Oh How The Turn Tables…

Welcome back to the blog.

We are coming to the end of the year. Only one more week of high school for me. I’m going to miss school and these posts.


Today we are going back to me in grade 9 when I chose my 5 most influential people I would have at my “table.” The goal of this assignment back then was to look at the qualities you need to have in order to be a good leader. Then I thought deeply about who I thought my own personal leaders were, and wrote about why each person was a leader to me. I also included a diagram that shows all these people at my table with me. View my table from grade 9 or click the photo to go to my post on the project:

This was around 3 years ago, however, and the purpose of this post today is to see if anything has changed since then. It’s a role model update. We are doing this because of the new unit we are starting in PLP called Fight the Power, which is where we learn how to take the extremely valuable knowledge we have gained in the past 13 years of schooling to change the world for the better. And so I am going to show the people who have built me up and continue to inspire me to be better and fight the power.

I have come up with my own personal mission statement that I strive to accomplish in my lifetime. Each of the people I will talk about next will have an impact on me in a way that helps me achieve my mission statement whether it’s a big way or not. Here it is:

I will constantly chase something new, create media that makes me happy, and spend time with people I love and who build me up. My life will be my life and I will not be satisfied with anything that doesn’t fulfill me as a person. 

My New and Improved Table:

And now, the people who inspire me to achieve that statement:

First off, my parents are still at my table 3 years later. They are my life coaches. They push me to be better and bench me when I
underperform. I’ve learned the value of respect from them and how to treat others the way you want to be treated, which is something I strive to do everyday. My parents taught me how to have a sense of humour, something I am so grateful for. One of my all time favourite things in the world is when I can make someone laugh and without them I wouldn’t be the funniest person I know. But they also support me in everything I do which is the best thing parents can do. I have gone through many hobbies and phases and they have been through them all. Usually they end up being expensive, like a new bike or camera, and they either help me plan my spending or tell me to keep dreaming. I am so thankful for my parents for making me the way that I am, and also allowing me to grow on my own. Both of them inspire me everyday, with my dads relentless work ethic and goofy sense of humour and my moms patience and caring nature. So that is why my parents have a seat at my table, and I’m proud to see them there.

Next up is a man named Nigel Danson. He is a successful landscape photographer based I the UK who I recently discovered through his YouTube channel. What really caught my attention right off the bat was his ability to clearly articulate aspects of photography I struggle with. I had never come across anyone that could explain the strategies that he was explaining in all the YouTube tutorials I had seen. And what brought me coming back to him was his absolutely amazing photos of stunning landscapes across the world. They are honestly the best photos I’ve ever seen and he has so many that blow me away. But I’m also extremely inspired by his story. He started taking photos at the age of 11 and worked mostly in the darkroom of his parents attic. Then he was the founder of a very successful software company until 2016 when he nearly died in a terrible car crash. His heart stopped multiple times but he luckily survived. He now lives with chronic back pain that is amplified when sitting. So he quit his office job and pursued photography full time. He takes his own photos, runs a website where he prints his photos and sells them, a successful YouTube channel explaining his incredible skills, and does workshops and masterclass. He has taken photography, the thing that makes him most inspired and happy, and made a very successful career from it. This is something I dream of doing in the future and Nigel Danson is someone I draw inspiration from, not only because of his incredible photos but also his ability to create a successful photography career.

Third, Willem Verbeek. He is a young photographer who primarily shoots 35 mm film photography. I also discovered him a few months ago through his YouTube channel. On his channel he showcases his work and also take the viewer with him when he walks around town taking photos. He also explains how to use old film cameras and techniques to help people who are relatively new to film photography like me. He is at my table because he has a very calm and collected nature about him bt he is extremely creative. He is always happy to be taking photos and seems even more happy to be sharing those images with others. His photography style is also something that inspires me as its quite different than what I usually like. But there’s something about the way he composes his images and the exceptional use of colour and light that works so well. I am inspired by him because of his insanely creative eye for photography and how he can turn seemingly mundane scenes into amazing frames. His drive to keep creating is evident in his photo books and zines that he creates and sells online. He is a very skilled photographer who I draw creative inspiration from constantly. He makes me more passionate for photography every time I see his images.

