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    Canterbury Tales Essay (4164 words)

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    Throughout history all different parts of the world have been devastated by natural disasters.

    Whenever something created by nature destroys a certain area of the world, people tend to group together and overcome such a tragedy. Our tale will begin in one of the busiest and diverse places in the world, New YorkCity. The month was September and the day started off a bit chilly for an early fall day and the wind was blowing hard. Warnings had been posted for possible hurricane conditions, and the city had become a frenzy of activity. Some were busy preparing for a possible devastating hurricane and gathering supplies while others were going about their daily routine unaffected by the chaos surrounding them. As they day progressed the sky became darker and the wind picked up strength.

    The possibility of a storm occurring increased by the minutes and soon became a citywide warning. By this time most people were able to understand that violent and unpredictable storm was about to overtake the city, but there were still some who didn’t believe the reports from the weather channel. Soon the rain started coming down in sheets and the wind increased to hurricane-style conditions topping over 100 mph. Power was lost quickly and buildings and homes were being ripped apart from the wind and debris flying about. Parts of the city were damaged severely from the beginning effects of the hurricane and there were people in need of help.

    The city officials prepared ahead of time and set up shelters for those who needed protection and assistance. I for one decided to take the opportunity and reside in a shelter for the vast majority of the passing storm. As the storm progressed outside, the shelters quickly filled up with terrified city-dwellers unable to predict what was occurring outside of shelter walls. Natural disasters can bring about a caring and sensitive side in people, and those seeking comfort and relieve are able to turn to those around them to receive this ease. The shelter I was residing in happened to gather an interesting and diverse group of people.

    Myself and 24 others turned to relied on each other and gathered together in a cluster and began to converse. Maybe they just wanted take their minds off of the hurricane outside, or maybe they were just bored out of their minds, but whatever our reasons may have been does not matter. Because this gathering occurred allows me to tell you this tale It was hard to make small talk among such a large group so I came up with adifferent idea. I remember reading a book back when I was in high school where a group of people told stories to pass their time on a long journey they were alltaking together.

    I figured that since none of us were going to be leaving anytime soon that we might give it a try. I suggested it to everyone and surprisingly they all agreed. I explained to them the basic storyline of the book that I was mimicking and they all felt that it would be interesting to seewho could come up with the most interesting and realistic story that provided all the basics of humor and romance rolled into one. It was decided that after everyone completed his or her tale that we would take a vote to see which talethe majority enjoyed most.

    The winner would then receive a prize that would be determined later. Before I begin the stories, let me give you an introduction toeach one of the people that I was gathered with. I will present you with each character in the order that they introduced themselves. Ill begin with thelow-budget porn star. He is an out of work actor who had to turn to making cheesy porn flicks so he could survive and pay his bills.

    He was just waiting for his big break to come along so he could make it into real show business and become more well known outside of his typical porn circle. He was born and raised as a New Yorker and he has the New York accent to go with it. You can sense his intelligence from his choice of vocabulary and The Prostitute came next. Now I dont mean to stereotype her at all, because she seems like a very nice girl. Her childhood was a rough one, starting from when she was just alittle girl.

    She grew up taking care of herself since her mother and father decided that their social life came before her well being. Not only did her parents neglect her, her father also abused her. Unable to deal with living through all the pain that was being inflicted on her, she decided to leave. She was a runaway at the age of 13 and escaped to the streets of New York City to try and make a living. Even though she had to learn to be an adult on her own at such a young age, she was still unable to make it successfully in the city. Herneed for money and lack of skills left very few options for her to pursue.

    While trying to figure out what to do she met up with an older girl of 18 who had been through the same ordeals and was willing to take her under her wing. This girl happened to have succumbed to a life of prostitution, so this seemed to be thebest option she had that would provide her with money. The Hillbilly was next to introduce himself. He was raised on a small farm in Nebraska with his parents,six brothers, three sisters along with four grandparents, two aunts and two uncles and seven cousins. Being that he lived with such an extended family, hewas never able to receive much privacy and we will just say that his family wasvery close and tight-knit.

    When he reached the ripe old age of 15, he like many of his friends turned to their cousins to marry and start a family. He wed his neighborhood sweetheart, Betty-Sue and the two settled down into her familysattic. After failing at his life-long dream of being a NASCAR pit crew workerafter a freak accident involving a tractor trailer where he severely mangled hishand, he has succumb to a life of farming and raising 8 children. The hacker came next.

    By day he is a hard working bank teller, but by night he hacks intothe worlds most prestigious computer programs. Along with hacking he has a sidehobby of creating and designing deadly computer viruses in hopes to one day ruinthe entire world computer system. He is a very secretive and anti-social type ofman. He has never had real friends, just random acquaintances from work orschool. His type of work requires total secrecy so he does not get caughttherefore he trusts no one.

