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The role of drama in the study of literature Morrison, Evlyn Ruth 1996

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T H E R O L E O F D R A M A IN T H E S T U D Y O F  LITERATURE  by EVLYN RUTH  MORRISON  B . A , M c G i l l University, 1983 B . E d , University of Dalhousie, 1984  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in  T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES ( D e p a r t m e n t of Language E d u c a t i o n )  W e accept this thesis^as^conforming to the required standard  The University of British C o l u m b i a , 1 9 9 6 © E v l y n R u t h M o r r i s o n , 1996  In  presenting  degree freely  this  thesis  in partial  fulfilment  of the requirements  at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it available for reference and study.  copying  of this  department publication  thesis  for scholariy  I further agree that  purposes  or by his o r her representatives. of this  Department  of  It  DE-6 (2/88)  by the head of my  is understood  that  thesis for financial gain shall not b e allowed without  ^CJUL  _t a. 1 * <3  / ,  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  G-^xjL  permission for extensive  may b e granted  permission.  Date  for an advanced  "2- \  -  1 £p  ^-SUx^3^^—^-  copying or my written  ABSTRACT  This qualitative research study examines the differing ways that students and teacher  i n a Jewish secondary school negotiate, reconstruct, and find  personal  relevancy i n their learning about literature through drama. T h e sequence of lessons used by the author consists of nine steps designed to integrate dramatic experiences with language and literature activities for the purpose o f depicting thematic ideas, isolating sub-text, and illustrating various aspects of a Shakespearean  text. A s  percipient, which means to be observer and participant, the author participated i n the drama activities and also observed how she and the  students were reacting to  the  dramatic activities. T h e dramatic sequence was implemented i n a n E n g l i s h eight class over a p e r i o d of six weeks from M a y to June of the school year i n 1992. Student subjects and selection of grade was based on drama material that h a d been previously prepared to meet the content recommendations suggested by the B . C . M i n i s t r y of E d u c a t i o n . A variety of data collection techniques were employed to identify the literacy behaviours and written responses extending from the drama. These techniques  included five sources  of data. T h e y were  (1) students'  homework  assignments, (2) exam question responses, (3) video tapes o f a l l classes, (4) audio tapes of the classes, and (5) taped interviews with three students. W r i t t e n responses to the d r a m a activities included both personal reflections and critical thinking compositions.  ii  T h e author finally reflects o n the potential for learning about literature through d r a m a to develop specific cognitive processes that result i n a restructured knowledge base. She then presents her own personal and pedagogical observations w h i c h account for the discrepancies that occur between students' oral responses and their written responses, and concludes that written expression was a crucial step i n the students' process of meaning making.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  ABSTRACT  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  v  I  S U M M E R 1990  1  II  T H E W A YF O R W A R D  3  T h i n k i n g about Shakespeare M y Direction  6 8  III  T H E CHOSEN ROUTE Establishing the Site C o m m i t t i n g to the Project M y Teaching R o l e  10 11 13 14  IV  DOCUMENTING THE EXPERIENCE T h e students' thoughts and reflections T h e first step: " A n Introduction" T h e second step: " F r o m A n c i e n t Grudge" T h e third step: "Physicalizing the Grudge" T h e fourth step: "In F a i r V e r o n a " T h e fifth step: "Let L i p s do what H a n d s D o " T h e sixth step: "Shame Shall C o m e to R o m e o " T h e seventh step: "I'll T h y Assistant B e " T h e eighth step: "Poor Sacrifices of our E n m i t y " T h e ninth step: "Some Shall be P a r d o n ' d and Some Shall be Punished" F i n d i n g the writer's voice T h e w o r l d of the students' written responses  15 17 18 20 31 32 38 44 47 51 54 57 59  PARTING THOUGHTS  88  V  REFERENCES  92  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  T o m y husband Jeff whose patience and love supported me i n reaching this goal. T o my writing partner and friend, L e e B o l t o n R o b i n s o n , for her friendship a n d wise counsel. T o my advisor, D r . Pat V e r r i o u r for encouraging me to begin the journey, and then later for his guidance and thoughtful analysis. T o my students for their insights and enthusiasm.  v  S U M M E R 1990  A s an E n g l i s h teacher who h a d w o r k e d i n a public school system for my first three years and then i n a private Jewish school for an additional three years, I often h a d a difficult time teaching students about the different positions that a narrator can assume i n relation to a story's action. These "hidden things", as B o l t o n (1984) describes them, such as the narrator's choice to write i n the first or third person, are the very essence of storytelling. W h a t I was lacking was an artful way of making more accessible these "hidden things" that a class should learn. I had also found it difficult to foster i n the students an understanding of the many different points of view that they could use to express themselves i n their own writing. In the summer o f 1990 I was introduced to the teachings of G a v i n B o l t o n and discovered a dramatic approach which could effectively demonstrate to the students how to extract from a novel their own understanding of narrative points o f view. This m e t h o d is called C h a m b e r Theatre, "where an extract from a novel is closely examined and, by using a range o f narratorial 'voices', the actual lines of the script (not necessarily i n dialogue) can be performed" (Bolton, 1990, p.26). A s a way of closely examining written text and its contextual background, the students may act as narrator or two actors may act as two narrators while another gives the 'alter-ego' or thoughts of a character. Still another may wish to describe the political influences or social circumstances that give rise to the action and the scene. 1  In this k i n d of 'illustrative/performance activity', the learning responsibility for engaging i n these 'hidden things' may lie within the small groups of actors or with the rest o f the class as directors (Bolton, 1992, p.26). It occurred to me that this type of strategy, and many others learned during the course, could profoundly change my approach to teaching Shakespeare. It was not until the winter of that year that I began to actually implement some of these  dramatic  strategies into the planning of my English classes and more specifically into the planning of my lessons o n Shakespeare. In retrospect, what had happened was a real paradigmatic shift i n my o w n approach to teaching. U s i n g d r a m a i n the teaching of literature is a very different experience from teaching a skills based program. A s teacher I could no longer stand o n the outside and direct; nor could I continue to think of the students as empty vessels or b l a n k slates w h o w o u l d sit quietly by the hour reciting Shakespeare. Instead of indoctrinating the students w i t h ideas about interpreting Shakespearean literature, I began to think o f myself less and less as exclusively an English teacher, but more and m o r e as a participant i n the d r a m a activities, a researcher observing the learning and a facilitator creating structures for the students to discover and explore themes and images i n the written text.  2  THE WAY FORWARD  G i v e n the possibilities for divergence i n the fields of teaching literary text and d r a m a education, I was surprised to find so many points of convergence. F o r example, in D r a m a In Teaching English, Evans (1984) suggests, " A n y successful linking o f E n g l i s h and drama requires: a) knowledge of the nature of both, and specifically the constants, the parameters which b i n d them closely; b) knowledge of the uses to which drama can be put i n achieving English objectives, and of the way English and d r a m a can co-exist and develop; c) a realization of the implications, both for the classroom relationship and classroom organization, of any linking" (p.21). E v a n s ' position is similar to others w h o support the placement of drama i n the English curriculum given its connection to literature and literacy development. H e r e drama is viewed as a starting point for the study of a literary text, for illuminating key aspects of the text, and for extending meaning and m a k i n g thematic connections. In her study of the effects of role playing on written persuasion, W a g n e r (1986) describes the relationship of dramatic symbolic play to literacy. She states that "since the acquisition of literacy is dependent o n the manipulation of symbols and increasing decontextualizing of language, social symbolic play provides a useful bridge to literacy" (p.89). T h e literacy theory of Rosenblatt also seems to support the use of d r a m a i n the study o f literature. In Literature as E x p l o r a t i o n (1938) she elaborates on her m o d e l for reading as follows, "the teacher of literature will be the first to admit that he inevitably deals with the experiences of h u m a n beings i n their diverse personal and social relations. T h e very nature of literature, he will point out, enforces this" (p.5). If the 3  challenge of literature is for the reader "to participate i n another's vision," to fathom the vicissitudes of the h u m a n spirit, and to persist with the question of what h u m a n traits can be seen i n the text as being universal despite cultural changes, Rosenblatt states that the experience should not just be about reading literature for factual information, but also be about reading for an aesthetic experience. In T h e R e a d e r , the Text, the P o e m (1978), she theorizes that there exists two different  reading stances:  the  "efferent",  which is reading to  retrieve  factual  information, and the "aesthetic" reading stance, which is not only about "the arousal of expectation" that a text can elicit but is also about the "synthesis of further responses" to a text. This could include a re-reading of a text, a decoding of a text and an inevitable distancing from a text to reshape the reader's own experience of reading. R o s s (1992) raises the pertinent question of whether or not Rosenblatt's theory of reading can be seen to support its use i n educational drama. H i s answer is, I believe that drama may b o t h sustain and enlarge the aesthetic stance which she endorses. It can also support the existential or lived-through experience which the text initiates. It may also assist i n the construction of public responses from private evocations gained from the reading of the text and shared within the social interaction of the drama. Finally, it may enable reflection i f the possibilities of the drama are juxtaposed with the text and its interpretation. If meaning results i n literature from transaction between reader and text, meaning may also be said to result i n drama from the transaction between  the real  w o r l d i n which the student is situated and the fictive w o r l d into  which he or she agrees to enter (p.36).  Bolton's (1979) thinking is congruent with Ross and Rosenblatt i n his identification of the learning that takes place when the student engages i n the social interaction o f the drama. B o l t o n states that the very act of make believe is an intellectual exercise that develops a number of cognitive skills, (1) "it encourages an anticipation of consequences", (2) "it encourages a 'reading between the lines' of what is being expressed", (3) "it encourages weighing up the pros and cons i n decision-making", and most importantly, (4) the student develops a capacity for standing outside himself to see his own actions, thoughts, and experience as objects to be reflected u p o n (Bolton, 1992, p. 117). B o l t o n sees drama as a learning medium, learning i n the illustrative mode, and having to do with m a k i n g meaningful connections through the creation of opportunities i  so that these connections might be made. T h e relevance o f this statement for English teachers teaching literature through drama is to not act out an entire story from beginning to end but to "drop down" (Bolton, 1984) into the plot or a particular part of the narrative to explore, i n a lived-out and "visualized" way, so that the implications underneath  several layers of text might be realized.  T h e student's contextual  framework w i l l have been changed, and learning has occurred through the student's o w n efforts to define a point of view and to dramatically w o r k on giving it expression. H e r e Bolton's theory o n educational drama supports the use of drama i n the area of literacy as presented by W a g n e r and the teaching of literature as presented by Rosenblatt.  5  Thinking About Shakespeare  H y n d s (1990) surveyed English students o n the question of how they felt about the texts that h a d been selected for classroom study.  She documented the following  responses, 1. F i n d more interesting stories. 2. N o t to study o l d plays like Shakespeare. 3. I w o u l d like to read good stories that I can "get into". 