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I always knew you'd follow in my footsteps and become an English major! Since you'll soon be taking a Shakespeare class I thought I should give you some advice on how to handle the class well.
I think everyone is at least a little bit scared of Shakespeare...He represents high culture, a difficult version of English that makes us feel stupid sometimes.. But he is such a huge part of the history of the English language and the development of literature. After taking this class, I feel so much more confident in continuing to read Shakespeare and helping others to enjoy it as well.
My favorite thing that I was able to do this semester was memorize one of Shakespeare's sonnets. I memorized Sonnet 80 and then performed a video of it. It was a really fun way to engage with Shakespeare's writing because I had to put a lot of thought into the emotion, rhythm, meter, etc. Performing has never been my strong suit and so it took a lot of practice but it was also a lot of fun!
Because of the way that Shakespeare is written and talked about, many people have an expectation that it is going to be difficult and that his plays are something to suffer through. However, if you take a step back and have a positive attitude about it, it's much easier to tackle. You can go into a reading of Shakespeare with an expectation that you will enjoy it and that it will be a valuable experience! If you envision it this way, it is more likely to happen!
I've really enjoyed making reading Shakespeare a social experience. Talking about what I'm reading with others helps me to gain new insight into themes, characters, and symbols. I definitely would not have learned so much if I didn't reach out to others to discover what they were learning from the text.
When it comes to writing and researching about Shakespeare, make sure that you branch out--explore ideas that a lot of other people haven't. It's always nice to make new and fresh connections that will enrich the academic conversation that surrounds Shakespeare. There are so many valuable resources out there to help us understand, read about, and write about Shakespeare. But don't ever feel like everything that can be written has been written because you can always add something!
Seeking out social sources is a big help in the writing process as well. Librarians, experts, enthusiasts, anyone else who is interested in Shakespeare and his writings. They can all be of help when it comes to coming up with ideas for papers, blog posts, or personal writings. I know I bounced a lot of ideas off of Alex when it came to writing my paper about the connections between Star Trek and Shakespeare. It definitely made my paper better.
So although Shakespeare might seem daunting at first...just remember that there are so many resources around you. Turning Shakespeare into a social experience makes it much easier to understand and more fun to enjoy! I hope that you are looking forward to your Shakespeare class that will be just ahead.