Canterbury Reality | Teen Ink

Canterbury Reality

June 7, 2009
By Maggie Quinn BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
Maggie Quinn BRONZE, Oak Park, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer was written in the 14th century in Middle English. Chaucer was a very talented author in the fact that he was able to reveal some of the most universal human characteristics. Today, seven centuries later, our world is much different than Chaucer’s, yet his writing has defied the odds of time. The human weaknesses and virtues found in Chaucer’s writing are still the same basic of human characteristics of today’s society.
“The Real World Dual” had just finished its fourth season. Filming for the fifth season would take place in less than a month. Getting ready for the new season was the hardest part of Henry John Gallagher’s job. He knew the only way to make the big bucks was to find the most outrageous, interesting, and obnoxious people. Henry John Gallagher was the host and creator of the MTV television series. His income depended on his ability to set up five different people that were destined to create drama. These people were on a five month journey. They had to live together, work together, and most of all compete to win the prize of a million dollars. Henry John Gallagher picked the events and chose the winner of the competition.
Jonathon McCain wanted to be on the show because he was hoping to teach all young men about honor and duty. He was 20 years old and had come back after fighting in Iraq. He was allowed to go home because of his hard work and loyalty to the army. Surprisingly, he was not self centered. He spent his days with his family and his girlfriend. His family was very wealthy and conservative. He believed that men were supposed to work and make all the money. He was very sensitive towards all women because he was taught that they were fragile and delicate beings. He grew up in a very small town and joining the army made his family and community very proud. He was an extremely kind man. His morals and beliefs were quite different than those of the people around him in his new house and community of New York.
Candy (She didn’t want her last name mentioned) was only twenty five years old and she had already been married three times. She was very outgoing and talkative, but she didn’t have the best luck with her husbands. Yes, she claimed to loved every single one of them, yet something always went wrong. Her first husband, Carl Smith was a hardworking lawyer, but he died when he got hit by a bus while he was crossing the street to get into his limo. As for her other husbands, she refused to tell why they divorced, but she hinted that they were abusive. Candy gave up and became an escort. She liked her new job because it gave her power over men. In the house she didn’t let anyone put her down. She thought she was very experienced and she didn’t care what people thought of her.
Rick Carey worked as a construction worker during the summer. The rest of the year he happily collected unemployment insurrance and spent most of his time at the bar getting drunk. He was twenty seven and had dropped out of high school as a junior. He was all for a good time. He wanted to be on the show because he liked to have a little fun. He was rude, obnoxious, and really only cared about himself. He liked to make fun of Jonathon, tried to hit on Candy, and made countless jokes about Sarah Smith.
Sarah Smith was one of the sweetest people in the world. She felt compassion towards every single creature on the planet. She had just turned twenty three and she was extremely environmentally friendly. She was a vegan, a regular volunteer at countless community organizations, and she worked for a “Go Green” association. She hoped, by being on the show, she could show people that there is beauty in the simplicity of life.

Henry John Gallagher represents the host in “Canterbury Tales.” In the novel, Harry Bailey owns the Tabard Inn, like Henry Gallagher owns and produces “The Real World Dual.” Both men are extremely greedy. Harry Bailey comes up with the story telling competition knowing the winner would be awarded a paid room at his inn by the other contestants. He started the game so that he could make more money. Likewise, Henry John Gallagher chooses five different competitors for his show knowing the drama would make it popular and him rich. Being self centered, and the idea that “money is power,” is and has been a characteristic of the human condition even before Chaucer’s time.
Jonathon McCain represents the Knight. Like the knight, who won many battles, Jonathon had been very successful fighting for the United States in Iraq. The knight tells a tale about a king named, Theseus. He shows that Theseus, being from a higher class is above all the others in the story. Jonathon was born into a rich family and was very fortunate. He was a lot like the knight, in the fact that he thought he and his family were better than other families. Shown in his tale, the knight sees women as fragile and weaker than men. Theseus married an Amazon Warrior and still saw himself above her. Jonathon was also taught that men were supposed to take care of the women and he sees himself as a protector in the house. Regardless of the different time periods, Chaucer was right and still is, in the fact that there are, and always will be men and women believe that they possess the only true beliefs.
Candy represents the Wife of Bath in Canterbury Tales. Like the Wife of Bath, Candy thinks she is very experienced. Both Candy and the Wife of Bath had many husbands. Both had husbands who passed away or who abused them. In the Wife of Bath’s tale, she tells a fantasy about a man who finds out what women desire most: to have dominion over their husbands or lovers. The Wife of Bath tells this story as a fairytale because she knows women can never have power over men. Like the Wife of Bath, Candy desires to have power over men. She thought the only way to achieve this was to become an escort. Both women were very outgoing and comfortable with themselves. Even now, there is still a struggle over sexual power. Chaucer was trying to emphasize the fact that women like power just as much as men. That fact is still true today, and Candy is a perfect example.
Rick Carey represents the Miller. Like the Miller, Rick Carey was drunk most of the time. The Miller tells an obnoxious tale where he mocks religion, makes women seem unfaithful, and uses crude humor. Like the Miller, Rick Carey is not hard-working and only thinks about partying. He liked to start fights and he doesn’t care about anyone besides himself. The human weaknessof being “worry free” and a “party animal” is another trait that intersects our time with Chaucer’s.
Sarah Smith represents the Prioress in Canterbury Tales. The Prioress tells a tale about religion and her deep devotion to the Mother Mary. In our society today, religion is a lot less popular. “Go green” is the new religion. Instead of being devoted to God, she is devoted to saving human life and our planet. Likewise, The Prioress is described as a selfless woman who cares for animals and pities anything on earth. Being selfless and caring is another wonderful characteristic that has found its way through time. Both Chaucer and I agree that there will always be those unique people, like Sarah Smith and the Prioress who will work to keep our world going round.
The four contestants moved in short after, thus the competition began…

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