Joan Chamberlain Englesmans Story The Queens Cloak English Literature Essay

I had read a brief, one sentence description of Joan Chamberlain Englesman ‘s narrative, The Queen ‘s Cloak ( 1994 ) about two old ages ago and was haunted by the images it stirred in my psyche. A Queen, non a princess, in midlife, unknoting her narrative, and have oning a charming mantle made by manus. I was in midlife and was sing the value of stating my ain narrative and happening my personal mythos. Additionally, I am a quilter and I knew firsthand the ecstasy of being wrapped in a cloud of cloth, the satisfaction of a tidy stitch, and the power of colour and image. Weaving and unraveling, run uping and rending, I was really familiar with the adhering power of yarn. And in conclusion, I knew that as a middle-aged adult female, I was sing a degree of personal and professional growing unlike any I had of all time experienced in my early maturity. I now felt like a adult queen, and I was rubing to sew my ain beautiful queen ‘s mantle. It was in that minute that the workshop was born.

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The workshop is presented in its entireness in Chapter III, with press releases and other pertinent stuff available in the appendices. It is preceded by a reappraisal of the literature in Chapter II, which provides the back uping principle for the subjects and picks of the workshop. I use the words cloak and mantle interchangeably as both mean long, cape-like garments.

The Queen ‘s Mantle workshop was created for adult females in midlife. It provided a clip and topographic point apart from the ordinary universe, a sacred infinite if you will, where they could research and observe their lives. In the workshop we examined what a Queen is for ourselves and for our civilization. We reviewed our lives by stating our life narrative, and found our steering personal mythos. We entered into a closer and more witting relationship with our ain wisdom. We found or created images that were meaningful to our lives and incorporated them into cloth. Finally, utilizing these images, we created mantles as a symbol of our authorization and jubilation of our Queendom. The mantle is a actual fiction of an person ‘s personal myth ; one in which she can wrap herself up. By wearing the mantle, she steps into the Queen original cloaked in the authorization of her life.

Steering Purpose


Rollo May ( 1991 ) notes that modern civilization lacks myths and rites that give significance to a adult female ‘s life apart from her relationship to others. I think that encompassing the Queen original is necessary for a adult female at midlife to claim, like the Greek grain goddess, Demeter, her ain beginning and individuality.

Demeter hid out as a nanny in a affluent family, while she grieved for her girl, Persephone, kidnapped by the underworld God, Hades. At some point, she tires of the camouflage and decides it is clip for the persons and Gods to cognize her true nature. She reveals herself as the powerful goddess she is, and reclaims the award and authorization due her — non as a female parent, married woman, or consort, but as a crowned head being ( Foley, 1994 ) . The workshop was designed to specify and ritualise that same minute in life for midlife adult females.

In a igniter, more modern-day vena, a similar minute occurs in the film, Fried Green Tomatoes ( Avnet, 1991 ) , when Evelyn, the middle-aged character played by Kathy Bates, is beat out of a parking infinite that she had been patiently waiting for by two immature adult females in a Volkswagen Beetle. When she protests, they taunt her with, “ We ‘re younger and we ‘re quicker! ” She stews a minute, so yells, “ Queen Tawanda! ! ” and stairss on the gas crashing into their small auto. When the immature adult females squeal in discouragement, a cool Evelyn says, “ I ‘m older and I ‘ve got more insurance, ” and merrily drives off. The Queen in her character woke up and made her presence known. Queen Tawanda, so.

Narratives and Myths

To claim sovereignty, we have to cognize who we are. To cognize who we are, we have to state our narrative. “ Story makes possible ways of seeing/thinking that do non interpret into other formal lingual or rational systemsaˆ¦ . Our being is in our narratives ” ( Sexson in Noel, 1994. p. 136 ) . Narrative and image are the footing of our linguistic communication and civilization ( Noel, 1994 ) .

Christine Downing ( 1981 ) says that we personally need images and myths to see who we are and what we might go. For Carl Jung, happening our life ‘s myth is an indispensable portion of the 2nd half of life. A personal myth seeks to foster the ignored facets of one ‘s personality. It serves to open grownups up to their unconscious ( Segal, 1998 ) . In his novel, Joseph and His Brothers, Thomas Mann writes, “ Myth is the garment of enigma ” ( quoted in May, 1991, p.73 ) . On our journey to wholeness, myths can assist uncover the significance behind our life ‘s narratives, and handicraft can assist incarnate the myths.

Making of Mantles

“ We are a package of metaphors, skandhas, skeins of togss — texts, sutras, suras, lines, string, strands, [ and ] narrations ” ( Sexson in Noel, 1990. p. 136 ) . Yarn, thread, whirling, weaving, and storytelling are all intertwined images in our linguistic communication. To state a narration or whirl a narrative is to state a narrative. To state our narrative and weave it into cloth is an ancient tradition. Quiltmaking entirely has a long, rich history full of community, creativeness, and storytelling. Womans have been eulogising lives in cloth for centuries. The ties that bind adult females to fabric and weave are deep and can enrich the mythmaking procedure. The charming, protective cloak has long been a popular component in myths and faery narratives, along with the donning of a garment to ritualise a alteration in position. The ritual of doing a Queen ‘s Mantle connects the adult females to their ain enigmas and traditions, in add-on to their ain narrative. Workshop participants were encouraged to convey in images, narratives, and personal memorabilia such as letters, exposures, drawings, sheepskin, or journal pages to be transferred to fabric for usage in making their mantle.


Workshops to research one ‘s narrative and personal mythology have been developed by several persons and squads of people during the last decennary. They use many tools to assist incarnate the myths: authorship, storytelling, collaging, ceremonial, ritual, and mask devising. In David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner ‘s The Mythic Path ( 1997 ) , they offer instructions in doing a personal shield from the Native American traditions. Sam Keen, with Anne Valley-Fox, in their book, Your Mythic Journey ( 1989 ) , and Patricia Montgomery in her book, Mythmaking ( 1994 ) , have developed workshops based on researching personal narratives and myths through authorship. Stephen Larsen in his Mythic Imagination ( 1996 ) offers ritual and mask-making. Edith Wallace in her A Queen ‘s Quest ( 1990 ) offers montage as a medium. In Wallace ‘s position, the montages “ take us a measure deeper and go on the narrative ” ( p. 4 ) .

In developing my workshop, I have used two research methods, heuristic and phenomenological. Heuristic research refers to a procedure of internal geographic expedition through which one discovers the nature and significance of experience for oneself, and develops methods and processs for farther probe and analysis ( Moustakas, 1986 ) . It is founded on the construct of Tacit Knowing ; that we can cognize more than we can state ( Moustakas, 1986 ) . We are able to feel the integrity or integrity of something from an apprehension of its single parts. Knowledge attained through tacit, intuitive or ascertained experience, is deepened through self-contemplation, concentrating, self-searching or duologue with others ( Moustakas, 1986 ) . The Queen original resonates with me on a deep degree, and reflects my ain personal experience. I have let my experience with myth, storytelling and handcrafting inform my geographic expedition.

In add-on to the heuristic method, I besides employed a phenomenological method. Phenomenology is concerned with the survey of experience from the position of the person, based on subjectiveness, and stressing the importance of personal experience and reading. Phenomenological methods are peculiarly effectual at disputing normative premises and conventional wisdom ( Moustakas, 1994 ) . I used this method for two grounds. The first is that I wanted to establish it on the existent experience of midlife adult females, and non on current constructs of what midlife is like. The 2nd is that I wanted to utilize the workshop experience of my co-researchers to see if the techniques and geographic expeditions I chose work within the ends of the workshop.


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