Next up is Remy Metallier, a professional mountain biker located in Squamish BC. He is my favourite rider hands down, as his style and speed is unmatched. He is inspiring to me because he has also made a career out of a sport he loves. I follow him on social media, and he is constantly staying physically active all the time. What I really like about him is how he constantly pushes the boundaries of mountain biking as a sport, and also his own personal boundaries. He is riding down crazy features every week and pushing his skills to the next level on the daily. The one thing about him that really sticks with me is his fear management. Mountain biking can be quite scary, and rightfully so. But he attacks trails with a calm nature and strategically rides them with poise and control even when he’s scared. Fear and risk management is a huge part of biking, and I personally believe that being able to recognize fear and still overcome it is an extremely valuable skill to have. I want to be able to be as mentally strong and confident in myself and my skills in all aspects of my life just like how Remy is in his biking. His riding makes me want to better myself mentally and physically to be the best version of myself I can so that I’m not settling for anything less.

This video features him riding trails in the Whistler bike park. He makes everything in this video look easy but I assure you, its literally the opposite. Multiple times he jumped way higher and farther than you were supposed to go which takes immeasurable amounts of skill and confidence.

And finally, my Grandad. He is one of the wisest people I know, and is someone who I aspire to be like when I’m older. As a kid I thought he was the smartest person I’d ever met, and I still agree to this day. He is constantly learning new things, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries on just about anything. I get to see him every few months as we live in two different provinces, but when I do see him I enjoy it every time. The most inspiring thing to me is how much he loves every single person in our family. He has over 15 grandkids and equally adores each and every one. He is so happy with his family and I hope to be in that same place when I am his age. His love for people reaches past his family too, as he is gracious and kind to every single person he meets. I hope that I can learn that skill too, and have a network of people around me who support me and I can support them. My grandad is the person and family man I want to be when I get older, and he earns a seat at my table any day. He is a reminder to me to be happy and take every minute of life for granted, so treat people with respect and kindness, as one small act can change someone’s whole day. Without my Grandad I would not have the same appreciation for the people in my life that I do today, and I hope he can show me how to strengthen that appreciation for much much longer.

To summarize, I look up to people with a creative vision that strive to be the best person they can be. They do what makes them happy and surround themselves with people who make them happiest. I believe all these people I’ve described here today align with my personal mission statement in some way. If I can stick to my personal mission statement and follow what makes me happy, I will be living the dream. These people in this post remind and inspire me to keep going even when it gets tough. I am happy to have them in my life or to know of them and their accomplishments so that I can be a better person myself.


that’s all


see you

Today, Starting Fires Is Going To Save Lives

To start off the new year, we did a 3 week history project taught by Ms. Maxwell. We were focusing in 20th century history, after the Second World War. Our projects would get inspiration from a song. An old classic, but I had never heard of it before.

The song is We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel, released in 1989 when Billy Joel was 40 years old. The song is different than most songs, as it is a list of events that happened in Joel’s lifetime that he thought were significant. The song was quite popular at the time, but it was criticized for not actually being a very good song since it just listed events. But nevertheless, it was popular and stood the test of time, since we were studying it in our English 12 class in 2020. This song would be the inspiration of our projects we would be working on for the next 3 weeks. We were tasked with choosing one event that interested us mentioned in the song, and then create a visual artifact explaining what the event was, and why it is considered significant in history.
The driving question was:

“What makes an event significant?”

Over the course of three short weeks, we studied the idea of significance and the factors that make a historical event important or influential. We started off this project by choosing an event we were interested in from the song by Billy Joel. There were 106 different events mentioned in his song, and around 17 students so the chances of getting the event we wanted were pretty good, as everyone had to have different events. And I believe that we all got our first choice, except Spencer who had to be happy with his second choice.

The topic I chose was the 1969 Moon Landing. The reason I chose this was because I’ve always had an interest in space, and I didn’t really know much about the first moon landing so I wanted to find out more. Another reason was because in the song by Billy Joel, he references the moon landing through the lyric: “Moonshot” which I thought was interesting. I didn’t know what that really meant, so I looked into it. At first I thought it was talking about the photos taken on the moon, but the word moonshot also means an idea that seems impossible to achieve. I couldn’t find any concrete connection between the song lyric “Moonshot” and what Billy Joel was actually talking about, but the aspect of photography instantly intrigued me. And little did I know, it would become the basis of my entire project.

