Canterbury Tales

Themes

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 York
City. 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
a violent and unpredictable storm was about to overtake the city, but there were
still some who didnt 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 a
different 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 all
taking 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 see
who 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 tale
the 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 to
each 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 the
low-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 a
little 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. Her
need 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 the
best 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, he
was never able to receive much privacy and we will just say that his family was
very 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 familys
attic. After failing at his life-long dream of being a NASCAR pit crew worker
after a freak accident involving a tractor trailer where he severely mangled his
hand, 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 into
the worlds most prestigious computer programs. Along with hacking he has a side
hobby of creating and designing deadly computer viruses in hopes to one day ruin
the entire world computer system. He is a very secretive and anti-social type of
man. He has never had real friends, just random acquaintances from work or
school. His type of work requires total secrecy so he does not get caught
therefore he trusts no one. The Millionaire was a unique individual, and spoke
next. He had the privilege of being born into money and he carried on the
tradition and took over daddys corporate office and continued to make his own
millions. At home in one of his several mansions he has a wife and two children
whom he hardly knows. Because of his lack of contribution towards his family
life his children dont know him and he and his wife have a non-existent
marriage. 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 to
take care of herself and is unable to understand the concept of hard work. The
only way she knows how to survive is by constantly bearing children so she can
receive a larger welfare check each month. Currently she rents a 2-bedroom shack
and shares it with her out-of-work boyfriend. She currently has 11 children and
just keeps popping them out in order to get her check every month. Next is the
Conceited Athletic Hero. Hes the type of guy who is too good to sign
autographs for small children who marvel at him and would rather pretend that
they didnt exist. His father instilled in him that sports and winning were
everything and that if you didnt bring him a trophy you would be ostracized
from the family. He doesnt love or even enjoy the sport he is playing; rather
he just does it to get the paycheck each week. He has the garage full of
expensive cars, the beautiful wife (whom he cheats on) and a plethora of
gorgeous houses. Since his life was empty and he had very little to life for, he
chose to turn to drugs and alcohol to drain his sorrows. The Beauty Queen came
next. She was like many other self-centered beauty queens, whose life consisted
of being obsessed with winning beauty contests. The first contest she entered
when she was two was the Beautiful Baby Contest, and she won. From then on her
stage-mother continued training her since a baby. She instilled upon her the
values and standards that winning is everything and that losing was just not
acceptable. She has never been able to stand up to her mom and always dreamt of
the day when she can escape from her grasps. Her dream was to run away to
Hollywood and become a famous actress and marry an actor. The day finally came
but instead of going out to Hollywood she came to New York City. She defiantly
did 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. The
Hard-Working Father seemed like a very sweet guy. He has a wife and three
children whom he loves unconditional and will do anything for. He enjoys his job
as a high school principal and makes a substantial living. And no average
American family complete without the family dog, Rocky. The Over-Driven Career
Woman came next. She has scrambled to the top in the era where Title IX was just
becoming popular, and has now made herself one of the corporate presidents at a
prestigious law firm. She has never been married nor has any real friends and
hasnt been on a vacation in 13 years. Instead she fills her life with work
and more work, never stopping to enjoy life. The Drug Dealer was the next to
speak. He was born and raised on the streets, never knowing whom his real father
was. His mother abandoned him when he was 5, and after living with foster
families till the age of 15, he decided to go off on his own. Unable to make a
real living he turned to drugs. Eventually he was able to gather enough money to
rent a rat-infested apartment in a ghetto neighborhood. His popularity was known
around town as the man who could get anything. This guy wasnt a good Sumerian
and was always having run-ins with the police. Not only did he receive his
earnings from dealing drugs he also was a thief and frequently robbed apartment
buildings 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 the
sleaziest of them all, getting everything he needs by cheating, stealing and
lying. Never in his life has he done something the honest way. On the outside he
looks like an honest hardworking man who is willing to devote his life to
politics, but inside he is cold-hearted just waiting for his chance to take over
and destroy the world. The College Student was a very cocky girl. She feels that
she knows everything in the world and is superior to everyone around her. Her
life consists of studying, partying, and drinking and not much else. While her
studies are important she would rather experience the other side of school
first, being that she already knows everything there is to know. She looks down
upon people in general and takes every chance she gets to put people down. The
