Symbolism Of Clothes In Canterbury Tales Writing Sample

Clothing in a literary work can serve as a detail that communicates certain information about the hero. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales are replete with detailed depictions of various characters’ wardrobes. At the same time, Chaucer’s numerous descriptions of clothing are equipped with varying artistic functions, serving special expressive purposes. The way people dress in The Canterbury Tales may reflect the psychology of the characters, represent their social characteristics, and also reliably depict England in the late Middle Ages.

Сlothing in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is reflecting social conditions and rules established in the late Middle Ages. Social inequality and the place of a person in society at that time was the subject of lively discussion. Chaucer was neutral on this issue, but he was still questioning the need for inequality between people (Rigby 206). The clothes in The Canterbury Tales seem as a reflection of belonging to a particular social circle. The description of the pilgrims in the prologue is a vivid example of how Chaucer brings together representatives of various social strata in one picture. The attire of the pilgrims is described in accordance with the actual fashion of these times, which gives us a faithful representation of the English medieval society. However, coarse wool items worn by some heroes, such as the Miller, also inform us of the low social status of these heroes, who cannot wear clothes from the more expensive fabrics. Therefore, the difference in the decoration of the heroes of different classes can be perceived as a veiled criticism of social inequality and the unfair distribution of wealth.

In addition to the social category, clothes in The Canterbury Tales should be perceived as a reflection of the moral side of the human soul. For example, it is known that women’s dresses at that time were supposed to be as unattractive for men as possible (Haan 76). In this context, it would be interesting to consider the image of the wife from Bath. Having been married five times, she is an extremely independent and domineering woman. Her defiant behavior is emphasized by the fact that she wears hose “of the finest scarlet red” (Chaucer 35) in order to seem brash and attractive to the opposite sex. The psychological portrait of a person in The Canterbury Tales is able to be presented through the outfit.

Clothing in Chaucer’s oeuvre can also serve as a symbol of deception, ethical disguise. For instance, the character of the Prioress expresses only an external desire for compassion and spiritual values, while in fact, she possesses all the manners of a sophisticated courtly aristocrat (Swami 304). Her style of dress reflects exactly this – she chooses the finest cloak for herself and flaunts her forehead, pinning a hairpin to her veil. Also, this contradiction within the psychology of the character can be viewed as “a perfect example” of the search for a true identity by a medieval woman (Swami 303). Attaching great importance to clothing, Chaucer emphasizes that appearance still can be deceiving.

In summary, Chaucer’s descriptions of clothing in The Canterbury Tales perform a variety of purposes. In addition to a clear description of the fashion of a bygone era, the reader gets an opportunity to better understand the psychology of the characters. Clothes worn by people in The Canterbury Tales can express not only the social status of their possessors but also their internal aspirations and inner contradictions.

Works Cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Translated by Nevill Coghill, Penguin Books, 2003.

Haan, Emily. “Expressions of Modesty in Costume.” Stellar Research Journal, vol. 12, 2018, pp. 75-86,

Rigby, Stephen H. “Ideology.” A New Companion to Chaucer, edited by Peter Brown, John Wiley & Sons, 2019. pp. 201-12.

Swami, Agrata. “Chaucer’s Prioress: A Representation of 14th Century Womanhood.” Smart Moves Journal IJELLH, vol. 5, no. 1, 2017, pp. 303-307,

Irony In The Necklace By Guy De Maupassant

The Necklace Irony: Introduction

Several types of irony were added in Maupassant’s story “The Necklace”. Each type performs its own function, but their complex application provides the greatest comedic effect. However, the irony in the story is used not only for comedic reasons. Maupassant applies this technique to show the main ideas of the story to readers. Indeed, how exactly the author uses irony might tell the audience about his attitude towards the heroes of the story. In addition, without the analyzed satirical technique, the plot of the story would have been much less unpredictable, while the goal of Maupassant was precisely to create such element of surprise. Thus, through the complex use of several varieties of irony Maupassant to achieve a comical effect, create an interesting plot solution and highlight the work’s concept.

The Types of Irony in The Necklace

There are four types of irony found in the text and essential for the current analysis. In the modern theory of literary criticism, more kinds of irony are known, but in the context of this study, it seems rational to dwell on these types only. These four varieties of irony found in the text thus include dramatic irony, situational irony, verbal irony, and structural irony.