    The Millionaire was a unique individual, and spokenext. He had the privilege of being born into money and he carried on thetradition and took over daddys corporate office and continued to make his ownmillions. At home in one of his several mansions he has a wife and two childrenwhom he hardly knows. Because of his lack of contribution towards his familylife his children dont know him and he and his wife have a non-existentmarriage.

    The Welfare Queen was next to speak. Her family consists of 6 children(all have different fathers) with one on the way. She was never taught how totake care of herself and is unable to understand the concept of hard work. Theonly way she knows how to survive is by constantly bearing children so she canreceive a larger welfare check each month. Currently she rents a 2-bedroom shackand shares it with her out-of-work boyfriend.

    She currently has 11 children andjust keeps popping them out in order to get her check every month. Next is theConceited Athletic Hero. Hes the type of guy who is too good to signautographs for small children who marvel at him and would rather pretend thatthey didnt exist. His father instilled in him that sports and winning wereeverything and that if you didnt bring him a trophy you would be ostracizedfrom the family. He doesnt love or even enjoy the sport he is playing; ratherhe just does it to get the paycheck each week. He has the garage full ofexpensive cars, the beautiful wife (whom he cheats on) and a plethora ofgorgeous houses.

    Since his life was empty and he had very little to life for, hechose to turn to drugs and alcohol to drain his sorrows. The Beauty Queen camenext. She was like many other self-centered beauty queens, whose life consistedof being obsessed with winning beauty contests. The first contest she enteredwhen she was two was the Beautiful Baby Contest, and she won.

    From then on herstage-mother continued training her since a baby. She instilled upon her thevalues and standards that winning is everything and that losing was just notacceptable. She has never been able to stand up to her mom and always dreamt ofthe day when she can escape from her grasps. Her dream was to run away toHollywood and become a famous actress and marry an actor. The day finally camebut instead of going out to Hollywood she came to New York City. She defiantlydid not give off the impression of being intelligent, more the dumb blonde type.

    Today was her first day in New York and her she was in a shelter. TheHard-Working Father seemed like a very sweet guy. He has a wife and threechildren whom he loves unconditional and will do anything for. He enjoys his jobas a high school principal and makes a substantial living. And no averageAmerican family complete without the family dog, Rocky. The Over-Driven CareerWoman came next.

    She has scrambled to the top in the era where Title IX was justbecoming popular, and has now made herself one of the corporate presidents at aprestigious law firm. She has never been married nor has any real friends andhasnt been on a vacation in 13 years. Instead she fills her life with workand more work, never stopping to enjoy life. The Drug Dealer was the next tospeak.

    He was born and raised on the streets, never knowing whom his real fatherwas. His mother abandoned him when he was 5, and after living with fosterfamilies till the age of 15, he decided to go off on his own. Unable to make areal living he turned to drugs. Eventually he was able to gather enough money torent a rat-infested apartment in a ghetto neighborhood.

    His popularity was knownaround town as the man who could get anything. This guy wasnt a good Sumerianand was always having run-ins with the police. Not only did he receive hisearnings from dealing drugs he also was a thief and frequently robbed apartmentbuildings and small stores. He seemed to be the type to enjoy his life of crime,saying that it brought him excitement. The Politician came next. He is thesleaziest of them all, getting everything he needs by cheating, stealing andlying.

    Never in his life has he done something the honest way. On the outside helooks like an honest hardworking man who is willing to devote his life topolitics, but inside he is cold-hearted just waiting for his chance to take overand destroy the world. The College Student was a very cocky girl. She feels thatshe knows everything in the world and is superior to everyone around her. Herlife consists of studying, partying, and drinking and not much else. While herstudies are important she would rather experience the other side of schoolfirst, being that she already knows everything there is to know.

    She looks downupon people in general and takes every chance she gets to put people down. TheHard Working Mother is next. She is very strong and extremely determined to makesomething of her life. Her life had been hard from the beginning but she justtakes things as they come. She married young, had two children and then quicklygot divorced. He ex-husband was a deadbeat and was unwilling to pay childsupport or alimony payments.

    All she got out of the divorce was the house, butshe had no skills and no education to help her secure a job. She is stuckworking two dead-end jobs to trying to keep up with her mortgage payments whileputting food on the table and clothes on her kids backs. The Feminist wasnext. She spends her life fighting for all womens rights issues and equalopportunity, on top of which she is also a man hater. She lives with her loverof 3 years who also has dedicated her life to fighting for womans rights. TheCross Dresser spoke next.