After receiving our topics, we wrote a two page summary of the event that we were studying. I researched everything I could about the first moon landing in history, and explained why it was, and is, so significant. I researched the timeline of the moon landing, and also the impacts it had on the United States, and the globe. In my research, I found out that a bunch of random items we use today in our daily life were made partly because of the moon landing. Some of them were kind of interesting.

After this two page paper, we made a 5-10 page formal research document that contained all the information we would need to complete our project. We were required to have at least 5 different sources, and all our research should answer our own personal driving question and thesis, which had to prove why our event was significant. So for me, I was researching the moon landing. I was relating how photography can influence an events’ significance, while also explaining how the moon landing was significant. My own driving question was what you see in that image above. It was the question I was trying to answer with my artifact I would make for the main part of project. My thesis was for the written document portion of the project, and incorporated four other images throughout history to help prove my point. The photos I curated to help prove my point are extremely interesting photos in my opinion. They are, “A Man on the Moon” by Neil Armstrong, “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” by Unknown, “Saigon Execution” by Eddie Adams, and “Falling Man” by Richard Drew.

And finally, once that was all done, we could start our projects. At first, I planned on making a video, but after some more thought and some critique from Ms. Maxwell, I realized that it would be difficult to make my video interesting as I was mostly presenting photos and then describing their context and importance. So, instead of that, I looked into making a photo essay. The traditional style for a photo essay is something like this:

A series of images that usually happened during a short period of time. I didn’t foresee this working for the images I wanted to showcase since mine were from different points in history. Other classmates of mine were planning on creating a keynote presentation. I thought I would do the same, but I wanted to make it more interesting. I looked into alternative options for a typical PowerPoint or keynote presentation, and came across a website called Swipe. This site is an online slideshow creator, but the awesome feature that was the reason I chose to use Swipe, was that it was interactive. Anyone who I gave the link to could have my presentation up on their screen as I was going through it. I thought this was perfect because I was presenting a lot of images, and I wanted all my classmates to get a good look at them. So now, I had all my research, my images, and my medium to present everything I know. All I had to do was do it.




My presentation went really well in my opinion. We all had 5 minutes to present our artifacts to the class, in whatever format that was. My artifact was my photo essay and my interactive presentation. I’m quite happy with the format I chose, I feel it really helped emphasize the meaning and importance of each photo I chose.

Overall I really enjoyed this project. I found my topic interesting, even more so when I chose to focus more on the photography side of the event. On the learning side, I think that I learned a lot. I hadn’t really ever thought about what makes an event in history more or less significant than others. It was really interesting to me to see how different historical events became influential and important. This project opened my eyes to the events that have shaped our recent history, and urged me to think about what makes up a significant event. I also found my own research soooo incredibly interesting. For example, I had no idea that a photo was partially responsible for ending a war. The Saigon execution photo by Eddie Adams is living proof that a photo has great power to inspire change. I was also blown away by the Falling Man image and how it’s simple nature is almost terrifying. But probably the most interesting thing I learned was with the moon landing photos. The photo that became the most iconic is the one that looks the least patriotic or heroic, and in my research it said that that was the reason it became iconic. It took me a while to wrap my head around that idea, but after a while it made perfect sense.
Anyways, I am very happy with the learning I underwent for this project, and I’m looking forward to more like this in the future.


See you



A Horrifying Failure

Welcome back.


Today we will be discussing one of the most interesting projects we’ve ever done in PLP. And by interesting I mean a total roller coaster of emotions and motivation. You will see what I mean as you read through this post, which is going to take you through what we accomplished in our unit focused on Horror.

As with every unit in PLP, we were given a driving question at the beginning. This unit would get us to think about society and how we portray issues and ideals through filmmaking, specifically horror movies. The driving question was:

“Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?”

We would be thinking about this question throughout the unit, and relating everything we do back to this question. And the first thing we did was read one of the most famous horror stories of all time, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

This book was not at all what I was expecting. It was way more deep and meaningful than I thought it would be, which I suppose is why it’s so well known. The story itself was really amazing, but personally it was a little slow paced for my tastes. Frankenstein was intended to get our minds spinning about who the real monster is in the story. Is it the creature? Doctor Frankenstein? Society as a whole? Before reading the book, if I had to pick, I would obviously pick the creature. That is because of the creatures appearance: big, ugly, and just plain old monstrous. But that is exactly what the book points out. As society, we are too quick to judge based off of appearance, causing us to be the real monsters. The creature in the story was seen as an outcast, a criminal, and a monster just because of the way he looked, yet he only acted in curiosity at first. But by the end, he was fed up and enraged so much that he sought out revenge on the people who ruined his chance at life. The book exploits our negative tendencies to judges someone, which is something that happens way too often even in today’s society.

