What could I say of Hamlet that hasn't already been said? It's place in the literary canon is absolutely necessary. Hamlet, the prince, is the deepes What could I say of Hamlet that hasn't already been said? It's place in the literary canon is absolutely necessary. Hamlet, the prince, is the deepest, most complete character in literary history, unsurpassed previously and ever since. What makes Hamlet so special is his ability to see the world around himself, and to question his own existance within that world:
To be, or not to be, — that is the question: — Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? — To die, to sleep, — No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, — 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; — To sleep, perchance to dream: — ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, — The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, — puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know naught of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought; And enterprises of great pith and moment, With this regard, their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.
-Hamlet Act III, Scene I
Reading through this play, I am constantly in awe of it's power, depth, and grace. So much so, I doubt my capacity and understanding to teach it. ...more
I hate to say it, but unless you have a cultural interest in Japanese, most readers would find this book to be very slow and dense. It is one of the I hate to say it, but unless you have a cultural interest in Japanese, most readers would find this book to be very slow and dense. It is one of the most powerful and amazing character studies I've ever read though, outside of Shakespeare. Worth reading to anyone who is interested on seeing the inner workings of ourselves. ...more
I'd had previous experience with Sherman Alexie. In a survey level English class on contemporary writers, I'd read a short story and some of his poet I'd had previous experience with Sherman Alexie. In a survey level English class on contemporary writers, I'd read a short story and some of his poetry. My previous impression of Alexie was that he was unremarkable. Well, this novel blew me out of the water, and it's no short of a -must read-, both in a HS classroom, and for conscientious adults everywhere.
Let's be frank, this book does contain some objectionable material. For a long time, I was torn between giving this book 3 stars or 5. I was going to give it 3 stars, because of some of the objectionable material. But after careful review, and meditation, I came to realize that the "objectionable" material is only there because it -has- to be. It comes only in the crux of humor, the most gripping moment of tragedy, or the conveyance of an important theme or message.
I finally decided to rest on my laurels, and stand by giving this book 5 stars, despite the censorship issues. What can be learned from this book FAR outweighs any of the minor qualms that might arise from any of the "objectionalbe material". So what can be learned from this book? This book deals with everything from race and socio-political justice, to issues of friendship, adolescent love, and simply growing up in high-school. This book juxtaposes both high and low themes, and deals with them in a very in depth, engaging, and realistic way (this is where most of the objectionable material comes from, the author keeps it real).
I cannot recommend this book enough. Any self-respecting teacher that considers themselves progressive will easily be able to look over the "objectionable material" within this book, and teach this book for the gold mine of literary wisdom it contains.
5Q/3.8P After showing a current teacher the reading list for my English class, he was quick to recommend this book. I must say I’m glad to have read i5Q/3.8P After showing a current teacher the reading list for my English class, he was quick to recommend this book. I must say I’m glad to have read it. It is a very good book for teaching. The vignette format of the book is something totally fresh and different, both for myself and for any future classroom I’d teach. They’re accessible to students, namely because they’re short, concise expositions that aren’t too intimidating. I find the vignettes fascinating myself, for I think they’d make an excellent writing exercise. Perhaps have the students each compose a vignette and connect their work to a small group of their peer’s vignettes. The vignettes do have a downfall. Because they each deal with very different subjects, and they subjects are often vaguely linked, this book might be difficult for some students to follow, or perhaps become interested in. However, the abstraction of the vignettes is also one of my favorite aspects of the book, it is almost as if each vignette could be read individually, and just as much could be gained from one vignette without having to read the rest of them. It’s a very unique book. Cisneros has a very distinct writing style, as well. Her writing isn’t overly difficult to read, yet it is intricate enough to be challenging, and she deals with a host of advanced topics, especially issues relating to young women, and the societal pressures of adolescent girls. I think female students will respond well to this book, and though boys will be hard to engage with this book, I’d make a point to highlight how important it is for boys and girls to understand one another on a deep, meaningful level, something Cisneros’s book can do. ...more
I’d first experienced The Giver in either 6th or 7th grade. While I don’t remember any specific details about the book, I do remember the book being “I’d first experienced The Giver in either 6th or 7th grade. While I don’t remember any specific details about the book, I do remember the book being “strange” in content. One of the problems I encounter with “Young Adult” books, The Giver included, is they often don’t stand up to the criticism of the literary purist I’ve become. This is manifest in The Giver as a dichotomy between what the book is and what it should’ve been.
The Giver is a strange read, as I’d remembered. It deals in depth with an almost science fiction society, in which common teaching points of utopia, individuality, and the roles of people within a society are brought up. It also goes beyond such common ideas, and touches on the philosophy of some very deep and difficult topics. Some examples include memory, perceived reality, the nature of language and how it influences thinking (words = colors, music, etc), history and how it affects a society, and even bioethics of euthanasia.
That being said, it’s a shame the book was written for the “young adult” genre. It is almost as if it was edited to be made simpler for younger readers. This book should’ve been a work of literature, full of rich vocabulary, complex characters, and a deep yet moving plot. This is the dichotomy of the book: It was good, but could’ve been so much better. The ideas covered in the book are rich topics, but I honestly don’t think middle school students are old enough to think on a metaphysical level about issues such as society, memory, or ethics. This book should’ve been written in more detail, and presented to students at the high school level.