4. I don't consider all of Shakespeare's works that good, and I w o u l d rather read a b o o k that has more contemporary applications than H a m l e t . I w o u l d like to concentrate o n philosophical questions raised by the story rather than simply rehashing the story i n class to m a k e sure everyone understood it (1990, p.255).  H y n d s stated that these readers did not have the "will" to read Shakespeare and r e c o m m e n d e d that readers develop a motivation to read i f they are to participate i n a "supportive community of readers".  She also added that readers should be given  personally relevant choices i n order to perceive themselves as "members of a literate community" (Hynds, 1990). W h a t H y n d s recognizes is the need for teachers to create succinct parallels between the students' social competencies and their literary behavior competencies. "In real life, we are most interested i n understanding people w h o affect us i n some significant way, and w h o can teach us something about ourselves" (p.252).  Presumably then, the prerequisite for a more complete reading of text is not only cognitive i n nature.  It is not merely the ability to understand a given text but the 6  ability to possess  a "social intelligence" that can create inferences of personal  significance from the text. Thus, the "good reading" that H y n d s describes must find the reader encountering the text as i f it were similar to, or explicative of, "real life" (p.253). I h o p e d that by introducing Shakespearean script through a planned sequence of dramatic activities the students w o u l d find both a supportive and  interpretive  community of readers, and w o u l d experience a higher level of participation and personal relevance i n their encounters with the written text. Resulting from  the  influence of Bolton's work, my focus on the plays has shifted from teaching the content i n a traditional manner according to universal themes, poetic form, and imagery, to a n active engagement w i t h the life o f the text through drama. A n active engagement means that the students are invited to depict for themselves thematic content and, where appropriate, to recognize the logic behind the social issues that arise from the text. It insists that meaning is more important than method when choosing, designing, and evaluating the lessons being studied. Personal, cultural, and social development are paramount.  7  M y Direction  A n d so this 'paradigmatic shift' i n my approach to teaching English has been profoundly influenced by my study of educational drama, and the role it plays i n b o t h understanding and integrating various aspects of the new Y e a r 2000 B . C . school curriculum. Bolton's (1984) theory of teaching, similar to the learning goals of the new curriculum, brings the students closer to what the implications of their learning might be. D r a m a i n education gives the students an opportunity to become engaged w i t h the subject matter. T h e example given o f the illustrative/performance activity of C h a m b e r Theatre is only one example of how educational drama can encourage students to w o r k collectively, and can help to give them an opportunity to apply critical thinking skills and decision-making skills i n a life-like social context. I soon realized that i n order to further my own understanding of the power o f d r a m a i n learning about literature, I w o u l d have to observe and describe the learning capabilities of E n g l i s h students. This I w o u l d do by documenting their responses as they engaged i n the dramatic activities and subsequently reflected on the activities i n written form.  In doing so, I also saw the opportunity to explore the significance o f  creating social contexts i n the classroom as being instrumental i n b o t h helping the students to negotiate meaning, and i n further developing literacy behaviours. T h e possibility that educational drama experiences can enhance the students' understanding of Shakespearean script l e d me to the present question, what exactly is the role of d r a m a i n the teaching of literature? T h e following question provided me with the m a i n direction for my study:  8  W h a t are the different oral and written ways that students and teacher find expression for, negotiate, reconstruct, and find personal relevancy i n their learning about literature through drama?  9  THE CHOSEN ROUTE  M y writing partner and I had created the sequences of dramatic activities for R o m e o and Juliet i n the spring of 1992 ( M o r r i s o n and B o l t o n R o b i n s o n , 1992), and I h a d used the dramatic sequence successfully with several different E n g l i s h classes. I became concerned with the idea of recording literate behaviours and, at the same time, interpreting the phenomena of integrating dramatic experiences as a way of meeting the objectives o f the regular literature program.  F r o m the outset I found myself pondering the following questions and issues: 1. H o w d i d the students feel about this new approach? 2. H o w effective w o u l d this new approach be i n advancing the student's language and cognitive development? 3. H o w successful w o u l d drama i n education be i n terms of sparking a genuine interest i n Shakespeare i n the students? 4. In what different ways w o u l d the students negotiate personal meaning i n their learning about literature through drama? 5. W h a t w o u l d be the students' perceptions of their own learning about literature through drama? 6. W o u l d the thematic content of the drama relate to their Jewish historical and cultural background?  10  Establishing the Site Access to the subjects and the site presented no difficulties as I was the designated E n g l i s h teacher during the time of the study. A s a teacher researcher involved i n the process of directing the drama project, my function was threefold, (1) to engage the students i n their learning, (2) to direct the drama and observe the events of the d r a m a as a teacher-in-role, and (3) to collect data that w o u l d document these events. M y classroom was the most obvious and appropriate site for the study as the students from the grade eight class had been attending classes i n this r o o m from the beginning o f the year. M y classroom is rather small, has two large windows and is located i n the far west wing of the school. T h e windows look out onto a vast playing field a n d beyond that a view o f the mountains. T h e r o o m is carpeted, has i n it a teacher's desk at the centre front, a large seminar table on the left side and two rows of desks to the right. This classroom is one of a total of eight classrooms i n the entire school. T h e r e are approximately fifty students enrolled i n the school, a l l of w h o m are of Jewish heritage. T h e school h a d originally been nothing more than a dream of one R a b b i w h o was firmly committed to the idea of advancing both H e b r e w and Judaic studies among the young Jewish people i n the area. There are presently no other Jewish high schools i n the province. A s an independent and fledgling institution, the school gained its accreditation status from the Ministry i n phases. Accreditation was granted for grade eight and nine i n 1987 which was followed by accreditation of grades ten to twelve i n 1990. A p p r o x i m a t e l y ten percent of the students have immigrated to C a n a d a from the M i d d l e East a n d E a s t e r n E u r o p e a n countries, and require E n g l i s h as a Second Language ( E S L ) instruction. 11  T h e school has developed and implemented two curricula, the traditional general studies and the Judaic studies, which include T a l m u d , Jewish L a w , N a v i , C h u m a s h , H e b r e w and Jewish values. E S L was offered i n the school at the time o f the study. A l l the students are required to complete a set number of Judaic credits i n addition to the general study requirements mandated by the Ministry. Because of this dual curriculum students attend school from 8:25 A M to 4:10 P M and many attend an after school Judaic class extending their school day by one hour. T h e structure of an average school day differs from a regular public school day with an afternoon prayer n a m e d M i n c h a . T h e Jewish people pray three times daily, and the middle prayer, M i n c h a , represents a type of service to G o d practised by the Jewish people during the time of the first and the second temples. A s the Jewish people are waiting for the holy temple to be rebuilt, this prayer or D a v e n i n g replaces the early temple sacrifices and prayers that were made to G o d . These sacrifices were intended to arouse a m o o d of repentance  i n the participant. So the prayer is,  therefore, a temporary but important substitute for this ancient ritual. T h e students greet these prayers with a mixed response, some with indifference, some with rebellion a n d others with dedication and devotion. Other orthodox requirements that are inherent to the school's philosophy and practices include an adherence to a strict dress code, the wearing of a K i p p o t for the males, and the attending of regular Shabbot and other religious holiday assemblies. T h e religious nature of the school provides a layer of richness to class discussions and is often at the heart of the students' written expressions of their views o n life and o n society. D u r i n g the course of my study I began to recognize the importance of the religious content of the data I had collected. 12  Committing to the Project  O f the fifty students enrolled i n English classes, the grade eight class consisted of ten students. A l l the students involved i n the study had obtained permission to do so. T h r e e students from the class volunteered to be interviewed for the purpose of gathering data. M y selection of the grade was based o n d r a m a material previously p r e p a r e d for a grade eight level class. This material had been prepared to meet gradespecific content recommendations suggested by the Ministry. Students were informed of the change i n the approach to learning a Shakespearean play and were told that their written and verbal responses to the w o r k w o u l d form a part of m y research analysis.  13  M y Teaching R o l e  A s I h a d been teaching at the school for three years, the students were all quite familiar with my expectations and my teaching style. I described some of the different kinds of activities that we w o u l d be engaging i n as a way of learning about the play, a n d also explained that I w o u l d not always be assuming the role of "expert" but throughout the drama I w o u l d be i n role as the  facilitator or co-learner. T h r o u g h  these roles, I further explained, we w o u l d question the character's motives i n the play, we w o u l d reflect on several of the themes i n the play, and we w o u l d document i n written form our responses to these activities. A s a percipient, which means to be both observer and participant, I participated i n the d r a m a activities and also observed how I was reacting to the dramatic sequences and how the students were reacting to them. A s teacher i n role I assumed the role of Prince Escalus, the lawgiver i n R o m e o and Juliet. T h i s role served to b u i l d belief and a sense of commitment i n the students. It also enabled me to employ more creative strategies for asking questions and for assigning follow-up written homework.  14  DOCUMENTING THE EXPERIENCE  A s a teacher researcher, I employed a variety of data collection techniques i n order to identify the learning and to observe the literacy behaviours extending from the d r a m a experiences. These techniques included five sources of data, including (1) students' h o m e w o r k assignments, (2) predetermined exam question responses, (3) video tapes of a l l classes, (4) audio tapes of the classes, and (5) taped interviews with three students. Students wrote i n their exercise books to explore and reflect on their experiences as a result of participating i n the drama. They also wrote i n these books as a means of extending a discussion, or for the purpose of introducing a content related issue to be explored i n the next day's lesson. O t h e r written responses  to  the  dramatic  sequences  included a  predetermined exam questions that I had created, and several  series of  creative writing  assignments. A n example of one of the creative writing assignments was to script the unheard gossip that might have been exchanged between servants after Juliet's sudden death and R o m e o ' s banishment. These assignments were designed to encourage the students to explore their own insights on a given social situation or political d i l e m m a . E x a m questions required the students to discuss, explore, and answer i n the form o f written compositions, the larger m o r a l or social questions raised i n the plays. V i d e o footage was gathered by recording each class from beginning to end. This was done either by myself or by a student i n the class. O n e or two students w h o were self trained with video equipment volunteered to film the group presentations using hand h e l d shots or close up shots. 15  A u d i o taping was done i n two ways. If the students were w o r k i n g i n groups each group was responsible for operating their own cassette recorder while one m e m b e r from the group documented the name o f the lesson and wrote each member's name o n the outside o f the cassette. If the drama activity involved the participation of the whole class, one tape recorder was set up i n the center o f the classroom and remained on r e c o r d for the duration of the drama experience. I included interviewing as a part of my data collection strategy. T h r e e students from the class volunteered to be interviewed, and were asked to describe i n detail what each of the steps i n the drama h a d meant to them personally. I asked t h e m to include in their descriptions, any new perceptions or new ways of thinking that they h a d experienced as a result of participating i n the drama. I then proceeded to inquire as to what they h a d learned from step number one, "Brainstorming the Grudge", and then step n u m b e r two, "Physicalizing the Grudge", and so on. These interviews often developed into lengthy discussions based on a wide range o f topics.  