The Taming of the Blue Stocking

Welcome back to my blog! I hope you enjoyed my video, and I’ll get to explaining it soon. I’m very excited to share the journey of my final year of high school on here. This year, we started off by diving into classic literature. Classic literature is a little hard to define. It typically is literature that has stood the test of time, and has a couple of specific traits, such as having high artistic quality, or having universal appeal. Some examples of classic novels are books such as Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby. As with every unit, we had a couple of core competencies to focus while we worked. Here they are if you’re curious.

Explain and infer different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, or events by considering prevailing norms, values, worldviews, and beliefs
Appreciate and recognize and understand the role of personal, social, and cultural contexts, values, and perspectives in texts, including culture, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic factors and how language is used to construct personal, social, and cultural identity, including discerning nuances in the meanings of words, considering social, political, historical, and literary contexts.

We technically started this unit before the school year even started. Over the summer we were given a list of classic novels to choose from. We each had to read one before school started. I chose to read The English Patient. I chose this novel because I really enjoy reading stories based around War. It took me a while to get into but I ended up really enjoying it. Our first assignment this year was to write a paragraph explaining why the novel we read was a classic. Here is mine.

The English Patient was written in such a thoughtful and descriptive way. The text is extremely meaningful and paints pictures in your head. It is of a quality so high, that few other authors could right texts like this. It contains outstanding imagery, and the writing can be compared to poetry at points. Ondaatje makes even the most simple of things, such as an evening sky, into a stunning image that you can feel in every sense. “The long Cairo evenings. The sea of night sky, hawks in rows until they are released at dusk, arcing towards the last colour of the desert. A unison of performance like a handful of thrown seed”(Ondaatje 280). Everything about the descriptions in this book are beautiful. It is so beautifully written that you don’t just read it, but you see it as if you were living through the story. The English Patient is a piece of artwork that everyone can appreciate, even if they don’t like the story. That’s what makes this book a classic.

When we arrived at school, we began with learning the definition of a classic. Once we had that down, we were given our project for this unit. The driving question for this unit is “How can we create animated shorts that use “The Taming of the Shrew” to explain the the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past?”. I’m case you can’t tell by that question, the project was to make an animated short of one act of The Taming of the Shrew. The Taming of the Shrew is a classic play written by William Shakespeare. It has been redone many times into plays and even movies, such as The 10 Things I Hate About You. It was written during the Elizabethan era, and our job was to set one scene of it to a different era. This meant doing a lot of work learning about the literature, and historical context. It also meant we had to sharpen up our animation skills. We were put in 5 groups as there are 5 scenes in the play. I was put in a group with Sam and Izzy.

To help us sharpen the skills we needed, we had to individually make a short video explaining the historical perspective of women in the time period we were assigned. My group was assigned the Victorian era. I did lots of research on the era and the way they spoke at the time. I even tried Puppet Pals 2 out for the first time in years to see if it was a good way to animate our scene. It wasn’t.

Throughout this unit we were also assigned an essay to write about what makes The Taming of the Shrew a classic, focusing on only one aspect of a classic. That it made it very challenging to write. Of course we couldn’t write this essay without seeing the play, so we were lucky enough that Bard on the Beach was performing it. Our teachers organized for us to go see it. It was also set in a different time era than the original. It was set in the Wild West, which helped everyone get an understanding of how they could change the era of their scene.

Once I had to good understanding of the play, I did a little more research then I was ready to write my essay. Here is my essay.

Throughout time there have been pieces of art that have stood the test of time. These pieces, whether they be stories, poems, plays, or movies, are considered classics because of their outstanding, high quality. Literature is a form of art that has many different classics. There is no true definition of being a classic, but there are certain qualities that classic literature must have to be generally agreed upon as being a classic. The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare is a classic, and not only because of whom it was written by. It has many of the qualities that make literature a classic. One quality of a classic that stands out is the artistic quality of The Taming of the Shrew. The Taming of the Shrew was written during the Elizabethan era in England. It is believed that The Taming of the Shrew was one of the earliest plays that Shakespeare wrote. Everyone knows that Shakespeare was a talented play write, but that is because he was quite well educated for the time he lived in. His education allowed him to write amazing plays that not only had engaging stories, but also had beautiful, poetic language. That is what stands out in The Taming of the Shrew. The story of this play no longer connects with or appeals to the audience. It is the language that draws people in. The poetry is so beautiful that it is what makes you feel emotions while reading or watching the play, as the story struggles to do that in present time. It is the way that Lucentio describes seeing Bianca for the first time, “I saw her coral lips to move, And with her breath she did perfume the air. Sacred and sweet was all I saw in her.”(Shakespeare 48), that keeps this play popular. Poetry is something people can really connect to. It draws out more emotions from people. The poetry in The Taming of the Shrew helps the play flow and is truly touching to read and hear. It is moving, and people like to be moved. People can really learn from this type of literature, as poetry like this isn’t commonly used today. It is not just the poetry, but also the language that makes The Taming of the Shrew stand the test of time. There is a certain beauty to the Middle English that this play is written in. This play as been performed thousands of times in many different ways, but many people choose to keep the original language, as it provokes more emotions. You wouldn’t get to experience the same feelings if it was written in modern English. It takes you back to the time period of Shakespeare and makes you feel connected to the history of the time. People read this play for language such as, “Well mayst thou woo, and happy be thy speed! But be thou arm’d for some unhappy words.”(Shakespeare 77). It wouldn’t have the same effect if it had words such as “dude” or “totally” in it. The language may also be a challenge for some people to understand, so it draws people back to it multiple times. This way they can truly appreciate how fascinating it is. It’s almost as if you are learning a new language while you read. There is something so graceful about the language. It’s both pleasing to read an hear. It flows so nicely and is very refreshing to hear. It gives a quality to The Taming of the Shrew that many other pieces of literature don’t have, and many people enjoy. People still want to read and see The Taming of the Shrew because of how it was written. It is a true piece of literary art. The poetry is quiet alluring. It draws you in and keeps you hooked onto every word. It makes you feel emotions in ways that only the story can’t do. The language it is written in is inspiring. It connects you to history, and is something any generation can learn from. The Taming of the Shrew has been a popular piece of literature for hundreds of years, and it will probably continue to be popular for many more years. It is written in a very high standard that can appeal to the hardest critics. The pure beauty and poetry of the play is something that can appeal to everyone of all generations. This is the reason that it has stood the test of time and is considered a classic.

Once all of the research and learning was complete, we were ready to make our animation. My group was assigned Act 1. Before we could start the actual animating, we had to make a story board and edit the script. Editing the script to fit our era was difficult because the Victorian era is very similar to the Elizabethan era. We were able to make a few changes. We made Baptista a factory owner as the Victorian era was the start of the industrial revolution. We also made Kate a Blue Stocking, which means she was extremely into books and learning things such as science and math. That was seen as very unattractive at the time. She was also less covered up than Bianca as that was unattractive too. We completed our first draft to see what everything would look like. It was 18 mins long and very confusing. I do not recommend watching the whole thing, but here it is.

We realized we still had to cut the script a lot and make a few changes with our audio.  We went write to work making new characters, cutting the script, and recording new voices. Our second draft shows a lot of improvement and is much stronger. I hope you enjoy watching it. Now that I have a greater understanding of literature and how to analyze it, I’m ready for the next unit, and it’s going to be a very spooky unit 👻.

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