My biggest takeaway from this book is that, in fact, horror can be used as an effective way to reflect on our society. I hadn’t put much thought into it before, but this book opened my eyes to the possibilities of horror storytelling. And I would see these possibilities later on in the unit.

Now that we have studied some horror in written form, we moved onto horror filmmaking, which would lead us right into our final product. At this point, we have studied Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and looked into who or what the real monster was. So now, to take that further, we watched 3 films that would make us wrestle with that topic further. I wrote a post on each one we watched, so you can check the posts out for further details. The three movies we watched in class were Halloween (1978), Gods and Monsters, and Get Out. Each movie quite different from the last, which made for some interesting research and inquiries. Read my posts for more info.

What I learned from these films was that horror has the potential to bring out our true nature, the nature that’s usually hidden deep inside of us. We discussed in class something I found quite interesting, which is the fact that horror is a popular genre because it shows us things we’re not supposed to see. People getting stabbed, choked, cut up by chainsaw, and just brutally murdered in general are things we know we shouldn’t watch, yet we can’t take our eyes off the screen. Horror is a chance for people to watch gruesome scenes without it happening to them. The horror genre entertains and gives the viewers an escape from their usually mundane reality. Horror is not a genre I’m interested in at all, I’d rather stick to not seeing death by chainsaws if I can help it.

We took a 3 day field school to Seattle to have a closer look at the effects of horror by visiting the MoPOP. It’s a popular museum of pop culture located in Seattle, and it has an exceptional horror exhibit, amongst other things. While we were in the exhibit, we were closely studying the short documentary style videos they had playing. The videos talked about each of the most famous horror movies and why they are so popular. We took lots of notes, because we were brainstorming for our own horror movie. Except, since we weren’t a full scale movie crew, our movie would only be about 25 minutes. And so, that’s what our final product of the horror unit would be.

Our Task

Write, script, storyboard, film, edit, and produce our own 25 minute horror film as an entire class. The story must have a comment on today’s society that is well thought out, and can be understood from a viewers perspective through the scenes we film.

That was the main idea of the film. How it would actually come to life is a long process. In Seattle, we decided on roles. The director and producer would be chosen by the teachers after an interview process. Then they would help the teachers to put the rest of the class in roles based on their skillset. Me and Alex ended up being Co-Producers, and Adam the director. Over the course of that field school, we came up with the story treatment as a class, and also put everyone into a role that a normal movie crew would have.

A group of friends have snuck into the school to pull some grad pranks. There’s four of them:Kirk, horror aficionado and known theatre geek, gleefully planning pranks that reference his favourite movies;Marcus, a techie with stage fright, working to make said pranks operate smoothly (and attempting to quell his fears); Barbara, a band geek suffering under high expectations from her parents and acting out for the first time in her life; and Lynda, an anxious loner that others are trying to befriend. Meanwhile, another group of friends is there on the same night also to pull grad prank. This group is a little different. It consists of amiable jock Chet, cheerleader Stacey, and their friends Cory and Bud, both known for partying. While there, the two groups realize that each other have snuck into the school, and start messing with each other, jump scaring each other and terrorizing each other with fake knives/blood/etc that they brought for their pranks. Midway through, Marcus wanders off from his friends and doesn’t come back. Eventually, they go to look for him and find him dead. They assume that the other group has gone too far, and killed him. Meanwhile, Stacy and Bud have also wandered off from their friends and turned up dead in the janitor’s closet, presumably having been making out. Their friends, unaware of Marcus’s death, also assume that the other group has gone too far. The two groups find each other, and are arguing. Lynda, anxious and on the verge of panicking, goes out for some air. Some time passes, and everyone else decides to go look around to see if she has left. They find her dead in the school, and realize that she must have been killed by someone not a part of either group, since they were all in the same room. Terrified, they go back into the room and lock the door. They decide that they aren’t safe and they need to move. The group looks for a way out of the school, and realize they are locked in. Kirk feels confident that he isn’t going to be killed, as his horror movie knowledge will keep him safe, until he makes a fatal mistake. He goes off by himself to find a way out and figures out who the killer is. With his new knowledge, he has to be killed and is murdered before he can warn the others. The remaining group members head toward sounds of screams, and find Kirk’s body. With little to no hope remaining, they head to the wood shop to try and find a tool to use to break out. In the wood shop, the teens find a tool they can use to break a lock, and all they have left to do is head to the door. They start to hear noises and the lights start to flicker. They know the killer is coming. Chet grabs a saw to try and defend himself as they see the shadow of the killer. He tells Barb and Cory to run and he will stay back and protect them. They start to leave, but Cory pauses. He admits his love for Chet, but knows he has no other choice and has to leave. Cory and Barb run away with tears streaming down Cory’s face as Chet is brutally murdered. The remaining two teens escape the school and head to safety, not knowing who the killer is. They are now good friends, who’s stereotypes have been broken down, leaving two natural humans. The janitor is revealed as the killer as he mops up the blood with a wink.