Dramatic Irony in The Necklace

The point of the first kind of irony is dramatic irony; it happens when the readers know more than the heroes do. According to Milanowicz, “irony requires senders and recipients to be engaged” (16). Therefore, irony helps to convey information between the author and the reader. In the story “The Necklace”, it goes like this: the story of Mathilde is told from the perspective of an abstract narrator. The author chooses this type of narration on purpose, showing that Mathilde is unaware of how wrong she is in her beliefs. Despite the fact that “she had neither frocks not jewels” (Maupassant, 2012, p. 32), Mathilde is convinced that those things would bring her true happiness. She strives to be what she will never become, forgetting that one can be happy without insanely expensive jewelry and luxurious balls.

It can be assumed that the idea of the author here is that, in his opinion, those who cannot appreciate what they have should be punished. Indeed, according to the plot of the story, the punishment reaches the woman after she fulfills her philistine dream. If the reader will able to pay attention to this, then it could be considered that the use of irony helped the author to be correctly understood.

Situational Irony in The Necklace

The use of situational irony keeps the reader interested and elicits a serious emotional response that influences on how much the author’s idea will be imbued. In Maupassant’s “The Necklace», the use of such a technique turns the reader’s perception of what happened in the story upside down. Parvathi (2020) describes the process in this way – “the author sets up a scene one way, and then the opposite of what you might expect actually happens”.

The main heroine of “The Necklace”, Mathilde, spent ten years of her life repaying a debt for the necklace that turned out to be a fake. Such a dramatic change in the situation makes readers feel compassion for her. Although, the reader’s expectations are not met, he or she experiences an emotional catharsis that leads him or her to the renewal of perception. In many ways, this is exactly the result the author of the story wants to achieve. The reader then realizes that Maupassant is ironic about the situation in which Mathilde finds herself. The reader is not surprised by this position of the author, because now they are on the same page with the author. To sum up, the analyzed satirist technique not only helps the development of the plot, but also establishes a connection between the author and the reader.

Verbal Irony in The Necklace

The verbal irony in “The Necklace” demonstrates the contrast between what the characters say and what they really mean, which helps to get to know them better. Mathilde says that she will not go to the ball, since she does not have a suitable dress, while the reader is aware of how much she dreamed of such an offer all this time. The narrator notes how often the heroine thought about “large drawing rooms”, “graceful pieces of furniture” and other things that are associated with luxury lifestyle (Maupassant, 2012, p. 31). At this point, the reader discovers new character traits of the woman – her pride and integrity. She cannot imagine herself looking non-elegant at a lavish event; she is too dependent on the opinions of people of a higher social status than hers.

Verbal irony appears in the text when it is necessary to create a comic effect and indicate what is valuable to the characters. At the same time, Mathide’s husband admires the “good potpie” saying he “knows nothing better than that” (Maupassant, 2021, 32). This pie could never be compared with the delicious dishes served at the ball, and Mathilde’s husband himself understands this. However, adding such a line to the narrative creates a comedic effect, given the modest everyday life of the heroes’ home and by no means the modest ambitions of Mathilde. The ironically used phrases of the characters, hence, help the reader to trace what values are the most important for heroes, and how respectful they are to each other.

Structural Irony in The Necklace

In “The Necklace”, Maupassant also uses the technique of structural irony. The point of the technique is to mislead readers about the true state of affairs. When talking about irony, Muecke (2017) eloquently names it “double natured quasi-mythological beast” (12), which fully conveys the meaning of the term. Irony creates a sense of duality of what is happening. The reader feels that he cannot from now on be sure that what he perceives as real actually exists.

For example, the reader is overwhelmed by the fact that Mathilde and her husband have to work tirelessly for about ten years to pay off debts, but he or she knows that this happens because the lost necklace was incredibly expensive. However, the reader does not understand that the work of the heroes was a wasted effort; the fact that the necklace is a fake is told to him or her in the last lines of the story. Having learned about the new circumstances, presented in an ironic form, he or she can no longer perceive the heroes of the story and the story itself as before. This dualism of perception, largely, is the unique feature of irony used in the story.