16  The Students' Thoughts and Reflections  Throughout the study, students are given pseudonyms so as to assure their anonymity. D a t a from the student journals, essay responses, and transcriptions of taped interviews are presented verbatim. T h e description of the nine steps of the d r a m a and the subsequent description of student responses to the drama, provided me with the necessary data from which to conduct this study. T h e following description of drama activities took approximately six weeks o f classroom time: these included three one hour sessions per week, regular h o m e w o r k time, and a two hour final written response. T h e nine sequential steps to the drama were designed by myself and a colleague and were intended to provide the students with an introduction to the sixteenth century setting, the characters, the atmosphere of the feud, the developing plot, and the language and imagery of R o m e o and Juliet. T h e nine sequential steps invited the students to engage i n activities such as brainstorming a grudge, storying the origin of a grudge, physicalizing a grudge, role playing a market scene, writing lines o f script, presenting epitaphs, and finally reflecting o n their own level of responsibility and involvement i n the enmity that existed between the two feuding families. T h e dramatic experiences were not designed for the purpose o f dramatizing the entire plot but rather were intended to be integrated into other language and literature activities for the specific purpose of illuminating certain key aspects o f the story.  17  The First Step: "An Introduction"  M y objective for this first activity was to focus o n (a) the political conflicts that are central to the play, and (b) the atmosphere and theme of human discord as manifested i n a grudge. So I began with the following words: " W i l l i a m Shakespeare's R o m e o and Juliet is set i n V e r o n a , Italy during the sixteenth century. H i s direct source for the play was A r t h u r B r o o k e ' s p o e m entitled T h e T r a g i c a l H i s t o r y of R o m e u s and Juliet published i n 1562. T h e spirit o f the Renaissance began i n the city-states of northern Italy during the late 1400's and continued into the early 1500's. These Italian city states had grown extremely wealthy, mainly because merchants from V e n i c e , G e n o a , and Pisa controlled the most profitable trade routes to the eastern Mediterranean. M a n y of these city-states, such as V e r o n a , were  not  only i n competition with, but were frequently  at war with, wealthy  neighbouring families. Because our play opens with a scene of servants on the  street  armed w i t h bucklers, we know that all is not well i n V e r o n a . V e r y quickly, these servants of the two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, break into a fight, one hating their enemy as m u c h as the other." I wrote the following four lines of Prologue o n the board and asked the students to find the lines i n their own texts. T w o households, both alike i n dignity, In fair V e r o n a , where we lay our scene, F r o m ancient grudge break new mutiny, W h e r e civil b l o o d makes civil hands unclean. (Prologue 1.1-4) I further explained, 18  " B l o o d is going to be spilled and this civil b l o o d w i l l make civil hands unclean. T h e very order o f the entire town is to be disturbed. A n g r y young servants r o a m the streets challenging each other with words such as, ' D r a w thy tool', suggesting the idea of love b o u n d u p with violent death. Benvolio, nephew of M o n t a g u e and a good friend o f the m a i n character R o m e o , enters the scene. Tybalt, the nephew of L a d y Capulet, also enters. H e is a hostile and fiery character and is terribly k e e n o n fighting. E v e n o l d M o n t a g u e and o l d Capulet, the heads of the two houses, attempt to enter into the feud action." A s a n aside I added: "It w o u l d not have been unlikely that as bankers or wealthy merchants, o l d M o n t a g u e and o l d Capulet w o u l d have been, b e h i n d the scenes, vying for large profits through commercial ventures or negotiating loans with the princes and/or with the leaders of the church. Finally, the Prince of V e r o n a w h o is the lawgiver, enters the bloody street scene and attempts to restore the peace a n d good w i l l of his city." I invited the students to answer and discuss ideas about where we might find instances o f such power and wealth today, what influences do such people have, and how c o m m o n might grudges be between these kinds people? T h e students immediately answered by listing several examples, (1) Israel and Palestine (2) B o s n i a  and  Herzegovina, (3) Catholics versus Protestants, (4) pro-abortionists versus pro-lifers (5) environmentalists versus logging industrialists, (6) wars over l a n d or money, and (7) marital differences. This class was excited about the activity. E v e r y o n e h a d something to relate and was k e e n o n sharing and extending their ideas. T h e d r a m a h a d begun.  19  The Second Step: "From Ancient Grudge"  I briefly explained the derivation of the w o r d "grudge". I then asked the students to find a partner and to brainstorm as many different types of grudges of which they could think and also to consider possible origins for these grudges. A f t e r five minutes of doing this I then asked them to write a short dialogue that might have developed between any one of the two opposing parties. This activity took them about ten minutes to complete and they are quickly ready to read their dialogues aloud. T h e first group of students presented their work; they have titled it, "The grudge of Christians versus Jews",  Ishmael:  H e y y o u Jew!  Josh:  Shalom, S h a l o m H a l e c h a m .  Ishmael:  Y o u dirty Jew y o u used my child's b l o o d to make your matzas.  Josh:  W h a t ? W e do not kill. W e are not murderers. It is against our T O R A H !  Ishmael:  T o r a h - S o r a h . D o n ' t tell me stories, I saw with my o w n eyes.  Josh:  So y o u are happy with what H i t l e r d i d with us Jews. H a ! I can see it. Y o u are very happy.  Ishmael:  Y e s ! I a m very happy, and I w o u l d have done the same.  Josh:  Listen, I don't want to argue with you, and y o u can believe whatever y o u want. B u t we are not murderers, and we w o u l d never do such a thing. Good-bye, I must leave as I a m late for Shul.  Ishmael:  Shalom Halecham.  20  In setting up this activity I had expected more everyday adolescent issues to arise based o n either school or T . V . related themes or on issues based o n their o w n personal lives. W h i l e some of these issues did surface, I was genuinely surprised at the degree o f emotional intensity demonstrated by the students regardless o f the nature the content. T h e next grudge dialogue was called "The Student Grudge": Rachel:  W a i t a minute, y o u didn't do the homework and I did.  Maya:  So?  Rachel:  W e l l , w o r k on the project at lunch since we are partners.  Maya:  H e y , have y o u got something against me because  I didn't do  the  assignment? Rachel:  Y e s I definitely do.  Maya:  W e l l don't h o l d a grudge or anything.  O n c e again the intensity of their involvement was remarkable. This h o m e w o r k exchange was as real an issue and as valid a grudge as the Christian Jewish exchange, and from my adult point of view I had to be careful not to give it any less credence. It was important for me to note that there was learning going o n here. I asked the students i f this is a c o m m o n occurrence and they a l l shouted back with a unanimous "yes". T h e next group o f students to came forward tell the class i n advance that their dialogue is going o n right now. Hagar:  W e A r a b s want y o u to k n o w that Palestine is a holy place for our people.  Esther:  If we were to give part of it to you, you w o u l d only want more and more! 21  Plus y o u are asking for places that have become established homes for many Jewish families. These peoples' lives w o u l d be i n danger. Hagar:  B u t the K o r a n is the only true B i b l e and it says that we should have Palestine.  Ester:  Absolutely not! This is where we left off as we found the discussion difficult to resolve.  T h e subjects for these dialogues continued to cover a wide range of ideas from the issue o f abortion to domestic marriage spats, to the politics of religion, to the everyday disagreements between friends i n the classroom. D u r i n g the presentations o f these dialogues I played a very minor role as the students listened intently to their classmates' presentations and after each presentation, engaged i n a lively discussion. Towards the end of the activity I asked the students why they did not feel compelled to resolve any of their grudges. O n e student responded by saying that "the only way to do this is to compromise somehow ... because of the grudges there is very little grey area, y o u k n o w what I mean? Unfortunately, there is usually very little compromise going on." K n o w i n g that there w o u l d be many more opportunities i n the d r a m a to discuss this issue, I drew the students' attention back to the plot of the play and comment o n how quickly the feud is resolved once the two young lovers have tragically died. T o this, the same student replied, " W e l l one of the best ways to resolve a grudge is a tragedy or a sacrifice. Y o u see the thing is, that people i n my opinion like grudges. It is precisely why people like to become lawyers, because they like to argue. P e o p l e don't like to m a k e sacrifices to stop the arguments, and they take pleasure i n uprising against 22  another force to try to crush i t . . . I m e a n this may sound brutal but it is the truth. F o r every grudge there is going to be a sacrifice one way or another whether it is actually someone dying or it is another k i n d of symbolic sacrifice." This comment spurred the discussion o n to a conversation about ancient pagan sacrifices which I presumed the students h a d been studying i n their Jewish history courses. So I asked the students i f they had become aware of these ancient pagan sacrifices from their B i b l e studies? Ishmael responded with the following answer, T h e r e have been a few such as ... well this one applies to b o t h the Jewish religion and to the Christian religion. M o s e s was taking the Jews out of Egypt to Israel and the Egyptians were chasing w h e n G o d decided to split the sea, and then he closed the sea and the Jews celebrated. G o d didn't like this and so he said, ' H e y , I h a d to sacrifice these Egyptians and these are my children too, don't think that y o u are the only people i n this w o r l d that I love'. So y o u see, to resolve anything there has to be a sacrifice. T h e only other thing that can resolve a grudge is fear of punishment. It's the same as how a deadline can really bring forces together to do something; same as with grudges, such as, well y o u k n o w how different countries try to keep their technologies from each other because they all want to be the most powerful. I was watching a show yesterday, and it said that if the sun were to nova i n about 1000 years it w o u l d probably bring a l l the countries together to resolve their differences and to w o r k together to figure out a way to get off this planet. I 23  think that it is the same way with a l l grudges; some k i n d of penalty is going to have to happen sooner or later. Y o u can't really save two people ... resolve your grudge ... y o u have to have more motivation than that.  In an interview setting, and after completing the drama work, I asked this student whether or not he thought it possible for m a n k i n d to resolve their differences before people became victims and lives were taken. H e said, P e o p l e say that we learn from every mistake we make, but I disagree. I think that we can learn from the small mistakes. I m e a n have y o u noticed how many miracles have happened i n the past and still people haven't learned? Okay, I believe that after the statues were built for R o m e o and Juliet everything w o u l d be okay for about a year and then no doubt, another grudge w o u l d happen, and the Montagues and Capulets w o u l d be fighting again. If it were today someone w o u l d put spray paint o n them and start it all over again. Such as it says from history or religious history anyway, that first G o d split the R e d Sea and then a l l the plagues that M o s e s impositioned the P h a r a o h with ... and what did we do but worship the golden calf ... y o u k n o w what I mean. I mean people don't really learn that m u c h . I think before h u m a n k i n d can resolve grudges o n his own he w i l l have to evolve a lot mentally. Because the way we are now, our minds are really more tuned into hate. 24  I agreed with the student and said that i n life it often does seem that m a n finds it easier to hate. H e interrupted me and said, N o t i c e i n life how many more enemies a person has than friends? If y o u get on the phone and the receptionist is rude it's a n enemy. I think i n fact that a lot of enemies are made out of fear, okay because an enemy is easier to deal with than a friend. In order to have a friend y o u have to be there for them and an enemy y o u just leave them alone, y o u avoid them. It takes a lot more sacrifice to make a friend than a enemy and people hate to m a k e sacrifices.  