A Contemporary Pilgrimage

Create a modern tale which mimics the structure and purpose of Chaucer’s tale. Write from the point of view of a contemporary traveler, heading for Baton Rouge with a group of friends and acquaintances. For your pilgrimage, you must do the following:

1.  Assume a persona:  a football player, a teacher, a lawyer, a secretary, a person of ill repute, a construction worker, etc.. (Perhaps draw upon your own job experiences?)

2. Include a PROLOGUE in which you introduce the circumstances of the journey (for our version - we are traveling by bus to Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving Break and the winner of this contest wins an all expense paid trip to Florida for a week.).

3.  Your tale(s) should have some moral truth, value, or advice to offer.

4. Try to write in rhyming couplets, as Geoffrey Chaucer does in The Canterbury Tales. 

5.  Edit your work before writing a final draft. You must use appropriate punctuation and grammar. Writing in verse is not an excuse to abandon mechanical accuracy.

6. You will be graded on:  how well you adhere to the stated criteria; imagination and creativity; skill; humor; presentation; mechanical accuracy.


As you begin to create your character, here are some things to help guide you.

Character description:

1. Name

2. Age

3. Height

4. Eye color

5. Physical appearance

6. Unique physical attributes

7. Hobbies/interests

8. Where does he or she live?

9. Special skills/abilities

10. Family (describe)

11. Description of his or her house

12. Description of his or her bedroom

13. Favorite bands/songs/type of music

14. Favorite movies

15. Favorite TV shows

Consider what your message is going to be:  The hero is brave in deeds as well as words. Honor your father and mother.  Do not kill.  Do not commit adultery.  Do not steal. Do not bear false witness against your neighbor. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or possessions

What story can you tell that will exhibit your morals?

 Honor your father and mother

  1. Do not kill
  2. Do no commit adultery
  3. Do not steal
  4. Do not bear false witness against your neighbor
  5. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or possessions

Story morals

  1. Honor your father and mother
  2. Do not kill
  3. Do no commit adultery
  4. Do not steal
  5. Do not bear false witness against your neighbor
  6. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or possessions


Exchange stories with another partner groups so that you can help one another.

✫Read through your partner’s draft once without writing comments. This can be a quick skim to get an idea of what the story is about and who some of the characters are. Then read it again more carefully.

✫Forget about grammar, spelling, and how you would say something if it were your novel. Today, focus on the content of the story—the characters, the events, the setting, the awesome writing tricks your partner used!

✫Take time to point out words, sentences, or whole sections that you really like. Then, in the margins, write a word or two to tell what you liked about each one.

✫Ask lot of questions. If something doesn’t make sense, ask about it. If you need more detail about a character, ask about it. If you just want to know how your partner came up with a word, phrase, or idea, ask about it!

✫Be kind—and specific—as you point out things that just aren’t “working.”  “I lost interest by the end of this paragraph because it’s so long” is much more constructive than “I don’t like this paragraph.”

✫Keep the criticism between you and your partner. No one else needs to hear how you thought so-and-so’s first sentence was super-boring!