ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Canterbury Tales: Exploring Hodges' "Reading Griselda's Smock in The Clerk's Tale."

Updated on September 12, 2013

Annotation on Hodges's Interpretation of the Smock

In the article, “Reading Griselda’s Smocks in the Clerk’s Tale,” Hodges claims that by examining Chaucer’s smock imagery through supplemental resources based upon medieval culture and literature, the reader will obtain a much greater and deeper understanding of its importance. Within the Clerk’s Tale, Griselda’s social status changes from one extreme to the other and back again. Hodges focuses on the significance of these costume changes through Chaucer’s “costume rhetoric” and “smock imagery,” supplementing her observations with historical information on the smock through time, and as it appears in other medieval literature.

Hodges begins her article with a brief history and explanation of the smock, defining it as an undergarment worn closest to the body. From this simple foundation, she goes on to explain that the smock was a staple in the wardrobe through the ages, and it is referenced in literary works often marking social status depending upon fabric and attention to detail. She explains that ornate smocks made from silk and ornamented with fringe were an obvious distinction of the upper class, while the lower class would wear smocks made of plain linen or even hemp.


As Hodges begins to explore the significance of the different smocks worn by Griselda throughout the Clerk’s Tale, Hodges makes it clear that a major reason they stand out in the story is because Chaucer, despite the garments importance to the plot, doesn’t dwell or elaborate on them. Instead, he expects his audience to be “clothes-conscious,”— as commented by Carolyn Dinshaw in Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics — and, as such, be able to easily distinguish a plain linen smock (worn by a peasant) from a detailed silk cloth (worn by noble ladies) (92). A woman’s manner of dress matched her social status and throughout the Clerk’s Tale, Griselda’s clothes clearly embodied those status changes. Hodges references the essay “ The Evolution of the Clerk’s Tale: A Study of Connotation,”— by Kellogg — when she comments that Griselda’s fortune is illustrated by her costume change from “rude to courtly,” reinforcing her observation that each smock is very symbolic (100).

In her essay, Hodges takes the reader through each costume change Griselda undergoes during the Clerk’s Tale and explains its significance to the story, while commenting on the importance of Chaucer’s "smock imagery." Hodges believes that readers must utilize knowledge of other medieval visual arts and literature to get a full understanding and illustration of each of Griselda’s smocks in the Clerk’s Tale.

Works Cited

Hodges, Laura. "Reading Griselda's Smock in The Clerk's Tale." Chaucer Review 44(2009): 84-109.



Have you read the Clerk's Tale?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)