This student was no longer negotiating meaning transactionally but i n fact was creating what Stanley Straw (1990) describes as a "parallel text". This theory essentially suggests that meaning is no longer the property of the text but is seen as a product of what the student himself is bringing to the text: his personal constructs of knowledge, his background knowledge and his w i l l to comprehend the text. T h e student's basis of comprehension was not i n the surface structure of the plot or i n the written script o f the play but was i n meanings and relevances that he h a d already located as background information within his own inner life and surrounding environment. It w o u l d appear as i f the role drama experience has invoked a degree of cognitive competence as a result of the student's frequent attempts to m a k e connections to constructs of knowledge that he already knew. T h e students h a d previously been divided into groups o f two and h a d b e e n asked to interview their partners o n the nature and the cause of the grudge. A n o t h e r grudge 25  dialogue, based on the current day issue of abortion, was presented as follows, Abram:  W h a t i f the w o m a n is raped?  Ezri:  So, she w i l l be taken care of and she w i l l have the child quite happily.  Abram:  W o u l d y o u have more p o o r and more homeless children running around on the street?  Ezri:  W h y do y o u think that they w i l l be poor?  Abram:  Because often times w o m e n w h o have babies by accident just don't have the money to feed them.  Ezri:  T h e y don't have any families to take care of them?  Abram:  Sometimes they don't!  Ezri:  B u t there are houses that take care of those babies.  Abram:  Those houses are getting full, orphanages are getting full and they are underfunded.  Ezri:  So the government should take care of them.  Abram:  T h e government is i n a deficit already.  I a m very careful not to interfere with this discussion as I k n o w that the nature of the subject is a controversial one i n Jewish law. I found myself leery about pursuing the pro-abortion argument, and I remember thinking at the time something like, "oh my G o d , what have I unleashed here." I a m profoundly aware that this k i n d o f discussion could easily offend some of the more orthodox students. L a t e r that day, w h e n reflecting o n my o w n hesitancy a n d fears to further pursue the discussion, I began to confront my own personal convictions o n abortion and also the degree to which the d r a m a can invoke emotional responses i n both the students and the teacher.  26  H o w e v e r , i n being committed to this process I realized two other things, (1) that enabling emotional involvement is essential i f the students are to become committed to the drama and i f the drama is to become a source for them to learn and to construct their own meaning, and (2) that the teacher leadership role I h a d undertaken required m e to trust m y intuition i n order to gauge the appropriateness of continuing or discontinuing the discussion. I believed that I was working as a teacher-artist at this moment. T h e discussion continued, Ezri:  T h e government should take care of them. They are h u m a n people, they are alive, they have souls. W e can't just throw them away like garbage.  Abram:  W o u l d y o u rather have a baby alive for, say a week, or for a baby that lives life time of crime and poverty, and starvation?  Ezri:  N o , i f I k n o w ahead that he is going to be out on the street and going to be starving to death and these kinds of things then of course. I'm not punishing them.  E z r i h a d come from Israel and had been i n C a n a d a attending our school for only six months. H e h a d not participated i n many other class discussions a n d certainly never to this degree. H e was considered to be an E S L student and so I have never really assessed, i n earnest, either his comprehension or writing capabilities. M a n y students h a d raised their hands and were k e e n o n voicing their opinion. T h e first student addressed the Israeli student. Rachel:  I don't understand why you didn't really answer any of the questions asked. Y o u just pushed most o f them away. I don't know, but I feel that y o u 27  weren't presenting a very good view.  I then tried to re-word the argument for the student by saying that it is  difficult  to determine w h e n exactly a fetus comes to possess a soul. M a n y people feel very strongly about the rights o f the u n b o r n child. C h a n n a h : B u t M s . M o r r i s o n , do y o u think that if a girl is raped at fourteen does she have time to come out of school with a l l the problems that she already has?  S o m e of the students seem to be uncomfortable with the discussion so I tell them that I think it is a difficult issue to resolve given the obvious m o r a l , ethical, and religious ramifications. Other grudge dialogues are presented and each one seems to provoke m o r e discussions, all with definite opposition and a variety of differing opinions. M a n y social forces are at play. First, the students are bringing to the activity their o w n personally construed constructs of ideas relating to the discussions of their classmates. Some of them are heavily influenced by the religious tradition from which they have been trained, and others from an genuine position of inquiry. It seems that meaning for these students is no longer the property o f the Shakespearean text, but has become  a product  of the  student's interpretive activities and  interpretive  communications. Stanley Straw (1990) suggests that this type of communicative function of reading is gaining more and more attention. H e states that  reading  comprehension is seen as a result of transactions and negotiations between reader and text, and this type of transactional comprehension has been found to increase retention. Furthermore, as informed readers the students are gaining competence 28  through a membership i n an interpretive community. T h e y are not only competently participating i n the meaning of the text but have temporarily suspended their own identity and have come to assume a role quite different from their own. This personal and social involvement enhances their understanding of the h u m a n implications underlying the text. T h e drama has provided a powerful and necessary literacy tool. T h e following excerpts are two examples of students' attempts to explain the origin of the feud i n narrative form. T h e students h a d prepared these at h o m e as part of their h o m e w o r k assignment. It a l l started w h e n shopowner W i l l i a m stared at L a d y Jessica with lustful eyes. Needless to say that when her brother T i m saw this he went into such a rage that he burned down W i l l ' s shop. Later, W i l l made his gang bloodthirsty for T i m ' s head. A f t e r the first attack, T i m got his revenge. T h e blood, r e d as wine, has left a permanent stain o n the streets of our city.  The started...."  second student began her story with, "I k n o w exactly how the  grudge  and then continued very authoritatively to say, O n e day, at the market place, a tradesman from one of the families (I k n o w not which one) accused the other o f stealing a dime from his money bag. T h e n they found other reasons to get angry at each other, and it evolved into this huge grudge, until this very day.  I was pleased that the students were creating stories that were metaphorically true 29  to the sixteenth century atmosphere of the play. T h e stories indicated that the students h a d engaged i n a way of giving structure and meaning to the experiences that they h a d i n the previous class. This k i n d of literacy behaviour has been defined by literacyresponse theorists, as "storying" (Hanssen, Harste, and Short, 1990). It is a valuable exercise as it creates and provides metaphors and helps to develop signs or meaning from the students' experiences that eventually contribute to a construction o f a new w o r l d view. W h e n we internalize these stories we condense them, and w h e n we tell stories, the opposite happens simply because we are trying to make our connections clear to others (p. 162). B y creating such a dramatic frame the students had found their own voice. In the next step the students w o u l d be physicalizing, i n the form of a tableau, an incident leading u p to their grudge stories that w o u l d build further belief i n their newly constructed ideas and views.  30  The Third Step: "Physicalizing the Grudge"  In this next step, the students i n their groups of two, j o i n e d together to form groups o f four for the purpose of creating tableaus that would capture the original incident leading up to their grudges. This activity is an illustrative\performance activity that intends to show through a still depiction or still photograph an actual event or idea. A s described by B o l t o n (1992), it "usually entails pupils getting into small groups, discussing a focus, trying things out to meet the task, holding the picture still while the rest of the class observes, relaxing and hearing comments, and giving  further  explanation i f it seems necessary" (p.23). T h e tableau is a valuable learning tool given its power to achieve, i n a short p e r i o d o f time, a depiction that effectively gets at the essence of the subject material, and at the same time stimulates discussion during its preparation. W h i l e students w o r k e d I circulated a m o n g the different groups to encourage or offer suggestions. T h e r o o m was a hive of activity. After approximately five minutes I asked each group to prepare to freeze their tableau and to h o l d it. I also told them that I w o u l d tap one person o n the shoulder a n d that person must b e p r e p a r e d to "speak their thought" as a character i n the grudge scene. E a c h group presented with a degree of artistry and uniqueness. I was amazed at how committed each m e m b e r was to having their scene read accurately. T h e scenes dealt with the same conflicts raised i n the brainstorming activity, and once again I was r e m i n d e d about humanity's propensity to engage i n conflict. In one scene students were pointing guns at each other, and i n another a student was gesturing to stab another student i n the back. It made me shudder! 31  The F o u r t h Step: "In F a i r V e r o n a ".....Civil B l o o d M a k e s C i v i l H a n d s U n c l e a n "  The  activities i n the next step included the role-playing of a market scene,  cumulative speaking, casting of characters and teacher-in-role. I began with the following text, I'd like y o u now to think about a craft or a sale item that y o u w i l l be preparing to sell at a weekly market fair i n the town of V e r o n a . A t these markets, merchants traded in horses, furs, fish, wine, gold, fine silk, etc. Artisans also sold and displayed their works. I w o u l d like y o u to think of a simple task that will be connected with it: one that w i l l allow y o u to sit or stand and one that is repetitive. F o r instance, i f y o u are a cobbler, y o u may be sewing very tiny stitches into the seam of a sole o n a boot. If y o u are a goldsmith y o u might be w o r k i n g o n chiselling the fine line o f a v e i n o n the surface o f a hand o n your sculpture. Y o u will, of course, be allied with either the M o n t a g u e family or the Capulet family. W h i l e y o u are working o n your task, think of a line that y o u could say to the craftsperson on the opposite side of the courtyard whose item for sale is obviously inferior to your own. I will divide the group i n half and we w i l l soon begin the fair. R e m e m b e r to keep the grudges i n m i n d that y o u thought of earlier, as one of these grudges may apply to the person opposite who is also trying to make a profit o n his goods for sale. T h e r e are certain other facts that y o u might want to avail yourself of before either buying or selling goods at the market fair, - M a l l a r d s , i f young, w i l l have supple quills on their wings. - A g o o d hen must have been b l e d by the throat and immediately put i n cold water to 32  die. - W i n e must not have too m u c h water or mould. - A good w o m e n to buy from is a chaste w o m e n . - A good horse is recognized by the quality of its dung ...also check its gums for slime. - M a k e sure meat has not been mixed with sand to increase its weight.  W e then proceeded to set up the r o o m to prepare for our market scene. T h e students labelled themselves either as Capulets or as Montagues and gave themselves name tags according to the craft that they h a d chosen to role-play. T h e trades ranged from tailors, weavers, and bakers, to carpenters, spinners, and goldsmiths. T h e y quickly began to find ways to w o r k at their craft task and at the same time to articulate reasons why their goods were superior to the products being sold by a craftsperson from the opposite side of the fair grounds.  W i t h i n a very short p e r i o d of time the  students now i n role as craftspeople were screaming at one another and were quite out of control. Some o f them were even hurling insults at one another that pertained to ideas i n the script of the play, " Y o u dirty rotten scoundrel y o u deserve to carry coals ...." " O h dare you, I heard that your R o m e o had the nerve to crash our sacred festival." " Y o u r servants are illiterate!" " Y o u r servants always start fights." " Y o u r meat is puffed with wind."  