70 pages 2 hours read

John Steinbeck

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1976

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Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. The stories spend a fair amount of time defining the code of chivalry. When you hear the word “chivalry,” what does it mean to you? Does it apply to life nowadays? Why or why not?

Teaching Suggestion: You might want to solicit definitions from the class of their individual notions of chivalry. These might then be compared to the definition given in the article below. A possible contrast might then be set up between medieval ideals and current notions of proper conduct.

  • This article describes the evolution of the medieval code of chivalry in England.

2. What sort of training regimen do you suppose a warrior might go through to become a knight? Can you think of any parallels to other real or fictional worlds in which a hero’s preparation might be similar?

Teaching Suggestion: It may be useful to guide students to a discussion of pop culture in terms of martial arts films or even comic book superheroes. You might want to consider how these current figures differ in their training and focus from medieval knights.