So this is my attempt to squeeze another post into February, right before March dances into 2011. I'm teaching Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream) right now, actually wrapping it up. It's been another fun year in the classroom. Reading, acting, performing, slinging insults (sheep biter!), snickering at the word 'breast,' it's all part of teaching twelve year-olds. But now that I've read the play like fifty times, I've come to realize a significant part of Shakespeare's brilliance.
He wrote stories within stories, wrapped up in themes within themes, tied together with purposeful characters and meaningful settings. Every piece in Shakespeare's work, from the woods outside of Athens to the little Indian boy, has a reason for being there. Nothing is arbitrary. Not even the insults. Thou painted maypole!
Read a little. Learn a lot.