The Necklace Irony: Conclusion

The analysis of the use of irony in the story make it possible to draw a number of conclusions. It should be noted that it is the complex use of several types of irony that makes it possible to fully implement the author’s idea. Through dramatic irony, a relationship is created between the author and the potential reader, which provides a more complete understanding of the work’s idea. Situational irony provokes the reader to empathize with the characters, which becomes possible thanks to the unexpected plot twist. Verbal irony reveals the personal qualities of the characters and it is important for understanding the main idea of “The Necklace”. Situational irony surprises the reader, he re-engages in the reading process and finally pays attention to important details scattered throughout the text. Therefore, each type of irony performs its own function, but the inclusion of several types of irony in the text at once ensures a complete and accurate perception of the text.


Maupassant, G. (2012). The Necklace and Other Short Stories. Dover Publications.

Milanowicz, A. (2019). A short etude on irony in storytelling. Psychology of Language and Communication, 23(1), 14-26.

Muecke, D.C. (2017). Irony and the ironic. Taylor and Francis. Parvathi, V. (2020). Irony and coincidence in the selected stories of O’ Henry. Journal for Research Scholars and Professionals of English Language Teaching, 4(19).

Effects Of Caffeine In Fetuses Or Pregnant Rats


Caffeine has been known to cause many deleterious effects starting from addiction to effects on the neurological development, skeletal development, and behavioral system of the offspring when the mother has consumed large quantities of it.

Having gone through the various literature on the subject, I have decided to replicate the steps taken by Daniel S. Grossier, Department of Pediatrics and Institute of Human Nutrition, College of Physicians and Surgeons, University of Columbia. I intend to draw my own conclusions on the subject of the effects of caffeinated coffee consumption on pregnant rats and the neurological development and behavioral abnormalities observed in the offspring of these pregnant rats and comparing the effects with a group of similar pregnant rats which would be given decaffeinated coffee and another group which would be consuming plain drinking water.

Caffeine has been shown to penetrate the blastocyst or developing cell of the fetus and also accumulate in the fetal liver and brain. In adult animals, caffeine influences the metabolism of various neurotransmitters. It appears possible that prenatal exposure to caffeine could affect the brain function of the offspring as the brain development is maximum in the prenatal stage. So changes in the development of the brain could have a lasting effect manifesting as long-lasting behavioral abnormalities. My intention is to report the results of my study conducted in the rat where possible behavioral changes consequent to the consumption of caffeine during Pregnancy would be seen in it and its offspring. The results could be correlated to the effects of high levels of caffeine consumption in human pregnancies.

Literary Review

Evidence has been found to suggest that caffeine could have deleterious effects on fetuses should their mothers consume large volumes of coffee during their pregnancies. Scientists at Carleton University, in their study on the subject in 1985, found that children born to mothers who consumed more than 300mg per day of coffee had a lower birth weight and smaller head circumference than those born to other mothers who did not have this habit. Large amounts of caffeine could also produce cardiac arrhythmias. (Effects on fetuses and newborn children, New World Encyclopaedia).

Another study by Lawson et al. found that women who used large amounts of coffee during their pregnancies also had the tendency to have miscarriages more than those who never used coffee in this period. The exact minimum toxic dosage of caffeine that could cause damage to the fetus has yet to be specified. Caffeine damages the DNA. It has the ability to inhibit two DNA-damage response proteins;

Ataxia-Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) and ATM-Rad50 Related (ATR). DNA damage frequently occurs in the dividing cells of the developing fetus. The two proteins control the cells’ ability to stop the cell cycle in the presence of damage like DNA single-double strand breaks and nucleotide dimerization (Effects on fetuses and newborn children, New World Encyclopaedia).

How does caffeine produce damage? It crosses over from the maternal blood into the fetal blood through the placenta. The caffeine could affect the fetal heart rate and breathing. Studies have been done which show that caffeine can cause premature birth and low birth weight. A study in 1988 showed that female infertility could be produced by an intake of 120-300 mg. of caffeine. However, a final conclusion could not be drawn as other variables were present. Caffeine has been found in breast milk.

