Critical thinking logs offer an opportunity to explore the readings, delve deeper into ideas, and generate ideas for the essays. Each critical thinking log is worth 25 points.  Critical thinking log 1 focuses on the Old English readings we have done, including the riddles, “Dream of the Rood,” “Cuchullain’s Boyhood Deeds,” and Beowulf.

Instructions: Select a writing prompt and in two full pages, write a mini-essay in the M.L.A. style. See the set-up section below for more detailed instructions.


  • No introduction is needed. Instead, at the top of the page, provide a one to two sentence thesis that lists out two main points about the literature.
  • Your mini-essay should have two arguable body paragraphs.
  • Each body paragraph should include one to two quotes from the reading and analysis that explains how the quotes support your points. Aim for four sentences of analysis per quote.
  • No conclusion is required. 

Prompt options:

  1. Discuss how one of the works we have read navigates the cultural dynamic between paganism and Christianity. How are both paganism and Christianity depicted in the work and what subtle messages are being communicated in those depictions?
  • Compare and contrast two of the heroes you have read about in this unit. What is the significance of their similarities and differences?
  • Anglo-Saxon riddles defamiliarize the familiar. Discuss how the riddles do this, and then compare Anglo-Saxon defamiliarization to a modern work.
  • Discuss the ritualistic nature of battle in one of the Old English works and compare that style of battle code to another battle culture from anywhere in the world.
  • Trace the growth of one of the characters in one of the Old English texts we have read. How does the character grow from his current state to a greater one? Are there any symbolic acts that contribute to this growth?

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