Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Book: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (anonymous)

Time: Written sometime in the late 14th century

Description: Written by an anonymous fourteenth-century poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is recognized as an equal to Chaucer’s masterworks and to the great Old English poems, Beowulf included. A green-skinned knight offers the Knights of the Round Table a simple but deadly challenge—a challenge taken on by the brave Sir Gawain. A challenge that will force him to choose between his honor and his life... (from

I enjoyed this book, very much. Firstly, the poetry was very cool. It didn't rhyme (except for the last five lines of each stanza), but rather there were three or four words in each line that began with the same sound.

I really enjoyed the descriptions--they were very vivid. I'm not sure why that surprised me, but it did. The descriptions of the seasons and of Sir Gawain's journey were especially vivid and enjoyable for me.

This was very much a Christian book/poem throughout: Gawain is very Christian, tries hard not to sin (which (not sinning, I mean) he does a bit too much to feel realistic, but anyway. The narrator will only admit that he sinned once in the entire year that the narrative spans and, let's face it, if that were true than there wouldn't be quite as much of a need for Jesus), prays a lot. When his host's wife literally throws herself at him, he doesn't even think about doing anything with her. Good for him! He does, in the end, do something else instead, which brough up an interesting point--at the end it was decided that that sin wasn't "too big". But sin is sin, period. I loved Gawain's reaction to the realization that he'd sinned, though--he admits it and repents, straight up. From Gawain I just very much got the feel of someone trying hard to strive for God and His perfection. Also loved his faith: almost always he was determined to do what was right, no matter what the consequences might be. 

Overall, this book had a great Christian world-view and was a very enjoyable read.

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