N o t being an actress at heart, I found this next step i n the d r a m a as teacher i n role difficult. B u t realizing that this strategy places individual students ' i n context' ( B o l t o n , 33  1992, p.32) requiring more than a non-committal response, I mustered my confidence a n d said, "What, h o ! Y o u m e n , y o u beasts..." "Rebellious subjects, enemies of the peace..." "Stop your fire of pernicious rage..." "....another civil brawl has o n yonder square disturbed the quiet o f our street. I a m here to find out i f any of y o u k n o w why this ancient quarrel has been new abroached?"  H a v i n g arrested their attention I moved i n closer and began to d e m a n d a direct response from each of the different participants, " D o you, baker, k n o w anything pertaining to this ancient quarrel?" " D o you, shoemaker?" " D o y o u , winemaker?" " D o y o u k n o w anything at all about this quarrel? H a v e y o u h a d any involvement? T h e students say nothing at first. T h e n one said, "Nothing, Prince". T h e tension i n the air was palpable. T h e i r silence and the one response of 'nothing', suggested to me that the students h a d taken ownership of the experience and had assumed responsibility for their individual roles. T h e m e d i u m of teacher i n role is highly symbolic and also creates a social interaction. Y e t , as B o l t o n describes it, "it is more than a direct experience because of 'metaxds' (seeing from two worlds at the same time) giving a reflective edge to the role-play w h i c h direct experience often lacks" (p.33). I asked the students to describe what they had experienced during this step i n the 34  drama. O n e student started the discussion, Ishmael:  T h e market scene is, well, a market scene anywhere; people were screaming at each other. T h e interesting thing about the market scene that people never think badly about themselves afterwards. T h e Capulets w o u l d never say that they were wrong. O h , and something else i n the market scene is that people w o u l d even compete to blame some one else.  I responded by saying, "But this element of competition, isn't it simply based o n the drive to sell such as what we might find i n any business m i n d e d individual?" Ishmael:  Y e s , I think so. L o o k at the car industry for example where sales m e n say, "look at this car", and say,"it is the best car ... and that the other dealership has b a d cars." W h e r e v e r there is going to be sales there is going to be this hatred.  Me:  W h a t do we think underlies this hatred?  Ishmael:  T h e people just want to get more for themselves.  Me:  S o it is based on greed?  Ishmael:  Y e s or desire for more money.  Me:  D o we think that it might be a good idea then to eradicate a l l competition from schools?  Ishmael:  See the thing is, with competition y o u either get evolution or hatred, or y o u go back to your p r i m a l instinct which is hate. I think the one thing that has slowed our evolution has been fear and hate.  Me:  A l t h o u g h I wouldn't call our century a slow moving p e r i o d i n history, at least not i n terms of its technological developments, w o u l d you? 35  Ishmael:  B u t , M s . M o r r i s o n , can y o u imagine how m u c h further ahead we w o u l d be if a l l the countries would share their technologies and their wisdoms?  Me:  Y e s , I agree with you.  This social dialogue that is being exchanged between students and teacher and between students a n d students carries significant meaning. I realize that it could become quite involved and probably lengthy, yet my heart did a small flip for this k i n d of maturity i n a discussion does not often occur i n an English eight classroom. In B e y o n d C o m m u n i c a t i o n B o g d a n & Straw (1990) attempt to re-conceptualize theories o n reading under the central rubric of "actualization" models. M o v i n g the traditional notion that the text was a means to transmit the author's meaning, literary theory changed to the  concept that the primary purpose  of reading was for  communication. T h e "beyond communication" m o d e l , or actualization m o d e l , places the importance o f reading on the readers to realize his own potential and meaning within his own individual set of circumstances (Bogdan & Straw, 1990, p.3). If students conclude that the emotion of hatred is connected to man's need to be competitive which stems from man's capacity to be greedy, they have created meanings i n a social interaction, and internalized these interactions i n the form of thought (Bakhtin, 1973). Hanssen, Harste, and Short (1990) write about the significance of dialogue or social interaction i n the learning process as being a way of m a k i n g connections that the reader w o u l d not have otherwise made. E a c h of us w i l l understand what is being said i n terms of the meanings we already have. T h e meanings i n our head have come from other conversations that we have experienced. A f t e r 36  we have parted and we think about our conversation, we w i l l be engaging i n a k i n d of inner dialogue between the meanings created i n our conversation and those coming out of other conversations we have experienced (Bogdan & Straw, 1990 p.260).  Basically what this means is that new ideas will have been created from internalization or inner dialoguing process.  37  this  The Fifth Step: "Let Lips Do What Hands Do"  By way of introducing this next step the students were asked to find, read, and study selected excerpts from the script that would help to introduce and demonstrate Shakespeare's contrasting, almost antithetical, themes of love and hate. The first excerpt identified was spoken by Romeo: Romeo:  Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will! Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?  Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here's much to do with hate, but more with love: Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O anything, of nothing first create! Act I, Scene i, 1, 168-174  The students recognized the hatred as being the hatred between the Capulets and the Montagues. The love as being a love that we learn later is for Rosaline and also learn about Shakespeare's use of oxymorons. Other scenes identified are the sword fighting scenes and the scene where Romeo and Juliet exchange their first words of love. One student Josh was very astute in his observations regarding the crossing over of the love and the hate action: Josh: "When Romeo and Juliet fall in love they are crossing over a dangerous line!" We took some time to discuss this point. 38  T o begin this next d r a m a activity I asked the students to resume their previous roles o f either Capulets or Montagues and to stand o n opposite sides o f the r o o m . T h e y then chose and faced a partner from the enemy family. O n c e each student h a d found a partner I said, "Listen very carefully to these instructions and w h e n I have finished giving y o u the instructions I w i l l give y o u a signal to begin. D o not move until I give y o u a signal to do so. First, y o u will begin by moving very slowly towards your partner. T h e n , w h e n you are an arm's distance away from your partner, challenge your partner with an aggressive statement of hate i n the form of a number, e.g. one, then try two, then try three and so o n . Y o u r partner w i l l then return the challenge by verbalizing i n a slightly louder voice a larger digit number. Start with a low number and increase the number as y o u get m o r e angry. Continue to increase the number exchange and increase the v o l u m e and the forcefulness of the challenge. T h e tension may become almost uncontrollable w h e n the exchange reaches this point. B o t h partners w i l l find a hand gesture that w i l l , without m a k i n g physical contact, represent the emotion. A s a final culmination, verbalize your feelings of hatred by exchanging one short line of dialogue. Is everyone ready? Okay, (I give them a hand signal) begin now."  T h e r o o m was electric. I could feel the silent movements, the eye contact, an ever so slight hesitation and then a head long rush of rising anger. In the culminating m o m e n t fists rose i n hatred, others stabbed the air with were screaming out verbal exchanges of hatred, "Enemy" "Die!" 39  punching gestures, and a l l  "Scum" "Give it up!" " Y o u ' r e pathetic." I h a d to ask them several times to come out of role and to relax. O n c e they relinquished their roles, I continued the drama as a narrator and said the following, " A t the beginning of the play, R o m e o is madly i n love with R o s a l i n e . H o w e v e r , Rosaline, having the w i s d o m of D i a n a , the virgin Goddess, has managed to avoid C u p i d ' s arrow and w i l l not allow herself to stay the siege of loving terms. Suddenly, the E r o s or C u p i d , angry at being left out of things, strikes down R o m e o and Juliet w i t h his arrows o f love".  "I w o u l d like y o u now to reverse the exercise y o u have just experienced by beginning with your very loud, aggressive exchange of numbers and then very slowly soften your tone while y o u decrease your numbers. W h e n y o u feel it is appropriate, find a hand gesture that w i l l represent the emotions. There are many references i n the play to hands. R e m e m b e r for example when R o m e o said to Juliet, ' L e t lips do what hands do...' T h e n , as a final expression of love, exchange, i n turn, one line of dialogue. B e g i n now."  This time the students reacted very differently. T h e y were easily able to repeat their expressions of hate but found it very difficult to reverse the situation. This time I felt their hesitancy; I wondered i f some of them w o u l d make the transition at a l l . W i t h great reluctance they yielded. Some appeared ashamed, embarrassed even, and quietly made amends by saying, 40  "I'm sorry." "Friends?" "One." "Okay?" Others shook hands i n silence. Throughout the course of watching this activity I realized that the e m o t i o n o f hate lies just beneath the surface. I understand the importance o f the e m o t i o n a l protection offered by being i n role. E m o t i o n a l involvement is m i n i m a l because the event only appears to be happening now, and the priority is to experience the emotion through the context of theatre rather than directly. This form of dramatic behavior, is therefore, automatically protective (Bolton, 1984, p. 128). W e stopped for reflection as I was aware of the need to guide a n d care for students after this type of work. T h e following three conversations were shared i n an interview setting and took place after reflecting on the entire drama, Me:  W h a t d i d y o u think about the power of this exercise to transform the emotion of hate into an emotion of love?  Sarah:  T h a t it's easier to hate than to love because it's easier to find flaws than it is to find g o o d qualities. Y e s , it's easier to have a negative approach than a positive (one).  Me:  H a s this changed your perspective on your o w n w o r l d ?  Sarah:  A bit, y o u think that y o u shouldn't criticise people or whatever.  Me:  D o students i n your class criticise one another?  Sarah:  If y o u read this play, y o u k i n d of think that y o u shouldn't criticise each 41  other and that's it. It's really easier i f y o u think what w o u l d y o u do i f y o u were i n that position of being affected by hate, what w o u l d y o u do? L i k e if y o u try to put yourself i n somebody else's shoes then y o u don't want to hate them. Me:  A n d this was something y o u learned from the play?  Sarah:  T h r o u g h most of the exercises.  T h e second student's response was also quite philosophical: Abram:  I think this was one of the most important experiences of a l l because it showed that it is m u c h easier to get m a d or to hate someone than it is to stop hate or to love. Y o u k n o w it was very difficult to say let's be friends.  Me:  D o y o u think the w o r l d w o u l d be a better place i f we h a d b e e n created with different inclinations?  Abram:  N o , I think the w o r l d is good just the way it is. Because i n every b a d thing there is a good thing. F o r example w h e n something b a d happens to y o u to try to find the reasons that might be good about it.  T h e third response was as follows, Me:  A n d what did y o u think of this activity?  Sara:  W e l l , i f y o u hate for long enough y o u get b o r e d of it a n d then y o u have nothing to lose. B u t me personally, I can't be angry for more than a day, where as others can take the smallest thing and h o l d a grudge for more than a year. A n d maybe never forgive.  Me:  I agree, a day is as long as I want to be m a d at someone. It is no doubt very 42  important to resolve our differences as soon as possible.  H o w ironic I thought to myself. T h e drama was about grudges and long standing grudges yet this student had not yet made this connection. Should I push h i m any further i n this direction? Is this really what I want here or not? I realized that with this k i n d o f teaching this particular moment begs a curriculum question, but I said nothing more. W h a t I also observed from this was that three different students,  although they  have participated i n the same "supportive community of readers", have used their own interpretive strategies to negotiate meaning. T h e language being shared has established a social context and the social context has influenced further learning but the students' responses could not be described as revealing the same mode of comprehension. T h e drama h a d enabled the students to engage i n reading as a subjective act a n d not as an objective act. R e a d e r response  theorist, D a v i d B l e i c h (1980) suggests that  the  experience of reading is a personal development of m a k i n g meaning. T h e reader constructs meaning according to his background ideology, his p r i o r knowledge, and his own personal purpose for reading. B l e i c h draws some very strong assumptions about subjective reading and literature pedagogy when he says that "the purpose of pedagogical institutions from the nursery through the university is to synthesize knowledge rather than to pass it along (transmission): schools become the regular agency o f subjective initiative" (p.159).  