Hard Working Mother is next. She is very strong and extremely determined to make
something of her life. Her life had been hard from the beginning but she just
takes things as they come. She married young, had two children and then quickly
got divorced. He ex-husband was a deadbeat and was unwilling to pay child
support or alimony payments. All she got out of the divorce was the house, but
she had no skills and no education to help her secure a job. She is stuck
working two dead-end jobs to trying to keep up with her mortgage payments while
putting food on the table and clothes on her kids backs. The Feminist was
next. She spends her life fighting for all womens rights issues and equal
opportunity, on top of which she is also a man hater. She lives with her lover
of 3 years who also has dedicated her life to fighting for womans rights. The
Cross Dresser spoke next. He is a young 20 something year old gay man who makes
a living by being a female impersonator. He loves to get dressed up and go and
sing and dance at local clubs and bachelor parties. While trying to make a
living he has to be concerned about his health since he was recently diagnosed
with the HIV virus. The Ski/Surfer Bum was an enjoyable guy. He is your typical
burnout, stoner whoms life would lose all meaning if he couldnt find the
perfect wave or the steepest mountain. He is by no means unintelligent but he
does like to smoke marijuana and have a good time. He is a jokester and loves to
make people laugh. The Alcoholic Wife-Beater came next. He is an out of work
factory worker who is too lazy to get up off his butt and go find another job to
support his family. He is also a male chauvinist who expects his wife to be the
breadwinner while still taking care of the family, and all the house duties. The
only way he knows how to vent out all his anger is by beating his wife and
children. The Convenience Store Owner was next to speak. He has only been living
in American for a few months and works in the store until he can save enough
money up to bring the rest of his family over from Pakistan. Along with saving
the money he is trying to become an American citizen. He desperately tries to
fit in and learn our culture and our history. His dream is to earn his
citizenship and be reunited with his family so that together they can live out
the American Dream. The News Reporter was quite a talkative character. She
resembled the TV personality Barbara Walters, from such shows as 20/20 and The
View, and she also happened to be her hero and mentor. She is an up and coming
news reporter and works at a local news studio in North Carolina. Her job as a
local anchor was just a temporary gig until she made her big break. Because she
still hadnt made it to the big times yet she was always out looking for the
perfect news-story that will make her famous. That is what brought her to the
shelter, she was sent to cover the story of the hurricane. Like her idol
Barbara, she always was struggling to overcome her lisp. The Cult Leader was a
very strange guy. He grew up in an average type of household. Both of his
parents were around and there for him whenever he need. He was never abused and
was provided with all the things he needed, but was not considered spoiled. All
this normality got to him. In high school he started experimenting with
witchcraft and tried casting spells. Soon he moved on to bigger things and began
sacrificing animals. He isnt the average type of person you would normally
come across; he is very twisted in his views. But besides that he seemed to be
extremely intelligent and he felt that he was just trying something new and was
not willing to go with the flow. The World War II Veteran came next. He willing
served his country and enjoyed every second of it. His family suffered from his
enjoyment of the military because he was never around to be there for them. They
were forced to move from military base to military base whenever he got
transferred, which was quite often. After 30 years of service he was forced to
retire, and he hated it. He spent his time reminiscing about his time spent in
service. He loved telling his grandchildren different stories about his past
experiences. Although he gave off the impression of being a sweet old man, there
was something else there. He was very eccentric and was a firm believer that
males were more superior to females. One of the final people to speak was the
Fleeing Mexican. He snuck across the border hoping to find a better life and
employment but all he got was trouble. The police caught up to him and are now
trying to deport him back to Mexico. He was working here and sending money back
to his family trying to help support them while he is away from home. The Police
Officer was last. He is known to be a jerk, and he never lets anyone off even on
the pettiest of crimes. He feels that you should be an upstanding citizen 24
hours a day and never falter or make a mistake, but he also felt that he was not
liable to follow these rules. He grew up in the Deep South and believed in white
supremacy. Along with being racist he is also hateful towards many others
including gays and lesbians. His lifes ambition was to put all wrongdoers
behind bars or make them suffer, even if the law did not recognize it. I being
the Host introduced myself last. I just explained that I was 25 years old and a
recent graduate from New York University. I earned a business degree and now am
employed with an advertising agency. I live alone in a small but decent
apartment in SoHo. I ended by explaining how I ended up in the shelter and was
able to meet such a group of diverse individuals. The Story The dark sedan
pulled quietly up outside a comfortable family home in a small town called Oak
Hills. The brick residence stood silent and dark in the early hours of the
morning, looking much like the rest of the houses in the Hills. However, inside
this house lay the prosecution’s sole witness in the most important case in the
history of the state. Without him, the trial could not go to court. His life was
in danger. Joel Granger stepped from of the car with two colleagues and the
three men made their way slowly and quietly to the boy’s bedroom window. Joel
