Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Brett’s Advice on Studying Shakespeare

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Hey kiddo, 

I had a really good experience studying individual plays with my partner. We studied Othello and because I had never read that play before, I really enjoyed studying it with freedom to focus on what I found interesting. However, it was also nice to have a framework within the class to refer back to, and a partner with whom I could converse. I encourage you to find a friend in the class who you can trade papers with for rough draft editing, who you can ask questions to without feeling dumb, and who you can touch base with when things don’t make sense. Regardless of what you are studying, this is SUPER helpful in college!

I suggest reading summaries of Shakespeare’s plays online before addressing the actual play—this might feel like cheating a little, but don’t worry! It is important to understand the plot before diving into the rhetorical and character analyses. Not only will it help you enjoy the story, but it will also help you enjoy the language Shakespeare employed. In approaching writing and researching about Shakespeare, I encourage you to start informally and move toward the formal articles. It is helpful to start with language that is approachable and understandable. In doing this, the more formal articles become easier to access mentally.

I really liked Slack and have enjoyed building comra1dery with my classmates. I don’t even know or recognize some people from a few of the classes I’ve taken this semester. It makes work boring and also makes it hard to learn if you don’t have anyone to discuss things with. By always having a large group of people to converse with, I have been able get any questions answered quickly and with multiple viewpoints.

I have also really learned from nontraditional sources. Don’t be scared to engage with sources like YouTube, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Spotify, etc. There is a massive world of Shakespeare on the internet, and so many people who know more than you do. Before this class, I wouldn’t have thought to research Shakespeare through video or media, but I have learned to filter sources for reliable, mostly reliable, and probably not reliable (but usually very interesting). Both nontraditional and social sources have helped me engage more with the contemporary conversation going on around me, rather than just looking at old books and articles. 

All my Shakespearean love,

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