43  The Sixth Step: "Shame Shall Come to Romeo"  O n c e again I asked the students to assume their previous roles as either Capulets or Montagues. I gave a piece of paper to each member of both families. I then asked for a volunteer from each group: one to be R o m e o and the other to be Juliet. A f t e r narrating the details of the events that take place at the Capulet b a l l where the two lovers meet, fall violently i n love, and on the very same night not only prove that their "bent o f love is honourable" but also insist that on the very next day the intention of marriage be confirmed, I asked the two 'lovers' to leave the r o o m . I then asked each m e m b e r of the two families to write a few lines of advice or chastisement to R o m e o if they were Montagues, or to Juliet i f they were Capulets. W h i l e doing this I explained that one person i n each group had already received their lines of dialogue from lines actually spoken by the F r i a r i n A c t II, Scene iii. W h i l e these lines of dialogue are being created and scripted, I coached the 'lovers' w h o were out i n the corridor and told them that they are to enter the r o o m , find their respective families and state their intention to marry the other. W i t h i n minutes I called the young lovers i n and they took their places inside the center of the family circles. Juliet's family chastised and advised her i n the following ways, #1 M o n t a g u e : Juliet, Juliet, Juliet. W e are enemies! It's like mixing fire and ice. I'd rather see y o u dead than marry a M o n t a g u e . #2 Capulet: A r e y o u crazy?! D o n ' t y o u know what you're talking about? C o m e to your senses and realize how foolish you've been. C o m e to your senses before they k i l l y o u . 44  #3 M o n t a g u e : Juliet, we have been best friends for a long time and b o t h of us k n o w that this marriage w i l l end i n a terrible tragedy. H a t e and love just don't go together like that. T h i n k about what your parents will say when they find out. E v e n though y o u love h i m , this is a great mistake, trust me! #4 M o n t a g u e : She is a C a p u l e t so y o u won't have a chance for this love, especially after y o u k i l l e d Tybalt. Capulets are a l l b a d and bloody. It's impossible to be their friends.  R o m e o and Juliet remained true to each other and were quite adamant  about  defending their love i n spite of family pressure. I then signalled to the two students who h a d the lines o f script spoken by the Friar, and asked them to rescue the two lovers. Joining hands with both R o m e o and Juliet, the two Friars say, i n turn, the following lines, ...I'll thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your household's rancour to pure love. A c t II, Sc i i i , 90-92  I asked one member from each family to collect the scripts and bring them to me. We  then came out of role to discuss the activity. Issues that the students were  concerned about h a d to with the safety of what Juliet was about to do and the foolhardiness of what R o m e o h a d already done. They compared it to intermarriage within their own Jewish culture. This I k n o w is strictly forbidden, as I have heard the 45  p r o b l e m o f intermarriage being compared to the devastation of the holocaust. T h e y recognized the ways i n which R o m e o and Juliet have become isolated from family and friends but were not prepared to empathize with their situation. T h e y thought that the act o f falling i n love with an enemy should have been avoided. I felt a mixture o f emotions as I observed these students being what I perceived to be too rigid and overly disciplined i n their thinking about this issue. I asked the class what they thought about the words of advice offered to R o m e o and Juliet. Maya:  W e l l I said follow your heart but don't get into trouble.  Me:  B u t what i f it was your own daughter who h a d fallen i n love with an enemy?  Maya:  (This answer was given emphatically) I w o u l d say, N O W A Y !  C h a n n a h : B u t they are from the same religion and they are the same colour! Ester:  C h a n n a h , the Capulets and the Montagues take their differences quite seriously.  C h a n n a h : D o e s n ' t matter how seriously they take it: one comes from G o d and the other's from man. T h e y have only been i n love for a day. T h e y are spoiled.  This last student  was comparing the  difference between  a Jewish person  intermarrying versus a non-Jewish person. T h e Jewish people believe that they are the chosen people o f G o d and i f they intermarry they have violated a dictate from G o d .  46  The Seventh Step: "I'll Thy Assistant Be"  This next activity is an adaptation of F o r u m Theatre. This illustrative/performance form o f drama activity was created by Augusto B o a l (1979) and was used by B o l t o n (1992, p.25). T h e method is a form of participation theatre where a team o f actors presents a social or m o r a l issue-related p r o b l e m with the purpose of empowering the audience (class) to take action to change society or the given m o r a l d i l e m m a at hand. I suggested that a good way to begin our F o r u m Theatre might be to bring R o m e o , Juliet, and the F r i a r forward and have them try to find a solution to their p r o b l e m . T h e p r o b l e m was identified by the F r i a r as follows, "The love between the two of y o u has been oppressed by your own growing loyalties to each other and by your own diminishing loyalties to state and family. Y o u have b e c o m e victimized by your parents' enmity. H o w can we solve this problem? C a n we find a peaceful solution?" Students volunteer to play the roles of the F r i a r , R o m e o and Juliet. Friar:  Y o u are forcing yourselves to love one another. T don't think that two people who have been i n love for only one night are really i n love. Therefore y o u should not get married as it w o u l d end very unhappily and probably tragically. Anyway, I highly doubt that y o u are i n love.  Juliet:  If y o u believe this then why did you marry us? (The first student acting as the F r i a r was very determined to neither accept the marriage, nor to try to undo the bond. T h e student acting as Juliet bravely, and with equal determination, insisted o n confronting the marriage issue.) 47  Juliet:  Y o u k n o w us very well and y o u love us. So your lines are not really right.  Romeo:  Y o u know that we are truly i n love. I think we should r u n away.  N o t a good idea. W e are already m a r r i e d and people w o u l d only pursue us. W e w o u l d be chased after for the rest of our lives. W e ' d be o n the look-out for ever.  Juliet:  N o they won't. T h e y don't realize how stupid they are. T h e y ' l l say that they have lost their heirs and then no-one will have to die.  Friar:  A n d then they'll realize what a terrible mistake they've made and they w i l l learn a great lesson i n the end.  Romeo:  N o , they won't learn. T h e y ' l l find us and we'll say you're right and blah, b l a h and then w e ' l l all be happy. N o t . W e ' l l r u n away because we have to run away.  Friar:  B u t it w i l l only bring more hate to the two families as each family w i l l blame the other family.  Juliet:  O r maybe we could just see each other some time or, I don't know, or maybe I could tell my parents that I'm going to live o n my o w n or with my friends and then. T h e F r i a r interrupts,  Friar:  E a c h one of y o u should go separately to your parents. T a l k to them about it, and i f they won't let y o u marry then come to me and I w i l l divorce y o u .  Juliet:  ( G r a b b i n g R o m e o ' s hand) N O ! ... we love each other. W e do not want a divorce.  Friar:  So y o u love each other more than y o u love your parents?  Juliet:  I don't even k n o w what my parent's first names are. Y e s , m y parents hate me!!!!! T h e y even call me a bloody piece of sewage. 48  Friar:  M a y b e they hate y o u because y o u have acted so immature by getting married.  Juliet:  That's no way to make me love them. I love R o m e o more than life itself.  T h e student acting as R o m e o is quite rational. She wants to maintain the best o f b o t h worlds and not create any k i n d of a disturbance. T h e student playing Juliet, however, is willing to turn her back o n family and friends and create a new w o r l d for herself. T h e student playing the role of the F r i a r is remaining true to her original conviction which is that these two have done something wrong. T h e marriage was not sanctified by their family and was therefore wrong. Me:  D o y o u think that it is possible to find a way to bring peace between the two families?  A student acting as audience shouts out: I T ' S N O T G O I N G T O H A P P E N ! ! ! ! ! ! It seemed as though the students themselves d i d not want to pursue  the  possibilities of resolving the issue based o n any k i n d of a 'peace p l a n ' a n d so I m o v e d o n to the next activity. I asked the students i n small groups to read the final scenes i n the play that l e a d to the death of b o t h R o m e o and Juliet. W e paraphrased together the Friar's description of what has happened, and then read aloud, and a l l together the final reconciliation between L o r d M o n t a g u e and L o r d Capulet. W e noticed that L o r d Capulet took the hand o f L o r d M o n t a g u e and called h i m , "brother". M o n t a g u e responded with, "I w i l l raise her statue i n pure gold; T h a t whiles V e r o n a by that n a m e is known, 49  T h e r e shall no figure at such rate be set A s that of true and faithful Juliet.  Capulet agrees to do the same for R o m e o , A s rich shall R o m e o ' s by his lady's lie, P o o r sacrifices of our enmity! A c t I V , sc iii, 1.299-304.  50  The Eighth Step: "Poor Sacrifices of our Enmity"  F o r this next step I asked the students to w o r k i n groups of four, two as statues of R o m e o and Juliet and the other two presenting epitaphs to the statues. T h e presentations of the epitaphs would, when enacted, depict the effect of the evil feud o n the entire society o f V e r o n a . T h e y took this task very seriously. Epitaphs: G r o u p #1:  (For Romeo) It brings woe to us because he is with us no longer... ...a fencer i n life and a lover i n death. ( F o r Juliet) Juliet who saw through the hate for my love— w i l l always be remembered.  G r o u p #2:  ( F o r Juliet) W h o died for her love of R o m e o a Montague; T h e y helped make peace between two feuding families, M u c h love, a Montague. (For Romeo) R o m e o , a victim of the ongoing hatred between the Montagues and the Capulets. A young soul whose first real love was to his first real enemy. H e r e stands the monument for brave young R o m e o .  51  G r o u p #3:  (For Romeo) R o m e o , killed by hate, lived with love; H e r e now his statue stands above. ( F o r Juliet) H e r e is to Juliet, who lived through great sorrow, She was deeply cared for and deeply loved. W e hope she finds peace i n the heavens above, Best of peace and silence, o h Juliet.  G r o u p #4:  (For Romeo) H e r e ' s to R o m e o , a sacrifice of power used to bring peace; A good m a n who loved his enemy. ( F o r Juliet) H e r e ' s to J u l i e t . . . here is for our love who died; B y death she shall receive her wish for peace.  T h e presentations of the epitaphs were serious and solemn. T h e statues had been sculptured to show the hands of the two lovers i n many different positions. T h e y were either being j o i n e d or joining, and while one pair was reaching up high as i f i n a gesture o f triumph, another pair was o n the verge of touching as i f i n a state of frozen innocence. T h e symbolism of love, peace, and reconciliation was most evident i n the students work. I asked the groups to present their epitaphs one more time and to freeze their positions u p o n completion. I also told the students that I w o u l d be i n role as the Prince by the time they had finished presenting their offerings. In role I said to them, 52  " Y o u vain and stupid people. Y o u have all been so busy presenting your gold "dowries"... and for what purpose? T o absolve yourselves of the responsibility o f the deaths of young R o m e o and young Juliet? Y o u have been spending a l l your money on gold, h o w ostentatious! I'll hear none of it. E a c h of y o u is responsible and each of y o u will be p a r d o n e d or punished according to the laws of this city. T h e court w i l l hear your defense and the jury w i l l decide who the enemies of these two innocent victims really are."  A student interrupted to say, Ishmael:  T h e y should both compromise or fight very hard to end this thing because really they both thought each other was wrong. ( H e pauses) T h e r e is no real redemption for either the Capulets or for the Montagues, except it is better for them to at least do something like raise a statue than do nothing.  Me:  Why?  Ishmael:  Because maybe it's symbolic of the peace to come .... W h i c h was their wish the whole time.  Me:  So symbols of peace can be as important as peace itself. O k a y .  