Producer – Spencer

Director – Willa

Screenwriter – Claire


Line Producer – Ethan

Production Manager – (Sam)

First Assistant Director – Isobel

Second assistant Director – Alex

Craft Services – assigned as needed


Script Editor – Izzy

Script Co-ordinator – Mimi


Location Manager – Isobel

Location Assistant – Claire


Director of Photography – Sam

Camera Operator – Sam


Production Sound Mixer – Robbie

Boom Operator – (Alex)


Key Grip – Calum


Production Designer – Sofia

Art Director – Chiara

Props Master – Mimi


Make-up Artist – Parker


Costumer Designer – Hannah

Costume Assistant – Sofia


Post-production Supervisor – Alex

Editor – Ryan

Assistant Editor – Adam

Visual Effects Supervisor – Robbie

Music Supervisor – Isobel

Over the course of the next few weeks, we would be going through lots and lots of planning, prep and eventually, actual filming. I think I speak for my whole class when I say it was a bumpy road all the way to the finish line. To set the scene: we had about one month to create this movie, once we were finished with all our other work. We started off by getting the script team to write a first draft of the script, while the others were making lists of potential props and getting inventory on camera gear and lights. Once the first draft of the script was done, we all critiques it as a class, with the help of the teachers. And we all had a lot of critique. So, the script writers went back to work with our critique in mind. This went on a few more times, which I believe was the reason our film never actually finished. Whoops, I already spoiled the surprise, we ended up running out of time, and not finishing all our filming. Our deadline for filming was the day before Christmas break, and that itself was an extended date. But nevertheless, it just wasn’t enough time.

There were a few reasons why we lost time, reasons I won’t get into because in the bigger picture, they really aren’t important. What is important, however, is what we learned. Because even though we failed, we still learned a lot. I still learned a lot. One of the biggest learning points for me came from a personal failure during the movie process. As I said before, I was a co-producer, but not for the whole time. Near the end, me, Alex and Adam all stepped down from our positions because we weren’t doing our jobs to the standards expected from our peers and our teachers. This I agreed with. I had not been a producer for the entire time I was supposed to be a producer. This taught me that if I wanted a role with high responsibility and power, that I would have to be responsible. And at that time, I wasn’t doing that. It could be argued that it was because I was concussed at the time, but that’s not important. LEARNING is importanter.

Since I was no longer producer, I stepped down and accepted the role Director of Photography. This role ended up being way more fitting for me personally, and I’m glad that I got the opportunity. Even in the midst of failure, I adapted to my situation and learned from it. DOP was way more tuned to my skills, and I wanted to learn as much as I can about filming while I had the chance. This is because I am planning on pursuing film school as my post secondary education, so I was more inclined to do my best in this position as I was in the role as a producer. So, I made the best of the situation and worked as hard as I could.

The gear I was using

I did actually learn so much from this, camera wise and bigger picture wise. I learned more technical knowledge about using my camera for filming movies, like how different lenses portray different moods, and how important camera placement is. I also tried my best to tackle the difficult nature of showing a story in written words through the lens of a camera lens, which was harder than I had pictured. Bigger picture wise, we failed, but we all learned so much. I personally learned the value and importance of communication and organization. Ironically, I learned that through a lack of communication and organization. Some days, we were all prepared, and other days everything went wrong that could have gone wrong.