    He is a young 20 something year old gay man who makesa living by being a female impersonator. He loves to get dressed up and go andsing and dance at local clubs and bachelor parties. While trying to make aliving he has to be concerned about his health since he was recently diagnosedwith the HIV virus. The Ski/Surfer Bum was an enjoyable guy. He is your typicalburnout, stoner whoms life would lose all meaning if he couldnt find theperfect wave or the steepest mountain.

    He is by no means unintelligent but hedoes like to smoke marijuana and have a good time. He is a jokester and loves tomake people laugh. The Alcoholic Wife-Beater came next. He is an out of workfactory worker who is too lazy to get up off his butt and go find another job tosupport his family. He is also a male chauvinist who expects his wife to be thebreadwinner while still taking care of the family, and all the house duties. Theonly way he knows how to vent out all his anger is by beating his wife andchildren.

    The Convenience Store Owner was next to speak. He has only been livingin American for a few months and works in the store until he can save enoughmoney up to bring the rest of his family over from Pakistan. Along with savingthe money he is trying to become an American citizen. He desperately tries tofit in and learn our culture and our history.

    His dream is to earn hiscitizenship and be reunited with his family so that together they can live outthe American Dream. The News Reporter was quite a talkative character. Sheresembled the TV personality Barbara Walters, from such shows as 20/20 and TheView, and she also happened to be her hero and mentor. She is an up and comingnews reporter and works at a local news studio in North Carolina. Her job as alocal anchor was just a temporary gig until she made her big break.

    Because shestill hadnt made it to the big times yet she was always out looking for theperfect news-story that will make her famous. That is what brought her to theshelter, she was sent to cover the story of the hurricane. Like her idolBarbara, she always was struggling to overcome her lisp. The Cult Leader was avery strange guy. He grew up in an average type of household.

    Both of hisparents were around and there for him whenever he need. He was never abused andwas provided with all the things he needed, but was not considered spoiled. Allthis normality got to him. In high school he started experimenting withwitchcraft and tried casting spells. Soon he moved on to bigger things and begansacrificing animals. He isnt the average type of person you would normallycome across; he is very twisted in his views.

    But besides that he seemed to beextremely intelligent and he felt that he was just trying something new and wasnot willing to go with the flow. The World War II Veteran came next. He willingserved his country and enjoyed every second of it. His family suffered from hisenjoyment of the military because he was never around to be there for them. Theywere forced to move from military base to military base whenever he gottransferred, which was quite often.

    After 30 years of service he was forced toretire, and he hated it. He spent his time reminiscing about his time spent inservice. He loved telling his grandchildren different stories about his pastexperiences. Although he gave off the impression of being a sweet old man, therewas something else there.

    He was very eccentric and was a firm believer thatmales were more superior to females. One of the final people to speak was theFleeing Mexican. He snuck across the border hoping to find a better life andemployment but all he got was trouble. The police caught up to him and are nowtrying to deport him back to Mexico. He was working here and sending money backto his family trying to help support them while he is away from home.

    The PoliceOfficer was last. He is known to be a jerk, and he never lets anyone off even onthe pettiest of crimes. He feels that you should be an upstanding citizen 24hours a day and never falter or make a mistake, but he also felt that he was notliable to follow these rules. He grew up in the Deep South and believed in whitesupremacy. Along with being racist he is also hateful towards many othersincluding gays and lesbians.

    His lifes ambition was to put all wrongdoersbehind bars or make them suffer, even if the law did not recognize it. I beingthe Host introduced myself last. I just explained that I was 25 years old and arecent graduate from New York University. I earned a business degree and now amemployed with an advertising agency.

    I live alone in a small but decentapartment in SoHo. I ended by explaining how I ended up in the shelter and wasable to meet such a group of diverse individuals. The Story The dark sedanpulled quietly up outside a comfortable family home in a small town called OakHills. The brick residence stood silent and dark in the early hours of themorning, looking much like the rest of the houses in the Hills.

    However, insidethis house lay the prosecution’s sole witness in the most important case in thehistory of the state. Without him, the trial could not go to court. His life wasin danger. Joel Granger stepped from of the car with two colleagues and thethree men made their way slowly and quietly to the boy’s bedroom window. Joelstood watch with his pistol at the ready.

    The FBI didn’t normally do this sortof thing, but in this case there was no other choice. His colleagues quicklysnatched the sleeping boy from his bed, covering his mouth, and threw him intothe waiting car. Joel stepped into the driver’s seat and eased the car off downthe road. The boy, Adam Martins had witnessed what was turning out to be themost important case in the state’s history, and after the FBI had uncovered theMafia link they were left with no choice but to take Adam into safety. Theypresumed that the Mafia was watching every move made by Adam and his family, andthe FBI couldn’t risk telling the boy’s mother or any other family members.