This discussion created a perfect transition to the next step which was an activity designed to make the students think more about the causes and the effects o f colliding social forces that exist i n the play and to consider who might be ultimately responsible for maintaining peace, order and good government i n society.  53  The Ninth Step: "Some Shall be Pardon'd and Some Shall be Punished"  F e e l i n g the pressure of time, and knowing that this was the last class we h a d allowed for the drama work, I proceeded. I h o p e d that the students w o u l d continue to think about the ideas shared i n the last discussion, and w o u l d find a way o f expressing their thoughts on the topic i n their written responses. H a v i n g this thought, I then extracted the papers from step 5 ("Let L i p s D o W h a t H a n d s D o " ) and subpoenaed each of the involved individuals according to the words o f warning that he or she h a d each written down earlier. I asked the students who h a d been i n role as Capulets to stand o n the right side of the r o o m , and the students w h o h a d been i n role as Montagues to stand o n the right side of the r o o m . In role as V e r o n a ' s lawgiver, I said, "I n o w call o n the feuding person w h o was heard to have said to R o m e o o n the day of A u g u s t 14, 1562, ... T h e love is not all, it is not that important. This love and hate w i l l not disappear so y o u should disappear. R u n away! G o o d luck and farewell. (The accused comes forward.) E x p l a i n to the court your role i n the deaths o f R o m e o a n d Juliet. Include i n your statement reasons why y o u should be either pardoned or punished i n this story of woe." A c c u s e d #1: "I'm innocent. M e n , w o m e n of the jury, I want to say that I'm not guilty. T h e y died because of love. T h e y trusted love too much. It was because of that that they died. It's their p r o b l e m i f they died not mine. T h e y are the ones to blame!"  54  T h e jury was given time to determine and to write down a verdict o n each of the accused. I then said, "I n o w call o n the feuding person who was heard to have said ... R o m e o , personally, I don't think y o u should get married it will just cause death a n d trouble." A c c u s e d #2: (This student seems at a loss for words and stumbles over her words.)" I ' m not guilty ... a l l I do is scrub floors and that's all I do. That's it!" A g a i n , I spoke, "I now call o n the feuding person w h o was heard to have said .... She is a Capulet, so y o u won't have a chance for your love, especially after you killed Tybalt. Capulets are a l l b a d and bloody. It's impossible to be their friends." A c c u s e d #3: "I'm not guilty. It's h a r d to be friends w i t h the Capulets because they want to fight and besides they started the fight and they never wanted to stop it." I said, "I now call o n the feuding person who was heard to have said ... B o t h of us k n o w that this marriage w i l l conclude i n a terrible tragedy. H a t e and love just don't go together. Trust me this is a terrible mistake." A c c u s e d #4: "I a m not guilty because i n my advice to Juliet I told her that it is not wise to marry a M o n t a g u e . A n d I a m her best friend. Therefore I k n o w what is best for her. I d i d not tell her to marry h i m , therefore, I a m not guilty. Finally, I said, "I n o w call on the feuding person who was heard to have said ... Y o u are crazy. 5 5  W e hate each other. It is like mixing fire and ice!" A c c u s e d #5: (This student ponders.) "I'm afraid I'm guilty. It's because of me that they died ... ( H e starts to walk back to his seat, the other students are snickering at h i m and he shouts out ....) C A N ' T W E A L L J U S T G E T A L O N G ! "  I a m amazed that one student h a d the pluck to make such a statement. I was not even sure what to say. T h e jury asked to leave the r o o m to pass final judgement o n who they thought was guilty. W i t h i n seconds they were back and the spokesperson said, "We have decided that the culprit is accused #1."  This surprised me as I thought that they w o u l d either accuse every person involved as guilty or no one. I asked them why they h a d chosen accused #1  and  the  spokesperson said, " W e thought it would be a good idea to throw people off." This ended the d r a m a part of the study. I gave the students their final written assignment questions. T h e y were to take the questions home i n order to think ahead about the kinds o f answers and ideas that they w o u l d explore i n response to the final test that they w o u l d write during the next class.  56  Finding the Writers' Voices  Throughout the course of the drama w o r k I found myself marvelling over the range o f responses that the dramatic activities seemed to be eliciting i n terms o f the students' capacity to express their own independent ideas and at the same time reflect the commitment that they brought to each of the learning situations. T h e m e d i u m of the d r a m a h a d invited and had been successful i n assisting the students to participate i n many different literacy acts and speech-related behaviours, (1) they h a d engaged i n a social dialectic, (2) they h a d provided metaphors for storying, (3) they h a d created intertexuality ties (ties that form relevant connections to other material or background knowledge relevant to the ideas being constructed), (4) they h a d shared meanings with an interpretive community of readers, (5) they had taken ownership of the material, and (6) they had w o r k e d collectively to apply their own critical thinking skills and decision m a k i n g skills i n a lived through context. T h e y now h a d to come to terms with the transition from the oral activities of the drama to finding written expression of the knowledge they h a d acquired as a result of having completed the drama. Someone said to me once, "a writer does not k n o w his thoughts or feelings until he has put them down o n paper", and as a language arts teacher I have often found this statement to be true. D o n a l d Graves (1983) comments o n the chasm that exists between print and speech by quoting the words of a professional writer w h o said that w h e n writing we should be "writing for the other s e l f . Graves agrees but also adds that the other self may not always be there w h e n a person is required to put p e n to paper. H e writes, " U n t i l I have information, a sense of voice, k n o w what I want to say, there may not be another self at the outset. Thus I struggle alone to create the self o n the 57  page" (1983, p.161). W h i l e w o r k i n g o n the drama i n class the students had many companions to help t h e m with what they were to say. T h e i r smiles, their frowns, their expressions o f interest or disinterest w o u l d have played a major role i n choices they made i n v e r b a l responses and similarly with the actual outcome of the drama. N o w they w o u l d have to struggle "alone" to find their own " s e l f o n the page. I asked the students to choose two out of the three questions given to them. T h e i r fourth writing task was a creative writing exercise. Before beginning to write, I told them that I was not looking for retrieval responses or rote answers, and encouraged the students to think o f the questions rather as starting points for them to shape their ideas. A s the drama had proven to be a valid strategy for encouraging certain literacy behaviors, I was now curious to find out how or i f the writing process h a d been enhanced by the drama activities, and whether or not the drama activities h a d enabled the students to find their own writing voice. It is Graves' belief that students w i l l succeed i n the writing process i f they are not intimidated by the conventions of written language and i f they do not have to struggle to gain adequate access or information to the assigned topic (1983, p.162). Evidence i n the writing that the writer has overcome these two difficulties will be apparent i f the writer: 1. maintains a clear purpose for writing 2. communicates ideas with clarity and with precision 3. demonstrates an ability to manipulate language creatively 4. reveals a degree of self-knowledge and self-awareness 5. analyses the p r o b l e m with k e e n awareness and insight  58  The World of the Student's Written Responses  T h e following questions required the students to p r o b l e m solve a solution to the feuding action, to display a clear understanding of the terms used i n each of the questions and also i n the play, and to draw on a wide range of possibilities to manipulate language i n order to achieve these purposes. T h e first question was w o r d e d i n the following way,  Q U E S T I O N #1: SIR T H O M A S M O R E W R O T E A B O O K E N T I T L E D U T O P I A , W H I C H DESCRIBES A NIDEAL SOCIETY W H E R E PEOPLE LIVE A T P E A C E WITH E A C H OTHER. WRITE Y O U R O W NSHORT M O D E R N D A Y CHRONICLE DESCRIBING WHAT W O U L D F O R Y O U B E A N IDEAL A N D P E A C E F U L UTOPIA. CONSIDER V E R Y C A R E F U L L Y POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO T H EFEUDING ACTION THAT O C C U R R E D INT H E STORY O F R O M E O A N D JULIET.  Sarah's response reflects her ideas about an ideal U t o p i a that is based o n her o w n personal faith i n man's capacity to love one another, M y idea of a peaceful U t o p i a w o u l d be that everybody is friends and i f people fall i n love they can do what they want. P e o p l e should not do things purposely to hurt a person and people  59  should be allowed to w e d whomever they please. T h e r e should be no weapons so people can't hurt or destroy themselves. Grudges w o u l d be something unheard of because everybody i n this town loves each other. T h e r e would be absolutely no need for anyone to r u n away because y o u could do whatever they want. M y m a i n idea is that m a n w o u l d not have the capacity to hate just the capacity to love.  H e r central idea about what a peaceful w o r l d should be is based on two specific criteria, freedom and a natural inclination to love one another. A l t h o u g h this response is somewhat idealistic, she has examined the conditions of the feud i n the play a n d concluded that m u c h of the hatred was due to certain restrictions placed o n man's choice to marry or not to marry a certain individual, and based o n man's capacity to hate as demonstrated by his unchecked use of weapons. She has made the choice not to write a personal narrative and not to employ any creative literary devices, but has chosen to establish a deliberate and clear emphasis i n order to describe her o w n ideal w o r l d . This answer not only recalls the destructiveness of the sword-fighting scenes but also reveals a sociological interpretation of the implications of the  "grudge" action.  T h e next response indicates a clear understanding of the question and also a somewhat wider-reaching analysis of the consequences of the character's actions i n the play, T h e best example of U t o p i a that I can think  o f is a society  without money or craving for personal belongings, because I find that most violence and hatred comes from greed and ego. 60  W h a t people need to do i n order to keep the peace and not create grudges is to forgive and forget or at least try to do so. W h a t the Montagues and the Capulets should have done was they should have forgotten a l l their grudges. M a y b e the reason so many religions are at war nowadays, is because they either don't k n o w how to solve their problems and their differences and don't k n o w how to deal with them, so their only logical choice is to fight which solves absolutely nothing. T h e reason many grudges are still going o n nowadays is because people don't want to be wrong, and usually there isn't a wrong anyway, they are b o t h right i n their own ways.  This student is working more closely with the content of the play a n d is at the same time generating new ways of scrutinizing a situation that are outside the boundaries o f conventional thinking. It is accurate to say that most "people don't want to be wrong", but to push the thinking task further and to observe that "both people are right i n their own ways" is seeking a solution that is not apparent. This k i n d of thinking has been identified by M a r z a n o as a disposition of creative thinking which he describes as being an ability to break through certain assumptions that were established while conceptualizing the task to view the p r o b l e m i n a new and diverse way (1991, p.63). T h e next response has been written by R a c h e l . Rachel's answer to the question demonstrates an ability to employ literary devices i n order to create a clear set of images to describe Utopia. M a r z a n o w o u l d describe this k i n d of response as "imagery". 61  L y i n g i n my bed, staring at the stars, I wonder what it w o u l d be like to live i n a peaceful world.  A time where every religion  accepts another, every h u m a n cares for the other.  N o more  criminals, no more pain. N o more war, no more chains. Jails w o u l d be empty, policemen, there would be a few. C h i l d r e n w o u l d be running, the whole w o r l d be new. B u t why do I bother thinking when I know this will not happen. L y i n g i n m y b e d staring into the night wondering i f the w o r l d w o u l d ever b e so bright.  