Dr. Heather Hill-Vásquez, Department of English, University of Detroit Mercy


ENL 320

Study Questions - Anchoress


1. Respond to and analyze the film's use of various sounds, sights, and/or textures. What do these sounds, sights, and/or textures say about religious experience? How does the film make them into something other than everyday sounds, sights, textures, etc.--and why?


2. Christine first encounters the stature of the Virgin Mary in a field before it is delivered to the church. How and why is this first encounter significant?


3. Compare and analyze the different responses--including the priest's--to Christine's theft of and gift of the apples to the Virgin Mary and her statue.


4. Compare the scene of Christine sleeping in the church with the scene of her sleeping at home with her family. What themes and ideas do these two scenes suggest when they are compared? How does the film continue to explore these themes and ideas?


5. Describe and analyze the reaction of Christine's mother to Christine's decision to become an anchoress.


6. Why, in contrast to her mother, is the priest so eager to have Christine become an anchoress? What role does Christine seem to play for the priest? How is he beneficial to her? How is she beneficial to him?


7. Why do you think Christine decides to become an anchoress? How do her desires change and/or develop as the film progresses? Do you still consider her a mystic or holy figure by the end of the film?


8. What role does Christine seem to play in her community once she becomes an anchoress? Is this role reconcilable with her spiritual devotion and her role as a mystic specially touched by God and the Virgin Mary?


9. Compare and analyze the experiences of Christine's sister with those of Christine.


10. Describe and analyze the conflict between Christine and the priest over the scenes she embroiders on the altar cloth.


11. Why does the priest decide to accuse Christine's mother of witchery? (Consider, too, your response to 6 above.) Describe and analyze the conflicts between the priest and Christine's mother. What do these conflicts suggest about women's lives in medieval society? about the medieval Church's opinions of women and their roles, etc.?


12. Why and how does Christina choose to escape from her cell?


13. Describe and analyze the rather cryptic final scene of the film.


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