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“Gaylie’s Advice on Studying Shakespeare”
If you ever decide to study English, don’t let anyone tell you that Shakespeare is antiquated and unapproachable. While the language may be a little different from what we use when talking with our friends or what we hear in most movies and shows, it is still English and with a little confidence you can understand the Bard.
Plus, if you let your fears govern your reading selection, you will find your way hedged up on several sides, denying you some truly enlightening opportunities. Travis, Shakespeare is lauded a lot, especially in English literature, and while I don’t find all of his works particularly intriguing some of his stuff is truly fascinated. While studying some of his works this semester, I have been impressed with the universal themes so prevalent in his works.
I got to study Hamlet and then go see a live broadcast of the play starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Travis, it was amazing!
I gained a lot from that experience, and learned a lot about how I, personally, should approach Shakespeare and even literature in general. If you are ever feeling stuck, I hope this will be relevant for you.
One of my favorite parts of seeing Hamlet was being able to see the different artistic modifications made by the directors and actors. It was so interesting to me to see how different aspects were portrayed. I was also impressed by the variation in readings and understanding that were presented.
If you move forward in literature I would highly recommend that you pick topics in the literature that interest you. For me that was in an artistic vein, which based on your current interests, I think that will be something that fascinates you as well. Travis, read the work looking for those themes or for the ways the author formats and presents those themes.
Then explore the ideas of others! I would high recommend that you find friends to talk about the works with. Some of my most meaningful experiences in Shakespeare class and as an English major have come from gaining perspective by listening to and discussing the thoughts of others. And don’t be afraid to turn to visual sources and media sources to draw on for material.
Finally, pour yourself into whatever you are doing. On the Friday before my final project was due I found myself spending hours into digitally creating the image that accompanied my final presentation and trying to cleverly articulate my point in the form of a recipe. Did it take a while? Yes, but it was so worth it. Even doing that really helped me get excited about what I was learning and form a personal connection with what could have been just another English paper.
Travis by doing these things you will have a far better understanding of the topic and it will mean more to you. That will be crucial whether it is for writing a paper, preparing for an exam, or simply providing fuel to persevere as an English major despite the general lack of respect you may face.
Travis Mark, life is what you make it, and literature can help you get so much more out of the limited time and opportunities you have been given.
Love you little brother, best of luck!