stood watch with his pistol at the ready. The FBI didn’t normally do this sort
of thing, but in this case there was no other choice. His colleagues quickly
snatched the sleeping boy from his bed, covering his mouth, and threw him into
the waiting car. Joel stepped into the driver’s seat and eased the car off down
the road. The boy, Adam Martins had witnessed what was turning out to be the
most important case in the state’s history, and after the FBI had uncovered the
Mafia link they were left with no choice but to take Adam into safety. They
presumed that the Mafia was watching every move made by Adam and his family, and
the FBI couldn’t risk telling the boy’s mother or any other family members. Adam
sat in the backseat, squeezed between two agents. He was confused, still half
asleep and luckily, very quiet. The dark car turned off the freeway and drove
carefully down what seemed to be an unused dirt road. They were taking Adam to
an FBI safe house, to reduce the risk of being found. As the car turned a corner
and picked up speed, a shot was fired. The sound of a gunshot rang out through
the trees. Joel looked in the back. The agent on the left side was leaning on
Adam, and the other agent was frantically trying to move the body. Joel had no
idea what to do, but he knew that he couldn’t take Adam to the safe house. He
suddenly stepped on the brakes and spun the wheel. The car turned a full 180
degrees and Joel stepped back on the accelerator. The car raced past the spot
where the first shot was fired, hitting the second agent in the face, instantly
killing him. Once back on the freeway, Joel picked up his cellular phone and
rang his boss. “We’ve got a leak.” Joel spat out quickly, “We got
shot at. The other agents are dead, but the kid’s still alive. I’ve got to get
him somewhere fast.” “OK, OK. Where are you taking him?” the boss
asked. “I don’t want to say. Your phone could be bugged. Ring me back from
a pay-phone.” And Joel promptly hung up. The car turned slowly off the
freeway again and made its way quietly down a suburban street. Joel parked
outside an old beaten-up house and carried Adam around the back. He forced open
an old wooden door and carried Adam down the stairs to the basement. His cell
phone rang. “Joel. That you?” It was the boss. “Yep. I’ve got the
kid and I’m at my parent’s house.” “What! It’s not safe!” The
boss said angrily. He trusted Joel, but Adam was a very important witness.

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“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 know
the story…. Look, Joel. Get some sleep and I’ll come down tomorrow in
person.” Sunlight shone through the vents along the east wall as Joel woke
to answer the door. He was still dressed, but had been sleeping and was not
fully 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 was
sleeping on the couch. He pulled a piece of nylon rope from his pocket and
completed his mission. He then left the basement room as quietly as he had
arrived. No witness, no trial. Writing this paper allowed me to reach into my
creative side a produce a paper that I was to create a group of characters that
to me represented the American culture. Some of my characters I tended to base
on famous people, like the Barbara Walters news reporter. I felt that by
including real people in my story I would be depicting a more realistic type of
character that could be related to better because there would be something to
compare them to. Other characters were based on people that I have known, but I
chose not to tell their whole life story. Instead I chose a few different
moments from throughout the years that I have had in contact with them, and
created a character based on their life during a certain time period. Take for
instance the Hard Working Mother, that character is based on my own mother, but
from ten years ago. During that time she had to work two jobs in order to
support my brother and myself while trying to keep up with payments on the
house. The rest of my characters were based on just general characteristics of
people that I may have seen in a movie or on TV or from the news. Each character
that I put into this tale was meant to represent an average group of people, and
all 25 characters together were hopefully meant to symbolize all the American
people in general. Everyone is not meant to be able to relate to the entire
personality of a character or just one character, you should be able to share
the same traits with bits and pieces of a few characters. Hopefully those who
read this will be able to associate with some of my characters and connect
different aspects of their life and views with the ones I have created. The
reason I chose to tell a story from the point of view of the Hacker is because I
felt that his lack of trust in people would be the easiest for me to tell a
story about. He was the perfect character to have the lack of confidence in
other because of his lifestyle and chosen hobby. The story I told I hope gave
off the impression that there is a good reason behind not trusting people and
relying on them to keep your best interest at heart. The Hacker being an
intelligent man and his ability to hack into certain websites like the FBI and
CIA may have come across this in the form of a case. Maybe he just conjured the
story out of his head so that he could show the entire group his reasons for not
trusting friends or family or colleagues. Wherever he got the idea for the story
from the reasoning behind it was still the same. Although I tried to parallel my
tale and the Canterbury Tales closely, it was hard to follow exactly. It was
difficult to try and give backgrounds for 25 completely various people,
personality traits, views, and past experiences. It was also tricky to try and
decide which information you should provide the reader and how that particular
character would react to it. All in all I hope that my creations of 25
characters did for the most part describe American life, as it is known today in
the Twenty First Century. In time these people will change and a new Canterbury
Tales will have to be written in order to conform to that particular generation.