Breastfeeding mothers had better leave caffeine off their diet. Neligh and Derby in 1994 conducted a study and decided that the amount of caffeine in less than 5 five-ounce cups of coffee are not a problem for breastfeeding mothers and babies. (Caffeine during Pregnancy,

In the 1983 Ottawa study at Carleton University, Canada, 286 pregnant women were studied. Researchers analyzed the total caffeine intake from all sources. In the first trimester, coffee accounted for 56%, tea 37%, while caffeinated drinks, chocolate bars, chocolate drinks, and caffeinated medications accounted for 7% of the total caffeine intake. 4% of the women consumed 100-300mg. Of coffee, while another 4% consumed more than 300mg. After statistically controlling for other potential factors, the most marked effect for the heavy caffeine users in this study was the reduced birth weight and smaller head circumference. The mean head circumferences of the babies of the heavy users were 1.1cm lesser than the head circumferences of the babies of the group, which used less than 300mg. Of coffee. The former measurements were 33.5 cm. and the latter was 34.6 cm. A decrease of the birth weight of the babies was seen in the heavy-user group. The birth weight reductions are more significant for preterm or small infants where thriving becomes a problem (Watson and Fried, Smaller Head Circumference, Low Birth Weight after 300mg. intake, 1985).

Interesting findings of Dr. Nehligh (Coffee and Caffeine During Pregnancy)ю

Dr. Astrid Nehligh summarized over 200 articles on the subject of coffee/caffeine and presented his findings in the 1994 Journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology. His assumptions are interesting. He stated that world coffee consumption was increasing.

A mean cup size of caffeinated coffee has about 90mg of caffeine and 65 mg for soluble instant coffee. Decaffeinated coffee only had 3mg. Of caffeine. 150ml. Of tea had 32-42mg.

Cola drinks had 16mg. The daily consumption ranges from 202-283 mg. in males and females between 20 and 75 years.

The half-life of caffeine ranges from 0.7-1.2 hours in rats and mice, 3-5 hours in the monkeys, and 2.5-6 hours in humans. In both humans and animals, during the neonatal period, due to the immaturity of liver enzymes, the half-life of the caffeine is increased. Half-lives of 40-130 hours are recorded from premature and newborn infants. They decrease rapidly to 14.4 hours in 3-5 month infants and 2.6 hours in 5-6 month infants.

Breastfed infants show a longer half-life than formula-fed.

Comparing results of drug administration, taking metabolic body weight as a correlating factor, he chalked up a few details. 20mg/kg body weight in the rat was found equivalent to 17 cups of coffee (at 100mg/cup) in a 70kg. Man. but only 4-6 cups when corrections are made.

In the monkey, spontaneous abortions and stillbirths have been recorded at two dosage levels. In humans, coffee and caffeine from other sources have caused abortions.

Caffeine or coffee intake has almost no association with prematurity; 11% may be attributed to smoking, 5% to alcohol, and only 2 % to coffee.

Absorption of caffeine has a vasoconstrictive effect on placental circulation.

Blood flow in the fetal vein is not affected, but the intervillous flow becomes less due to caffeine intake. The decreased blood flow with the increased concentration of noradrenaline released due to caffeine in the maternal blood can cause harmful risks to the fetus.

Studies have shown that caffeine accumulates in the brain of the fetus. Caffeine concentration in the fetal rat is found to be higher in the brain than in the placenta.

Some studies indicate that exposure of female rats to caffeine (0.04% in drinking water) in Pregnancy produces a greater loss in brain weight than body weight. This point has been indicated in the study by Tanaka et al. (1987) also.

When rats absorb 10-20mg/kg day of caffeine, cerebral concentrations are lower at birth. Modifications are seen in the cerebral concentrations of catecholamines, tyrosine, tryptophan, serotonin, 5-hydroxy indole acetic acid, and cyclic nucleotides in the brain of 1-35 day old rats. These result in behavioral abnormalities like hypoactivity during the development period.

Early caffeine exposure, even if in low doses, tend to produce neurochemical changes causing deficits involving the constructive material like the DNA and RNA and the functional material like the neurotransmitters and ions.

Offspring of female rats exposed to 60-100mg/kg caffeine in their drinking water all through gestation have deficits in learning capacities. Their learning capacity is reduced in a new environment. These affected offspring spend less time playing and touching in an open field.

