This has been the looming question on both High School and many college campuses today. Sadly, both campuses today are choosing to explore perspectives on gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and transnationalism. With the ever-increasing influence of the above topics, campuses are pushing out authors who were once required reading for students to graduate. Why should students now even read Shakespeare? Are his beloved plays, poems, sonnets and prose still relevant in today’s media frenzied world?
There are approximately 1,700 original words that Shakespeare gave us. Many of these unique words are still in use today. He not only had a way with creating words but with complex characters and believable villains as well. His dynamic characters are extensive to analyze and explore through literature discussions. He had a way of crafting drama, plot twists and turns. He took vengeance and love to a whole new level. His stories have inspired countless cartoons, television, radio, movies and theatre plot lines. I often share with my students that if they’ve enjoyed watching the Lion King or Star Wars………….both story lines were inspired by Hamlet.
There’s a famous quote by Sir Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” This quote held true for the advancement of Science and it holds true for those who desire to become writers. What we read has a great impact on how and what we choose to write about. If we choose to read great works of literature, we can hold onto those styles and produce great works ourselves. Shakespeare’s’ works have transcended time and still hold relevance to readers, thinkers and writers to this day.
This, of course, is just a glimpse of many reasons why we should study Shakespeare. I will share more in detail in a future post…..
I must admit, I consistently struggled with writing in school. The teacher would hand us a blank piece of paper and then tell the class to write. As I looked around the classroom, some of the students diligently went right to work and wrote page after page, while others were like me sat there with blank stares and used the class time to doodle and daydream. It wasn’t until I reached junior high that I finally had a teacher that took time to teach formula writing.
You’re probably asking yourself, what is formula writing or you’re thinking I can so relate. I was one of those students or have a child myself that will stare or fight when prompted to write. There are two distinctive styles of writers in this world - formula and creative. If you give a blank piece of paper to a creative writer they can write and write until told when to stop. What I discovered in that junior high classroom that day is that I wasn’t a creative writer. Rather, I needed a formula to write.
Formula writing is just what it sounds like, a logical step by step approach to writing. It’s structured and follows the same predetermined methodical route each time. Did you know the great writer Shakespeare was a formula play writer? Or that each of his plays is five acts? Act I is known as the Exposition, Act II is known as the Rising Action, Act III always reveals the climatic part of the play, Act IV is the falling action - also known as the aftermath of the climax, and lastly Act V wraps up the entire play.
You need to ask yourself, is my student just like I described above, not knowing what to write of even how to write? If you answered “yes”, then chances are your child is a formula writer just waiting to unlock the formula and learn how to write. Once they learn the formula they will gain more confidence with their burgeoning writing skills.