Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Willy: Intro to The Taming of the Shrew


In preparation for our reading of The Taming of the Shrew, we engaged in an activity that I call "Dear Willy". Basically, this activity is based on the "Dear Abby"-style newspaper columns where folks write in with problems and "Abby" answers back with all sorts of conventional (and sometimes unconventional) wisdom.

So, you each got short bits of info that included the name of a character and the basic problem that the character is experiencing. With this information, you needed to write a short letter to "Dear Willy" asking for help. Then, you all traded with one another and got to practice doling out answers and solutions to problems.

After you finished these two steps, you then wrote a little summary on the board of your understanding of the problems of the characters in this play. Once all of the issues were on the board, we looked to see if there were any common words listed from all of the different characters. There were several words that stuck out: marriage, sister, love, daughter, father, and pretend. We talked a little about the word "pretend" and what that connotation added to our understanding of the play. We then looked a little more closely at the title of the play and connected the title and our recurring words to form these predictions:

-a father is going to try to "tame" his daughters
-Petruchio is going to try to control a woman
-the daughters don't have a mother

We'll have to revisit and add to our list of predictions as we read! We read through the induction scene--lots of laughs to be had there--and we'll start the actual play next class. Good work.

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