But overall, it was a fun project. A stressful and taxing project, but a fun one. If I were to do it again, I’d get more time, and focus on doing all the work possible before we even pick up a camera. I have been talking a lot, so now is the time where you can watch the result of all our blood, sweat and tears. We made a trailer with the footage we filmed, since we just didn’t have enough to complete our movie.

And that is that. Thank you for reading all this, I feel like it was an amazing learning experience. I don’t think I would have said that during the project, but I am wiser now because of this, so I know better.

thats all,

See you

Classic Shakespeare

Well. What do you know. Who woulda thunk. It’s another blog post. And guess what? It’s about my man Shakespeare.

To kick off this year, our grade 12 year, we began our learning journeys by studying a play written over one hundred eighty thousand days ago. Yes, I’m taking about William Shakespeares play The Taming Of The Shrew. But we didn’t start with this, we began way back in the dreamlike time of summer.

Our first Milestone was to read an entire book. From start to finish, over the summer, but we were given a choice between like 5 books in total. I made the decision to read Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. It was written twenty one thousand, ninety nine days ago, making it pretty old. And yet people still read it? But this is something we had to analyze. We were all reading books that were considered to be classic of some nature, which was meant to get us thinking about the unit we would be diving right into at the beginning of grade 12. I found catch 22 really slow and hard to read, with it being so complicated. But that’s only my opinion and I’m not an English expert in any way shape or form. Reading this book did teach me that literature can be studied way deeper than I thought, especially since this was such a high quality book. I realized how much literature matters to our culture and society as it can make us question our rules and beliefs during our time. This is actually something Catch 22 did when it was written, as it brought up controversies about the war. After all, I gained knowledge that would help me for the next part of this unit. But we did have to write a paragraph on it. It was to explain how we think our book is a classic piece of literature. Below is my paragraph:

In North American culture, it’s likely that one will hear the phrase “Catch 22” used. This is “a phrase to be called upon when there seems no way out of the traps life can set for you and when humour really is the best response” (Neary). The way multiple generations have used this phrase to describe their own dilemmas is quite possibly the best argument to why Joseph Heller’s novel is a classic. John, the main character, is a relatable guy whose desire to survive and leave the war is thwarted by Air Force regulation “Catch 22”. The only way to be discharged from military actions was to be crazy, but if you asked to be discharged on account of insanity then you were proved sane and had to continue on with your duty. When this novel was published in November 1961, Americans at the time were going through anti-war movements to end the Vietnam war. Their ancestors had just come through both world wars. The 1960’s generation were tired of taking orders at face value. The idea that war is a paradoxical absurdity established by insane bureaucrats is a major theme throughout Catch-22. Written in a time where previous war novels were all about heroism, Catch 22 “turned heroism on its head”(Neary). It’s about an everyday man who goes to war with only one intent, to leave with his life. Removing heroism creates an instant human connection with the main character John Yossarian and broadens the range of readers of different backgrounds and levels of experience. A classic novel makes connections to current events in its time, and resonates with the audience for more than one generation. The themes and ideals of this perfectly crafted novel reflect this absolutely.

This paragraph was written once we had started our school year. As I said earlier, it kind of was a mini assignment to get our brains thinking about the next phase of the project. And guess what, it was on Shakespeare. Well, actually on his play, Taming of the Shrew. During this entire unit, we were also thinking and studying the roles of women throughout time from back when Shakespeare was still kickin, to the 1960’s. This was one piece of our entire unit.

But the next step was a big one, we were to write an essay explaining why we think the play Taming of the Shrew is a classic.

This was after we went to see a version of it at Bard on the Beach, where it was set in the Wild West as opposed to its original setting in Elizabethan time. I found this quite interesting, it was really cool to see the play rather than just reading it, which I found helped my understanding of the play a lot. The speech of each character was hard to comprehend, but I tried to just understand the jest of what they were saying, and that helped me. After the play, we began researching our essays. I had trouble coming up with my idea, it took a lot more research than I thought to spark an idea for me, but once I gathered all the research I needed, I was ready to write. I actually learned a lot researching this essay, I was confused with the play at first but after researching it, I understood a lot more about the  themes and character motives and all that fun stuff. I learned about how those ideas make the play so deep and meaningful, and how it can still resonate with people in 2019. This was what my essay was about in a nutshell, how the characters and problems that they wrestle with are still relevant to today. But I’ll let you read my actual essay, not just me talking about it.

