You will write a total of six two-part responses. Please indicate the numbers of the given texts you are responding to.
Explain what each text means and how it fits into the larger work from which it comes.
Hints: Part 1. In explaining the text you may refer to particular words (metaphors), images (symbols), or ideas that the piece contains.
Part 2. In considering the complete work, you may apply a critical theory such as feminism, deconstruction, and marxism or consider how the text reflects social and/or cultural developments of its time. Or you may consider how the text indicates the main concerns or anxieties of its time.
You have 15-20 minutes for each text.
And after she had conceived, she was troubled with severe attacks and sickness until the child was born. And then, what with the labor-pains she had in childbirth and the sickness that had gone before, she despaired of her life, believing she might not live. Then she sent for her confessor, for she had a thing on her conscience which she had never revealed before that time in all her life. For she was continually hindered by her enemy --the devil-- always saying to her while she was in good health that she didn't need to confess but to do penance by herself alone, and all should be forgiven, for God is merciful enough. And therefore this creature often did great penance in fasting on bread and water, and performed other acts of charity with devout prayers, but she would not reveal that one thing in confession.
Margery suffers terrible morning sickness in her pregnancy, and with her first experience of childbirth, she starts to worry about dying. In this state, of what may be post-partum depression, she sends for a priest to whom she wants to confess. In particular, she has a sin about which she has rationalized (she now sees this action as having come from the devil) in order not to confess. Margery has tried to excuse herself by doing self-imposed acts of penance, but she knows from church teaching that these are not enough. This suggests that the sin was serious, and according to her belief, it could send her to hell.
When she starts to confess, the priest goes into a rage and she doesnŐt get to finish. The anxiety and frustration cause her to descend into full-scale depression from which she is finally released by a series of visions of Jesus. Once the visions begin, Margery becomes empowered to live a life of deep devotion now motivated by love, rather than fear, of a very handsome Christ. Eventually, she will extract a vow of celibacy from her husband, thus gaining freedom from the chance of more pregnancies (fourteen was enough) in her middle life as well as the freedom to make pilgrimages all over Europe and to Jerusalem. MargeryŐs devotions show the same extravagance of emotion that her earlier depression exhibited, but rather than constraining her, they become a source of self-assurance and assertiveness as she answers even learned Churchmen when they question her moral and spiritual authenticity.