Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back to School: Adventures of an English Major in Drama

Winter break has come and gone much too quickly for my tastes, and again I am back in the vice-like grip of my education. Homework began pouring in before I had even been to all of my classes once, and as an English major this only means excessive amounts of reading. As a bibliophile, excessive amounts of reading is supposed to be good, right? Well, in order to understand, imagine you really like chocolate a lot (I'm sure you do.) You love eating chocolate and do so on a daily basis. Now, through some bizarre twist of events, you are told that you must eat a minimum of three pounds of chocolate a day. You will not get to pick which chocolates you eat. Every day you will go to a special place to receive the chocolate, spend a few hours there talking about chocolate, then go home and eat all of it. Sometimes the chocolate will be delicious, sometimes it will be filled with that weird gooey stuff which isn't good at all. Either way, you will eat all of it or suffer the consequences. How much do you like chocolate now?

Well, if you're like me, you still like chocolate (or... books) very much. Even being forced to read can't take away my love of reading, but it can make it more than a bit tiresome. Especially since I have a tendency to unintentionally register for only one type of literature class at a time. Those of you who have been following my posts know that last semester I read nothing but adolescent books from August until early December. This semester is the next installment in Kelsey's "What the Hell Was I Thinking?!" registration story. I'm taking Shakespeare II (the second half of Shakespeare's work) and Modern British and European Drama at the moment. This means from now until May I will read almost exclusively plays written on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

From first glance, this will undoubtedly drive me crazy. I will very likely begin to think in terms of dialogue only, setting the scenes everywhere I go in italicized descriptions in my head. On the other hand, though, I can already tell that this will be an interesting combination. While I learn about the difficulties Shakespeare faced in bringing theater to 17th Century England, I am also learning about the censorship playwrights dealt with hundreds of years later. While trying to understand Shakespeare's complex and often outdated language, I will also struggle with the nonsensical lines of Beckett's characters in Waiting for Godot.

I'll be sure to keep you updated on my struggles and triumphs as the semester sails along. So far, Measure for Measure (by Shakespeare) and Major Barbara (by George Bernard Shaw) are the first on the chopping block. So far so good, but we've only just begun...

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