A study by Yakoubi et al. (2000) indicated that the stimulant effect of caffeine on the locomotor function in mice was attributed to the antagonism of the adenosine A1 and A2A receptors.

Caffeine has a biphasic effect. At low doses, stimulation, and at high doses, depression is seen. The results of the study suggested that the stimulant action took place at the receptor A2A and the depressive action at the A1 (Yakoubi et al., 2000).

Research Methodology

Sixty healthy rats of the Sprague-Dawley variety (Holtzman strain, Holtzman Co., Madison) would be selected for the study. Rats are weighing 240-260gms. Would be kept at standard laboratory conditions and fed a standard diet (Ralston Purina Co., St. Louis, MO). The animals would be mated just after being brought to the laboratory. The period of gestation would be counted from the day spermatozoa appear in the vaginal smears.

Twenty pregnant rats would be fed caffeinated coffee instead of drinking water from day one of gestation. Twenty would be fed decaffeinated coffee only. 20 would be the control group to be fed on drinking water only. No other fluids would be provided for these rats.

All would be fed unrestricted quantities of the same diet. The animals would be kept in separate cages. Body weight gain, fluid intake, and food intake would be measured daily.

The caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees would be prepared fresh daily using a Dripolator. The caffeine content of several samples would be determined on different days to recognize the caffeine content in the caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated one.

(Literature has shown that the caffeine content in caffeinated coffee drunk normally is 0.85mg/ml. while decaffeinated coffee has only 0.03mg/ml.)

Delivery of the rats would be watched out for. About 2-3 hours after delivery, their drink would be replaced by normal water. The newborns would be weighed, and each litter would be left with ten pups each. The extra pups would be randomly selected and killed. The brain and liver weights would be recorded. For the first 21 days of lactation, the other pups would not be separated from the dams. All would be feeding on drinking water and no coffee. The litters would not be disturbed. After 21 days, the pups would be separated and caged in groups of 4 animals, two males and two females, until they were 30 days of age. The cages would be placed in the behavioral test room on the 31st day. The animals would be weighed, and behavior in an open field would be observed.

For the two days of the test, they would be in separate cages and fed a standard laboratory diet.


The results are to be derived and presented to complete the thesis. The parameters for achieving the results would be based on the following data: fluid intake, food intake, maternal weight gain, litter size of the pups, neonatal mortality, postnatal mortality, birth weight of pups, a ratio of liver weight to birth weight of the killed ones and ratio of brain weight to body weight. Gross congenital anomalies would be looked out for. The comparisons of the weights of the dams at different stages of their laboratory life would be studied. The behavior of the pups in the open field regarding locomotion, grooming time, and time spent with a novel object (the table) would be studied. Comparison among the three groups would help me draw appropriate conclusions about the effect of caffeine on pregnant rats and their offspring, and hopefully, the results may be interpreted for human beings. I would be using comparison charts derived from my data.


I hope to make appropriate inferences from the comparison between the three groups of pregnant rats. How much and if the caffeine has interfered with the outcome of pregnancies and the behavior of the offspring would be decided towards the end of the study. Whether it was the caffeine or some other factors which caused the outcome would form part of the discussion.


Caffeine During Pregnancy, Web.

Effects on fetuses and newborn children. Web.

Glossier, Daniel S.; “Coffee Consumption During Pregnancy: Subsequent behavioral abnormalities”, Journal of Nutrition, 1982, Vol. 112, Pgs 829-832.

Neligh, Astrid; Coffee and Caffeine during Pregnancy, Journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 1994. Web.

Tanaka H. et al., “ Effects of Maternal Caffeine Ingestion on the perinatal cerebrum”, Biology Neonate, 1987, Vol 51(6), pgs 332-339, Department of Health and Human Studies.

Yakubu, Malika el; “The stimulant effects of caffeine on locomotor behaviour of mice are mediated through its blockade of adenosine A2A receptors”, British Journal of Pharmacology , 2000, Vol 129 , pgs 1465-1473.

Watkinson, B and Fried, P.A.; Smaller Head Circumference, Low Birth Weight after 300mg.intake in “Maternal Caffeine Use Before, During and After Pregnancy and Effects Upon Offspring”, Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology, Vol. 7:9-17.