Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Presentation Summary and Sources

C SGGK handout presentation 399

C SGGK presentation

Last semester’s PowerPoint (extra stuff)


Hi All!

I did a presentation on SGGK and genre/historical context.  I concentrated on SGGK as a part of Arthurian tradition, in particular, Arthurian romance (those in the Wednesday section are fairly familiar with this.  Miss you guys!), and its comparison to the Western (Cowboys and sheriffs and such).  I did this to make a connection between SGGK and Buried Giant, as Ishiguro talks about his fascination with the very American story-tradition of the Western,and claims that Gawain is very much like a “lone ranger,” stuck outside of his time and place.

In comparing a piece of Arthurian romance to a Western romance, it is essential to first establish the boundaries and rules of each.  On the PowerPoints attached, I give a “checklist” for elements generally found in an Arthurian Romance.  This can be compared or contrasted with those of a Western (hint: they are almost identical).

If you want to do a cross-genre study of the two, you’ll need a secondary source on Westerns, or you might want to bring a Western novel/text (movie or TV show) in as a possible supplementary text (I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to choose ONE text, but we can bring multiple texts in, and decide which one to use then and there).  One Western that I suggest is Shane.  It’s a novella about a lone gunman with a troubled past, who makes his way into the lives and hearts of a farming family.  The plot thickens, he falls in love with the wife of his host, and (spoiler alert!) leaves the family suddenly to protect the honor of all involved.  Sound like a knight?  I’ve never seen it, but apparently, Shane was made into a pretty good film.

Good luck to all on connecting your texts, and realize that Gawain is versatile, and can be viewed as part of a larger tradition, compared with other traditions, and compared (of course) with Ishiguro’s Buried Giant.  Have fun!