Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: For the (broken) record

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  • BenWilson,

    Should we give up teaching Shakespeare to the whole class?

    How can you know which kids are getting something out of it? I think they should all be exposed to at least some Shakespeare. The benefit is not easily counted (my greatest beef with the current standards drive). I'm damned sure I understood only the most surface layer of the Shakespeare I studied at school, but it stuck with me, and often the meaning reveals itself later. Years later.

    So I can't really agree with the various selections above of what the kids should be restricted to. Literature like Shakespeare expands your imagination, so it doesn't matter that they won't get every nuance, or that the content is 'adult' in theme. I'm sure I still don't know what it's like to be an old king like Lear, but Shakespeare gives me a chance to. For that matter, I never understood what it was like to be a young teen in a stupid death crush either, so R & J never spoke to me at much, other than to perhaps get an insight into the minds of some of my fellow students. No need to dumb down for the kids.

    The choice of play should be very much colored by what the teacher likes . The enthusiasm matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    From the "I wish I'd thought of that earlier" file: my funny brother suggests that next time, instead of LUQs, I call them Flummoxing Unanswered Questions.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    I'm tempted to try Jasper fforde again on the basis of the enthusiasm here. I so wanted to love him (for the dodos alone!) but it just all got a smidge too whimsical for me. At the time, anyway. I'll try again.

    I would recommend trying the Nursery Crimes series then (The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear) - I actually think these are overshadowed by the Thursday Next series but are just as good, if not better.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Flummoxing Unanswered Questions

    Love it. "That'll FUQ em".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Exactly. Works equally well as a F-you Q.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Literature like Shakespeare expands your imagination, so it doesn't matter that they won't get every nuance, or that the content is 'adult' in theme.

    There is, of course, the peril of putting some of them off - but I think quite a few get more out of it than you'd expect. My brother has announced he's doing seventh-form English because there's a Shakespeare section, and this is a kid who doesn't like school and barely reads anything that's not a comic book. Obviously something's connecting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Or FLUQ. To send someone back in time, all you need to do is overload their FLUQs capacity. Then they'll be stuck in the library forever, digging ever deeper into the past.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Should we give up teaching Shakespeare to the whole class?

    I'm not a big Shakespeare fan, and I've only read or seen a minority of his works, but I certainly wouldn't agree with that. A bunch of them are good, others are reasonable. Certainly a very significant author that should be part of the school curriculum, though perhaps not as much as happens now.

    Romeo and Juliet is just terrible and makes me want to throw stuff at the screen or stage if I get subjected to it. If it could be banned from the school curriculum and other parts of civilised society I'd be much happier. My true feelings for the lead characters would be pushing the audience of Emma's blog to blush, let alone Jolisa's, so I'll restrain myself.

    Ahem. Only an hour until beer o'clock :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    On the "best books of this year" theme, to be entirely predictable I would have to include Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett.

    It's witterary. Yuk yuk.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Obviously something's connecting.

    "There's none of you so mean and base that hath not noble lustre in your eyes" finally makes sense to me. Right now today. Here, just then.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    My true feelings for the lead characters would be pushing the audience of Emma's blog to blush, let alone Jolisa's, so I'll restrain myself.

    You want to spank them?

    Ahem. Only an hour until beer o'clock :)

    Lucky you -- I'm all the way to Milo o'clock already -- but it's always rude joke o'clock, never fear.

    (It suddenly occurs to me that the title of my other post sounds a bit rude if you say it quickly. "We're lost, dammit!' "Try that way?" "No! We've been down that forking path three times already.")

    Ngaire, two hairy orange thumbs up to Unseen Academicals! I can hardly bear the thought that it might be the last, so I am refusing to think that. BTW, has anyone cracked the Iradne Comb-Buttworthy anagram yet?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    Ngaire, two hairy orange thumbs up to Unseen Academicals! I can hardly bear the thought that it might be the last, so I am refusing to think that. BTW, has anyone cracked the Iradne Comb-Buttworthy anagram yet?

    Ack, perish the thought. But, it does look likely. Which is an huge, huge loss to the world.

    I also read Nation at the beginning of this year, so you can add that in to my list too. Such a sad book in so many ways. Ah, makes me a bit teary even thinking about it.

    Not as far as I'm aware! And I'm total pants at that sort of thing, myself.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    There is, of course, the peril of putting some of them off.

    I'm inclined to think if they're susceptible to that, then dumbed down Shakespeare won't help. There's a peril in trigonometry of putting some students off maths too, but you do actually need to know trig if you want to continue with the subject. Shakespeare is surely like that wrt English.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    On Shakespeare and dicks.

    'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
    When not to be receives reproach of being,
    And the just pleasure lost which is so deemed
    Not by our feeling but by others' seeing.
    For why should others' false adulterate eyes
    Give salutation to my sportive blood?
    Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
    Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
    No, I am that I am, and they that level
    At my abuses reckon up their own;
    I may be straight, they they themselves be bevel.
    By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown,
    Unless this general evil they maintain:
    All men are bad, and in their badness reign.

    Sonnet 121: Translation to modern English

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I'm inclined to think if they're susceptible to that, then dumbed down Shakespeare won't help.

    I was thinking more "texts in modern English" rather than dumbed-down Shakespeare; plenty of my classmates were really put off by the language. It shouldn't be some sort of gateway to higher learning. But you also shouldn't be ignoring it because it's not obvious, so.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    I don't want to seem like a dick (too late) but what's this all about again?

    If you feel like supporting Judith Binney’s work this way, contact www.bwb.co.nz to see about donating a book to a Tuhoe marae. It’s a practical gift that would mean a lot to the author.

    Bridget Williams Books is trying to encouraging people to sponsor books into Tuhoe marae. There are order forms, but the easiest way is to send a cheque for the RRP ($79.99) to BWB, PO Box 12474, Wellington. Attach a note saying "For Encircled Lands marae copy" or something. We're hoping to get one copy to each marae in the area.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    I'm joining in way late to this discussion but this ..

    Hell is actually a hugeeverybookfoundeverywhere library with an irreliable index and an enormous shifting stack. The librarians grin insanely and do not answer in any language you know. They frequently talk at your enquiries, and laugh when you cry. Any book you take out has all it's pages glued shut, and once inside the -building? habitat?The place where =once in/never out =and a cloud of voices and any paper puffs away -as you do, clinging onto nasty greyish dimininshing distance-

    Sounds like Borders on Lambton quay

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Attach a note saying "For Encircled Lands marae copy" or something. We're hoping to get one copy to each marae in the area.

    Thanks.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I was thinking more "texts in modern English" rather than dumbed-down Shakespeare; plenty of my classmates were really put off by the language

    So, genuinely asking and not being snarky, how do you preserve the layers of meaning and pun in Shakespeare's language in modern English, where 'will' no longer means 'penis'? recordari's example is a great one, though not from a play: that sonnet is filthy, but only because of those Elizabethan double meanings. I can't see how it could be 'translated' without losing some of its meaning.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Oh but wouldn't the puritans love it if the rudeness magically disappeared lest young minds be coruptd.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Free will-y

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Couldn't resist

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    So, genuinely asking and not being snarky, how do you preserve the layers of meaning and pun in Shakespeare's language in modern English, where 'will' no longer means 'penis'? recordari's example is a great one, though not from a play: that sonnet is filthy, but only because of those Elizabethan double meanings. I can't see how it could be 'translated' without losing some of its meaning.

    Internet Translation Issues here: I meant to say, I think that you can learn just as much about English by studying *other* texts, which are in language that's more accessible. Not "translating" Shakespeare, eugh. It's gorgeous, and brilliant, and I love it just as is. But as the main English written text (e.g. if done in sixth form) it can be a bit woah for some people, and then you lose them for seventh form when English is optional.

    Some high schools could also benefit from learning that Shakespeare is not the only playwright in the English language - certainly at mine, you were left with that impression.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I can't see how it could be 'translated' without losing some of its meaning.

    I can't profess to any expertise on Shakespeare, or maybe that was obvious. It just seemed to fit with the BenW missives, and I like cross-pollination. For some reason I memorised that poem years back, and it comes to mind from time to time.

    Actually why did I memorise it? Did I recite it at parties? I don't remember doing so. Oh god, please tell me I didn't.

    But, to put that myth to rest, if you encounter a suspected dick, and you recite that poem to them, there will be no more doubt vis-à-vis the dickishness, and telepathy want necessary.

    B-boom tish...

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I always thought Shakespeare was a tad overdone; sure, he's good, but 1/5 of the 7th form English curriculum good? Nah.

    Generally I ended up with a vague distaste for texts we studied at school. The text was only a means to an end, viz. passing, and that obviously ends up making you dislike them. And generally it's all very

    six munths hard labour
    doon nthi poetry section
    uv yir local library
    coontn thi fucking metaphors

    as Tom Leonard puts it.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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