Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name . . .

One of my brothers-in-law is what I call a youngun', at only 17. So he has access to some classics that I would love to read and whatnot, as that's what they tend to go over in high school English. So when I saw the No Fear: Shakespeare in Plain English, I got very excited and asked if I could borrow it. But when I got it home and cracked it open. . . I was aghast! I could only read through five sonnets, and then had to put it away, lest my ranting cause my head to ignite in flames of ire. (I feel like I may have been channeling him a bit there. Lol.)

See if you feel the same. Here's a very short example of a piece of work from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream:

Egeus: With duty and desire we follow you.

'In Plain English':

Egeus: We're following you not only because it is our duty, but also because we want to.

OMG. . . It kind of hurts, actually. Imagine what just happened there, but with one of your favorite sonnets or plays, or even a favorite line! It completely ruins the flow, the feeling, that Shakespeare evokes! When I was in high school, we read a few plays; we acted them out; we debated what Shakespeare might really have meant, what it was like when he lived, what the characters felt and must be like.
All of that, ruined by one simple act of trying to make things easier for the children. Poor dears! They shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about great works and masterpieces! They have enough on their plates, what with the Wii acting up and a 1 page, double-spaced paper to write this week on how they're going to spend their summer vacation.
I honestly wonder if in the coming years, teachers won't just sum of literature and classics. "Julius Caesar is assassinated. His famous line is "Et tu, Brute?" which means, "You too, Brutus?" Brutus was a friend of Julius. Don't forget to write this down for the test! It will look really good it you used that quote."

This is why the next generation is going to be illiterate, and then libraries will die out, because who needs to read when you have someone else to just explain it to you?


Kristy said...

Well said, sister. I totally agree with you! And these are the people who will be running the country in the upcoming years! Scary.

Vikki said...

That's one of the reasons I love you!