By Gail Ashton (auth.)
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Additional info for Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
She begins simply enough with a hint that her heart was set on Jankyn even before her previous husband had been decently buried. When her late husband is taken to church she tells us in an almost casual manner that it is her neighbours 'that for hym maden sorwe', not her. This telling omission is reinforced by her admission that she has eyes only for 'Jankyn, oure clerk', and her comment that she is unable to prevent herself looking at his lovely legs as he follows the funeral bier. Immediately this almost unseemly and shocking admission strikes home and we gain a strong sense of her energy and liveliness, indeed her frankly admitted sexuality.
The Bible, romance, epic history none compare to the case of a fox trying to eat a cockerel for his dinner! The effect remains, however, with Chauntecleer the noble victim and the audience highly entertained. ' 32 Practical Examples ofAnalysis This seems to indicate that one single action is the key to his downfall as in the case of so many heroes who fall victim to destiny. If only he hadn't done it, the narrator suggests, a cry reinforced by another technique employed in these lines, the use of exclamation.
Alison wants only to be loved. Her main concern is not the man himself; in one respect she is quite indiscriminate. Instead her feelings are aroused when, as the above quotation indicates, the man likes her. She sexually lavishes her own love on her men while her description of lusting after Jankyn's legs is as much adolescent infatuation as embarrassingly lustful. Her nature is brazen yet affectionate and loving; she tells us that despite her maturity and experience she falls head over heels for Jankyn, that 'al my herte I yaf unto his hoold' .