspiration from the original knight, and has been able to create Robert Knightly.

A very different knight, who instead of fighting on the battlefield, instead, fights by using words through his poems. So to sum up.

This modern pilgrim of Robert Knightley has been inspired, or based on, our knight from "The Knight's Tale".

Robert Knightley's name is reinvented.

He is assigned to the tale of "The Knight's Tale".

He modernises the story or the tale of Palamon and Arcite into Pal and Arc.

And instead of being trapped in a tower, the men are trapped inside Emily's brain.

He's a professor of creative writing.

He's a poet, and he has high social standing.

So we have a reformed, or an altered, biography of the original knight to create Robert Knightley.

In a second, I'm going to pop up some sentence expansion for you and you are going to complete the sentences.

On your screen are the three sentences I would like you to complete.

Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight because.

; Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight but.

; Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight so.

So I'd like you to fill in those sentences on your page and pause the video while you do that.

So by now, you should have taken the time to pause the video.

We're going to go over the sentence expansions.

Don't worry if you haven't got exactly the same words as I have.

You may have come up with something different.

Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight because both men hold a high social standing.

That's an acceptable answer.

That is completely correct.

Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight because small details included by Agbabi hint to their similarities.

For example, the relevance of Knightley's poem being translated into 15 languages was inspired by the knight fighting in 15 crusades.

That's an excellent answer, because you've managed to pick up the small details that are from Chaucer's original "The Knight's Tale", and you've seen how they translate into Agbabi's now 21st century "Telling Tales".

Number two, Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight, but.

So here you have to look for a difference.

So, but is written as a separate character.

That's an acceptable answer.

That's not wrong.

Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight, but presents the knight in a new form as one who battles through use of words instead of with a sword.

That's a good answer.

You've explained clearly how there is a difference between the two characters.

Number three, Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight, so.

We can see a connection between the two poems. We absolutely can.

Agbabi's Robert Knightley is similar to Chaucer's knight, so we can see the inspiration behind Agbabi's reinvention of Chaucer's character.

No detail is random.

That's a great answer because we're able to see that everything that Agbabi did was for a specific reason.

Nothing is just down to chance.

Now we move on to our next tale.

So, the second tale in the "The Canterbury Tales" is "The Miller's Tale".

Now, "The Miller's Tale" is our smaller narrative and our smaller narratives feed into our larger narrative of "The Canterbury Tales", therefore forming a frame narrative.

So, the miller, as a character, is stout.

He's described as a fat, heavy-built man.

He is brawny, meaning that he is strong.

He has a big mouth, meaning he's indiscreet about sharing his opinions on subjects.

He appears very drunk, and he threatens the host's notion of propriety.

Meaning, the host has created a respectful, peaceful area for the pilgrims to share their stories.

However, the miller threatens this peace by being drunk and loud.

He insists on telling the second tale, and he succeeds.

And so we hear from the miller next.

He enjoys overturning all conventions, meaning he enjoys overturning the way that things are normally done.

He's blasphemous, and he ridicules religious clerics, carpenters, and women.

We're going to look at the reinvention of the miller in Agbabi's "Telling Tales" Robyn Miller.

Now, Robyn Miller is described in her biography as bolshy, big, bi, redhead; Taurus, Leo rising.

Part-time barmaid, full-time motormouth.

Likes performance poetry, punk poets, John Cooper Clarke, Joolz, Steve Tasane.

Loves Luke Wright, Hollie McNish, Kate Tempest.

Anything that packs a punch.

Wrestles for relaxation.

Hates glass ceilings, religious bigots, size eight anything.

Lives, drinks, fights in Deptford.

So there we have a description of Robyn Miller, and now we're going to see how the description of Robyn Miller is similar to that of our miller within "The Canterbury Tales".

Robyn Miller is described in a similar way to the description of the miller, physically.

She is bolshy and big.

This is similar to how the miller is described as being stout and brawny.

So they are both large, physically.

The miller is described as having a loud mouth.

Robyn Miller is described as having a motormouth.

By having a motormouth, she speaks extremely quickly and incessantly.

So she always fills the empty space with her conversation.

She's also described as wrestling for relaxation.

So here, Robyn Miller is overturning a convention.

Conventionally or stereotypically, women don't tend to wrestle for relaxation, and here, she enjoys wrestling.

So it's a good way for her to relieve stress.

Robyn Miller is also described as hating glass ceilings.

So here, she is aware of barriers for her advancing in career, advancing as a woman, within society.

And she hates the fact that there's glass ceilings out there, suggesting that she might have a feminist undertone to her character.

She doesn't like religious bigots.

So people who are very strong minded in their views and won't be swayed to think any differently.

This is similar to how the miller enjoyed mocking religious clerics.

So, the miller and Robyn Miller are extremely similar in their physical form, and in many of their opinions on how they view the world.

Our modern pilgrim is Robyn Miller, inspired, created based on the miller.

She reinvents "The Miller's Tale".

So Robyn is married and we are given her perspective of her affair.

She is extremely bolshy and she overturns conventions, similar to how the miller is physically described and how he too enjoys playing with conventions.

In a moment, you're going to pause the video and read the sentence on the next page, and complete the sentence expansion.

Get ready to pause your video.

Here is your sentence expansion.

Agbabi's Robyn Miler is similar to Chaucer's miller because.

I'd like you to fill in that sentence for me please, on your sheets of paper.

You can pause the video in three, two, one.

So, by now, you should have paused the video and written down your sentence.

Here are some example answers to compare your answer to.

Agbabi's Robyn Miller is similar to Chaucer's miller because they have the same physical features; absolutely.

There is no doubt that Robyn Miller is based, physically, on the miller.

A good answer would be that they have the same physical features despite their difference in gender.

Both Millers overturn conventions within the poem.

Absolutely, excellent.

It's great to highlight that their difference in gender doesn't change their physical appearance of being large and bolshy.


That drills the end of today's lesson.

You've worked extremely hard and you've gained so much information about our two characters who have been transported from "The Canterbury Tales" into "Telling Tales", with an extra bit of a 21st century twist.

Next lesson, we're going to look at understanding the prologue and we are going to meet Harry Bailey our host for the pilgrims' journey towards Canterbury.

If you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, tagging the @OakNational and using the hashtag #LearnwithOak.

Otherwise, you just have your exit quiz to complete in order to see how well you sponged up that knowledge today.

Have a lovely rest of your day.