For a piece of literature to be defined as a classic, it must be judged by many critics to be worthy of that title. For this to happen, it must be relevant over a long period of time, thus appealing to a broad spectrum of audiences. What the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare does so well is connect with its audience through a significant emotional transformation. Several characters in the play go through changes, some physical and comedic, while others are meaningful as they grapple with love and identity. But nevertheless, the appeal of emotional transformation is evident in the suitors false identities, Kate’s escape of entrapment, and the strong influence of Petruchio. 

The physical transformations of Lucentio, Hortensio, and Tranio serve both a comedic and thematic purpose. Encountering their fake transformations at the beginning of the play sets the audience up with the theme of appearance and reality. Lucentio and Tranio trade positions, and together with Hortensio, they set out to attract the same woman, who seems to be the perfect virtuous woman. Shakespeare adds physical comedy into the pursuit of Bianca.  Disguised as a music tutor, Hortensio desperately tries to get Bianca to listen to his music as seen when he interrupts Lucentio’s poetry reading and says “Madam, my instrument is in tune” (3:1:36).  Not being an actual musician, Hortensio cannot truly compete and Lucentio, disguised as a poetry tutor, taunts him by saying “spit in the hole, man, and tune again” (3:1:39). They may change clothes and namesake, but they haven’t changed who the are. They are still the same people underneath their disguises as tutors and instructors, and seek the hand of Bianca, a woman who looks to be the perfect catch, through slyness and trickery. Tranio also changes his clothes to become a “master”. This is funny to the audience who knows who he really is and enjoy seeing a “servant” compete on a higher social level.  However, the fact remains that the change in clothes is only that, a physical transformation. The audiences in the Elizabethan era, as well as modern audiences, find identity switching entertaining. Shakespeare included comedic strategy in the play to directly contrast the real transformation of Kate. Lucentio, Hortensio and Tranio remain the same characters at the end, while Kate does not.  

Kate’s feelings of entrapment and longing for change speak to audiences universally and gets them emotionally involved in her transformation. In the beginning of the play, Kate is frustrated by her lack of respect from her own townspeople, her father's harsh treatment, and her snobby sister.  Audiences understand the pain of being left out and see how it has her torn up inside. Kate is made fun of by the people around her for her brash behaviour. She is talked down often, and publicly, as Tranio remarks “that wench is stark mad or wonderful froward” as Kate approaches them (Act 1:1 69). Her father favours Bianca, and does so in front of Kate. Kate’s own father, Baptista, leaves her out unchaperoned in the street while he goes inside to talk with Bianca, something that was disgraceful in the time. As he goes into his home he instructs Kate to stay outside,  “Katherina, you may stay, for I have more to commune with Bianca” (Act 1:1 101-102). Her sister is the one Baptista really wants to make happy, as he only wants Kate to wed for Bianca's benefit. Bianca is a character the audience starts to despise. Her appearance is a perfect feminine idea of a woman during the time, but in reality she's extremely spoiled and manipulative. Her beauty is her weapon, and she uses it well, using her looks and tears to get her way. An example of her manipulative ways can be found in act three, scene one. She cuts off Lucentio and Hortensio’s bickering and tells them she’s in charge. “I’ll not be tied to hours nor ’pointed times, but learn my lessons as I please myself” (Act 3:1 19-20). She then proceeds to sit with Lucentio, pushing Hortensio away, as she is more fond of Lucentio. In a comedic way Lucentio, Hortensio and Tranio appear to be someone else instead of themselves, and in more serious and emotional way, Bianca’s appearance does not match who she really is.  It is made clear to the audience that Kate is unhappy, and she shows it through her behaviour.  Kate’s situation appeals to anyone who has a heart, as people begin to start rooting for her to become happy. Shakespeare writes in a way where the audience identifies with Kate and wants her to change because they see the reasons behind her behaviour. Her need to escape entrapment and to find change appeals to a vast and diverse audience who recognizes that society can be oppressive, regardless of the time period, and in this case, the lack of women’s basic rights and freedom.

