Geoffrey Chaucer's The Wife of Bath is a character worthy of her own text. Spend time diving into her prologue in The Canterbury Tales by challenging students to complete a close reading of anti-feminist critiques.
This stations activity focuses on six key critiques in The Wife of Bath's prologue: marriage, virginity, feminism, sexuality, men's perception of women, and what a woman knows (feminist standpoint epistemology). Teachers can print the six pages in this document and post around the classroom. Students may visit each station at their own pace, contemplate the quoted passages, annotate their own texts, then respond to challenging close reading questions. The stations include several passages that address each critique, but teachers may edit based on their class's needs.
The quoted excerpts refer to the Nevill Coghill translation, published by Penguin Books.
Use this in-class exercise to foster deeper conversation and frame The Wife of Bath's tale. Then, assess student learning with my Canterbury Tales Test on Four Tales
, which covers "The Miller's Tale", "The Reeve's Tale", "The Pardoner's Tale", and "The Wife of Bath's Tale.
Don't forget to check out my Canterbury Tales Test on the General Prologue
and Canterbury Tales Resources
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
A Separate Peace
To Kill a Mockingbird
Much Ado About Nothing
Things Fall Apart