Thursday, March 19, 2015

R+J = Love. Not!

   Special blog post from The Kid sharing her thoughts on Romeo and Juliet.
If I were Juliet, this play would’ve been a lot shorter. Juliet was unimpressed with Romeo's antics, the end.
             There are several things wrong with this story, here are three of them: they got married within less than 24 hours of knowing each other, they were too young, and they were the royalty of overreaction.
              My first complaint is they got married within 24 hours of meeting. Then, to make matters worse, they got married in secret because their families, Juliet belonging to the Capulet house and Romeo to Montague, were mortal enemies. In modern times, we would just call that a bad weekend in Vegas. But alas, their stupidity doesn’t end there.
              Juliet was 13. I’m 12 and I don’t even like the same book I liked last week let alone be capable of forming a lasting familial bond with another human. Teenagers are fickle creatures. Their brains are not ready for that kind of decision-making. We go to our other interesting character, Romeo, who was ready to kill himself over Rosalind. Romeo, Romeo, why art thou so emo? He was capricious enough to never love again after Rosaline, yet she was forgotten entirely after seeing Juliet.
              How does one deal with their love being banished from their home city? Overreaction. Okay, technically Juliet was pretending to be dead to avoid being married to Paris, but that in of itself wasn’t the best way to handle that situation either. But then, Romeo ups the ante by convincing the apothecary to sell him illegal poison. To kill himself. Why? Because it totally makes sense to sneak into the cemetery and drink the Flavor Aid atop your beloved’s corpse. Then Juliet awakens to find dying Romeo, being the rational teenager that she is, drives a dagger through her heart. Well done you two, you’ve solved the family feud but you won’t be around to benefit from it. All in the name of love. 3 whole days of love. I don’t know about you, but I think this story gives Twilight a run for its money for being the worst love story ever. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shakespeare For The Reluctant

...and possibly questionable parenting.

The Kid is 12 now, but lets face it, even some adults have trouble wrapping their mind around the antiquated language that comes with The Bard. I was really lucky. I had a teacher who instilled a love of Shakespeare by insisting we understand the importance of the delivery of lines and what they meant. Slowed it down, took the time to explain and made it fun. I want to share this adoration with my daughter but I needed a plan, lest I run full speed, biting my thumb and speaking of graves, and worms, and epitaphs.

Last year, while studying Ancients, we covered the play Julius Caesar but only by way of graphic novel. Slowly laying the bricks to a more in depth study this year, with our Medieval timeline. As we talked about Henry V, we watched the play version's Agincourt speech .

Over the next month she will be memorizing the aforementioned soliloquy from Richard II, Act 3 Scene 2. We used TedEd to learn about why Shakespeare loved iambic pentameter. Here's another neat little video about original pronunciation.

After the much abbreviated graphic novel spoon feeding, we moved on to Shakespeare Stories. I found that presenting the works in story format rather than as a play helped her understand what was going on before tackling the play.

I figured Hamlet as good as any other place to begin. After reading it in Shakespeare Stories, we read Act I on No Fear Shakespeare, which provides a side by side modern text translation. Following that we watched the BBC version. While the language is Shakespearean, the costumes and props are modern, another baby step.

Crash Course provides a great summary and points out the Hamlet - Lion King connection. And the slightly more vulgar (here is the questionable parenting part) Thug Notes has some worthwhile analysis points. For fun, we watched Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, though I've yet to get her to successfully play Questions.

We covered a few more, like Twelfth Night, by discussion of the story version. When we discussed Macbeth she excitedly made the connection that Throne of Blood, which we watched to (loosely) learn of medieval Japan, was the same story. I had hoped she would have mentioned Wyrd Sisters, but as soon as I brought it up, she saw the connection.

Following the same model of study we did for Hamlet, we're covering Romeo and Juliet over the next two weeks. She read the story in Shakespeare Stories, now we're tackling each Act on No Fear Shakespeare, following each by the section in Romeo + Juliet. Once we've completed the play, we'll watch West Side Story. Wrapping up Shakespeare for the year with a writing prompt I snagged off Pinterest.