Monday, March 15, 2010

Ides of March

When I was 15 or so, I switched high schools from this teeny, tiny Christian school to this "bigger" Catholic School. I was really excited to go to the same school as Randi, who I had grown up with. We hadn't attended school together since kindergarten, so I thought this would be a real treat. Plus, I hated the tiny Christian school and all it stood for: hypocrisy, secrets, and disgusting behavior (real Christian, right?). We had this awesome English teacher, Mrs. W. She was super cool - I remember loving her class all the time. She had us read "Hotel California" by the Eagles and dissect its parts to determine its meaning. She also had us read Julius Caesar by Shakespeare. Having missed the Freshman year discussion of Romeo and Juliet, I had no idea what to expect from discussions of Julius Caesar. I was really intimidated by Shakespeare, with its fancy language and hidden meanings. I thought I would never understand what all those characters were trying to say. And I never thought I could understand the storyline. What Mrs. W did was allow us to read Julius Caesar over a period of several weeks. She let us read it slowly, and then talked to us about what those passages meant. She also emphasized the simplicity of the play: Shakespeare gives little direction on the parts of the play, merely indicating when characters enter or exit, or perhaps the time of day or the date to give context. Which is one of the reasons why Shakespeare is so timeless. I'm not sure whether we were reading Julius Caesar specifically on the Ides of March, or whether Mrs. W later pointed that out to us. I just know that every Ides of March since then (I've had nearly 20!) I have thought about Julius Caesar, Mrs. W and Shakespeare.

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