    Adamsat in the backseat, squeezed between two agents. He was confused, still halfasleep and luckily, very quiet. The dark car turned off the freeway and drovecarefully down what seemed to be an unused dirt road. They were taking Adam toan FBI safe house, to reduce the risk of being found. As the car turned a cornerand picked up speed, a shot was fired.

    The sound of a gunshot rang out throughthe trees. Joel looked in the back. The agent on the left side was leaning onAdam, and the other agent was frantically trying to move the body. Joel had noidea what to do, but he knew that he couldn’t take Adam to the safe house. Hesuddenly stepped on the brakes and spun the wheel. The car turned a full 180degrees and Joel stepped back on the accelerator.

    The car raced past the spotwhere the first shot was fired, hitting the second agent in the face, instantlykilling him. Once back on the freeway, Joel picked up his cellular phone andrang his boss. “We’ve got a leak. ” Joel spat out quickly, “We gotshot at. The other agents are dead, but the kid’s still alive.

    I’ve got to gethim somewhere fast. ” “OK, OK. Where are you taking him?” the bossasked. “I don’t want to say. Your phone could be bugged.

    Ring me back froma pay-phone. ” And Joel promptly hung up. The car turned slowly off thefreeway again and made its way quietly down a suburban street. Joel parkedoutside an old beaten-up house and carried Adam around the back.

    He forced openan old wooden door and carried Adam down the stairs to the basement. His cellphone rang. “Joel. That you?” It was the boss. “Yep.

    I’ve got thekid and I’m at my parent’s house. ” “What! It’s not safe!” Theboss said angrily. He trusted Joel, but Adam was a very important witness. “Don’t worry.

    I’m in the basement. They don’t even know I’m here. “Joel was calm now and had time to think. “OK, but keep it that way.

    “The boss said reluctantly. “We need the kid. No witness, no trial, you knowthe story. . .

    . Look, Joel. Get some sleep and I’ll come down tomorrow inperson. ” Sunlight shone through the vents along the east wall as Joel woketo answer the door.

    He was still dressed, but had been sleeping and was notfully alert. He opened the door and yawned. Before he had even closed his mouth,the assassin shot the silenced pistol, putting a large hole through Joel’s head. The assassin then stepped over the body and made his way to Adam, who wassleeping on the couch.

    He pulled a piece of nylon rope from his pocket andcompleted his mission. He then left the basement room as quietly as he hadarrived. No witness, no trial. Writing this paper allowed me to reach into mycreative side a produce a paper that I was to create a group of characters thatto me represented the American culture. Some of my characters I tended to baseon famous people, like the Barbara Walters news reporter. I felt that byincluding real people in my story I would be depicting a more realistic type ofcharacter that could be related to better because there would be something tocompare them to.

    Other characters were based on people that I have known, but Ichose not to tell their whole life story. Instead I chose a few differentmoments from throughout the years that I have had in contact with them, andcreated a character based on their life during a certain time period. Take forinstance the Hard Working Mother, that character is based on my own mother, butfrom ten years ago. During that time she had to work two jobs in order tosupport my brother and myself while trying to keep up with payments on thehouse.

    The rest of my characters were based on just general characteristics ofpeople that I may have seen in a movie or on TV or from the news. Each characterthat I put into this tale was meant to represent an average group of people, andall 25 characters together were hopefully meant to symbolize all the Americanpeople in general. Everyone is not meant to be able to relate to the entirepersonality of a character or just one character, you should be able to sharethe same traits with bits and pieces of a few characters. Hopefully those whoread this will be able to associate with some of my characters and connectdifferent aspects of their life and views with the ones I have created. Thereason I chose to tell a story from the point of view of the Hacker is because Ifelt that his lack of trust in people would be the easiest for me to tell astory about. He was the perfect character to have the lack of confidence inother because of his lifestyle and chosen hobby.

    The story I told I hope gaveoff the impression that there is a good reason behind not trusting people andrelying on them to keep your best interest at heart. The Hacker being anintelligent man and his ability to hack into certain websites like the FBI andCIA may have come across this in the form of a case. Maybe he just conjured thestory out of his head so that he could show the entire group his reasons for nottrusting friends or family or colleagues. Wherever he got the idea for the storyfrom the reasoning behind it was still the same. Although I tried to parallel mytale and the Canterbury Tales closely, it was hard to follow exactly. It wasdifficult to try and give backgrounds for 25 completely various people,personality traits, views, and past experiences.

    It was also tricky to try anddecide which information you should provide the reader and how that particularcharacter would react to it. All in all I hope that my creations of 25characters did for the most part describe American life, as it is known today inthe Twenty First Century. In time these people will change and a new CanterburyTales will have to be written in order to conform to that particular generation.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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