The catalyst for Kate’s transformation is the complex character of Petruchio.  First, Kate must be wed, and so when Petruchio comes along wanting Kate’s hand, Baptista doesn’t hesitate. Petruchio is warned beforehand about her shrewish behaviour, how she is tempered, rude and bossy. But that is no problem for Petruchio, as he says “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padua” (Act 1:2 70-71). His only intentions are to wife someone who is rich, and wealth is enough for him. Even Grumio knows that a shrew is not a problem for Petruchio,  as he says “for he fears none” (Act 1:2 204). Petruchio will not be scared off by Kate’s behaviour. At first, modern audiences would be disgusted by Petruchio but as Act 1 goes on, they realize that Petruchio is the perfect catalyst for Kate’s transformation. Act two scene one shows how Kate and Petruchio are perfectly matched. They have a long conversation where Petrucio matches her wit and cleverness with quick thinking and smooth talking. 

“PETRUCHIO. Come, come, you wasp!

KATE. If I be waspish, best beware my sting. 

PETRUCHIO. My remedy is then to pluck it out.” 

(Act 2:1 211-213). 

As an audience, the chemistry between them becomes clear, but at this time Kate is still closed off towards everyone else. This is meant to make the audience wait in anticipation to see what will unfold. When Petruchio arrives to his wedding in his ragged, torn up clothes, he shocks everyone. He does this to show Kate that she's marrying him for his true character, and the same goes for him. Petruchio goes on to act out against Kate and his suitors, which reflects Kate’s own bad behaviour. She shows compassion towards the suitors which Petrucio sees. Petruchio finally brings out what the audience has been wanting to see from the start. The transformation of Kate. The appeal of finding out what happens to Kate with Petruchio is what draws the audience in, and is what has been drawing people of all experiences in since the day this play was first performed.

The Taming of the Shrew is a play that has been around for a long time, and for good reason. Audiences of different times are drawn in again and again, because of the deep and meaningful connections the characters make to our human nature, something that has remained the same for centuries. We are attracted to the emotions and feelings the characters wrestle with throughout the play, as we have all felt them ourselves. With the father daughter tensions of Kate and Baptista, to the feelings of entrapment Kate feels within her society, there's something that resonates with everyone.  Anyone with a heart can relate to any one of the many characters and feel a connection. This play appeals to so many different people, of any gender, race, or time period that it remains a classic piece of literature. It creates connections through the characters and problems they face, where even though people may not face the same problems, we connect to their emotional transformations in the play. 

And now, for the final product of this entire unit. We were split into groups of three and tasked with creating an animation, which we haven’t really done before. Each group had a different time period assigned to them and my group got the Victorian era. We would set our version of Taming of the Shrew in that time period, and make an animation of the play. We would only do act 1 however, and other groups would do the other 4 acts. Doing this would show that we understand the perspective of people in the Victorian era as we would change the themes and language to match their values and beliefs. But what we found is that we didn’t have to change much, language wise because of how close together the time periods are.

Our first draft wasn’t too great. We only took out a few lines from our act, which made our video a painstaking 17 minutes of extremely bad animation. Here it is:

But after viewing other quite similar animations from our classmates, we all realized what we had to do to improve. For my group, we created characters that we’d all use, we recorded our voices for individual characters rather than whole sections, and we focused on getting different camera angles. We also shortened the script. A lot. So we reduced the time of our whole animation by a lot which made it a lot more bearable.

Final Product:

Reflection Time

I can easily say that this unit has not been my favourite, but I can say I did learn, which is typical in school. But this unit was really eye-opening for me in terms of literature. Researching for hours for stuff to write about for my essay really showed me how much literature can be interpreted. There were many opinions on Taming of the Shrew, and all with good arguments. It makes you think what Shakespeare really meant when he was writing the play, or if he wanted it to be wide open for anyone to interpret. I think it was the latter, as there’s no way to know for sure. But even if I didn’t enjoy reading or listening to Shakespeare, this unit taught me how to break down language and really understand it. I got better at analyzing text with historical perspective, which I’ve been trying to get better at, and I’m happy we brushed up on our animation skills to start off this year. Overall: Solid project. Learned much.

Thats all,


See you