This highly articulate vision o f what it w o u l d be like to live i n a Utopia indicates a high level o f "knowledge about what she wants to say". She has used imagery to describe her ideal Utopia but then, with a shift i n emotions, turns her m i n d to the reality o f today's w o r l d a n d states that such a vision is only fantasy. This is a very polished a n d descriptive piece o f prose that ends o n an abrupt note o f despair. G i v e n her background as a n Israeli I imagine that her formative years w o u l d certainly have exposed her to a different cultural and political climate from m y own, not to mention the psychological effect that might result from living i n a country that is surrounded by enemies. T h e next response reflects the m i n d o f a student w h o chooses her tone a n d content according to the specifications o f one o f the designated tasks o f the question. A r i e l l a wrote a short, one day chronicle o f her life i n U t o p i a , I w o u l d wake u p at 11:00 every morning and have a basin o f water next to m e to wash my face and hands i n . T h e n I w o u l d 62  get into the shower i n my b e d r o o m and take a shower for 45 minutes.  T h e n I w o u l d have breakfast made i n the kitchen  downstairs brought up to my r o o m . T h e n I w o u l d sit down and read for a while until 1:00, w h e n I w o u l d go to school until 5:00 then ... T h a t night I w o u l d go to sleep knowing that there was peace everywhere i n the w o r l d and everyone lived i n luxury.  A f t e r first reading this response, I was tempted to think "how simplistic", but quickly realized that what she was saying i n the end was that most of man's hostility towards m a n is either due to his poverty or to his awareness of his o w n discontent o f having less material comfort than the next person. H e r view of a peaceful w o r l d is not simplistic but based o n simplicity; i n essence her ideal w o u l d be a life free o f complications. A l t h o u g h her answer focuses on one particular part o f the question her writing is fluent, controlled, coherent, and precise. B y having maintained a consistent point o f view, she has established a firm sense of voice and purpose: the reader knows exactly what the writer's intent is for writing. A n d student N a d i a writes, Peace, a society that is quiet and free from war. E v e r y o n e is helpful, the w o r l d is like a paradise of diamonds. T h e water hit the dry land and flowers blossomed. T h e grass may dance again w i t h happiness.  This means the grass can live with sufficient  amount of water.  Because peace is i n the air, even the non-  h u m a n things are happy.  63  This answer took me by surprise. T h i n k i n g i n the abstract she has created a metaphor that mirrors her very poetic idea of a peaceful w o r l d .  It is the k i n d o f  response that almost seems blasphemous to dissect or to assess according to a list of writing criteria. W h a t is significant here is that this student has engaged i n the drama a n d is responding to the writing task i n a very personal but also very expressive and feeling sort of way. This k i n d of reflection is a powerful example o f how the d r a m a can crystallize meaning, and can enrich the individual's inner w o r l d even though she has not succeeded i n answering the entire question. A s she has made no attempt to consider possible solutions to the feuding action, I w o u l d say that her response is pure imagery and might be used as an example of a first line o f response. She has not thought about other topics that her images might generate or be related to. O n e student chose to respond to the question i n role and wrote the following: (I'm writing this paragraph  as a new ruler that came  to  V e r o n a ) . W h e n I first got here it was a l l terrible, the people are split into two groups over a stupid feud. T h e first thing that I wanted to know, was, w h o were the m a i n "feuders" or w h o started this thing! I got to the two m a i n feuders the Montagues and the Capulets.  I met L o r d Capulet and his wife and we  talked about this thing and they told me they really hate the Montagues, so I asked them, why??? T h e y didn't k n o w what to say.  T h e y told me that their great great great grandparents  started it, and they don't even k n o w over what. T h e Montagues sort of told me the same thing. I decided to make peace once and for a l l . I sat with them together and we discussed how we 64  could solve this feud. W e came to a conclusion, of course each side gave up a little, but it was worth it. V e r o n a is not a hate village any more, y o u can only see love. B y the way, their kids R o m e o and Juliet who live there love each other until now, and they can finally make it public. T h e y just had a baby.  Shaella has written her response with a keen sense of audience and a clear sense of purpose. H e r audience appears to be the teacher who is going to be grading her response according to the directives of the question and her purpose is to include i n her descriptive writing task a solution to the problem. She is the only student who perceives the concept o f compromise as being a workable solution to the p r o b l e m . She has no doubt weighed the pros and cons of other solutions and has decided that this act of shared compromise is the only reasonable way to deal with the feuding action. N a o m i ' s response is next; her ideas are not dissimilar i n content to some of her classmates, M y idea of a peaceful life is when there are no wars or arguing. T h e r e is no pollution and the economy is i n great condition. Everybody should be friends and friendly. N o b o d y should even think about how somebody else is different.  F o r example, the  colour o f somebody's skin.  People should be looking o n the  inside, not o n the outside.  That's the way it should be today  and tomorrow and forever.  A c c o r d i n g to N a o m i the biggest problems that plague m a n k i n d are racism, an 65  unstable economy, and pollution. E v e n though she has not attempted to solve the problems o f our economy or to address any possible solutions to the pollution p r o b l e m she is certain about how we can solve racism. H e r emphasis is deliberate as her o w n personal values on the subject have been clearly voiced. This next response was written by a student w h o has been i n C a n a d a for only one year, H e is from Russia and this is the first time that he has attempted to complete a series o f exam questions i n English. H e gives his w o r k a title, T H E UTOPIA F O R THOSE TIMES If the family of Montagues became friends with the Capulets this could be the perfect society, but they didn't and because R o m e o and Juliet died (even though the families got i n peace then) they could never get U t o p i a without R o m e o and Juliet, because U t o p i a is like one big love. E v e n i f people w i l l have a love, but don't have peace it won't be the perfect m o d e r n society. Therefore i f one of the families w o u l d forgive the sins of the other family then R o m e o and Juliet w o u l d not die but they w o u l d establish a perfect society or U t o p i a . A n d probably that's why people love the play R o m e o and Juliet so m u c h because they almost got the perfect society, and almost made the w o r l d peaceful, and happy. A n d the whole tragedy of the Shakespearean play was that the people were so close to the perfect w o r l d society and they couldn't get it. A n d that is why I l i k e d the play R o m e o and Juliet, and may other people like it too. 66  A b r a m ' s ideas are fresh and original. H i s answer shows an attempt to  offer a  solution to the p r o b l e m of the feud and to cbme to terms with Shakespeare's purpose for writing a play based on man's inclination to engage i n feuds. H i s diction and syntax are weak, but his understanding of plot and analysis of character show k e e n insight. I a m intrigued by the depth of his analysis. The  next question was designed to encourage the students to think m o r e  specifically about w h o or what disrupts social unity. It was intended to allow them to extend the thoughts and ideas that they had already developed i n question n u m b e r one, and to compare or contrast "enemies" to social unity that exist i n the play with those that exist i n our o w n society. It was worded as follows,  QUESTION  #2:  W H A T O R W H O A R E T H E "ENEMIES" T O SOCIAL UNITY? C O M P A R E A N D CONTRAST T H E "ENEMIES" T O SOCIAL UNITY T H A T EXIST IN T H E P L A Y T O THOSE T H A T EXIST IN O U R O W N SOCIETY.  A r i e l l a writes, A n enemy to social unity i n today's society w o u l d be one w h o hates, likes war and likes spilled blood. A n enemy could also be described as one who doesn't socialize i n a good way and does not unite to make our w o r l d a better place.  In R o m e o and  Juliet y o u find m u c h fighting and hatred between the two w e l l respected families.  These families w o u l d be respected a lot  more i f they w o u l d make peace between themselves, instead of  67  acting like families of little 3 year olds. It shouldn't have been that there had to be 5 deaths before peace finally came. Peace and love have a lot to do with social unity, and are very important things that should be used more often.  In this short paragraph, Ariella's central idea has been appropriately introduced, the  supporting sentences have been  adequately developed and the concluding  comments are most suitable. A s a reader though, my attention was drawn more to the thoughtful content and creative cognitive structuring of the first two sentences. She has undergone a process of extension which, as defined by M a r z a n o (p.34), involves first identifying the key literal points of the novel, then involves a transforming of the literal information into a more abstract situation. F o r example, T h e M o n t a g u e s a n d the  A n enemy to social unity  Capulets are frequently  is one w h o hates,  seen sword fighting  likes wars and likes  with each other.  spilled b l o o d .  F o r m i n g these abstract patterns of thought indicates that the student has h a d no trouble answering a higher mental process question. It is these kinds of linkages that students m a k e with literature and real life, sometimes highly personal, that m a k e extension so valuable ( M a r z a n o , p.35). T h e next student was the individual who had volunteered to play the role of the F r i a r i n the F o r u m Theatre activity of the role drama. In this role, she h a d conveyed 68  quite emphatically her disapproval of the two young people's decision to marry; her convictions were w o r d e d i n the following way, " Y o u are forcing yourselves to love one another. I don't think that two people who have been i n love for only one night are really i n love. Therefore y o u should not get m a r r i e d as it w o u l d end very unhappily and probably tragically. Anyway, I highly doubt that y o u are i n love."  Rachel's written response indicates quite a different attitude, A s m u c h as we try to achieve social unity, there will always be enemies o n the road.  In the play, the parents of R o m e o and  Juliet are their m a i n enemies.  If the Montagues and  the  Capulets weren't involved i n a grudge, R o m e o and Juliet w o u l d not have died for they w o u l d not have to marry i n secret or hide their love. O n the other hand, the enemies of our societies are far more severe than those i n the play. Criminals are those w h o m we have to overcome i n order to have peace. W i t h them i n our society, there is no way we can achieve social unity. A s an addition, anti-semites are enemies to the society as well. F o r by having a certain religion hate another, there is no way social unity could be achieved. Therefore, we have a long way until we could achieve social unity.  It w o u l d seem that the two different activities have facilitated two 69  different  responses. W h i l e participating i n the role drama and acting as the Friar, R a c h e l h a d b e e n highly motivated to divorce the two lovers and to criticize their behaviour as being immature. She had also i m p l i e d that the hatred being expressed between the heads of the two households could have resulted from the impetuous and juvenile love that R o m e o and Juliet have been indulging themselves i n . H e r written response reflects a m o r e universal and sophisticated outlook on the m o r a l issue; she no longer is viewing the couple as being authors of their own demise but as being victims of their parent's enmity. H e r perspective has shifted, her knowledge o n the subject has undergone a change and what has resulted is a reorganizing or restructuring of her knowledge. M a r z a n o asserts that this restructuring of knowledge "refers to the creation of new structures  either to reinterpret  o l d schema or to create new information"(p.9).  U l t i m a t e l y this suggests three things, (1) that the two different drama activities and responses have served as stimuli for the student to utilize different types o f cognition, (2) that once knowledge h a d been acquired through the construction of meaningful activities it d i d not remain static, and (3) the student has drawn some very powerful a n d personal parallels between her own religious and cultural history to the events i n the play. A n o t h e r example of an obvious contrast that exists between the students' response to the dramatic situation to an attitude taken by the students i n their written response is evident i n Sarah's response, T h e r e are many enemies to social unity no matter where y o u are because everyone is an enemy to social unity as long as they have the capacity to hate. T h e major enemies to social unity are people who create hate i n the minds of other people. F o r 70  examples the major enemies of social unity i n the play R o m e o and Juliet are L o r d Capulet and L o r d M o n t a g u e because of the grudge between the two families and how they try to avoid each other i n everything they do. T h e major enemies to social unity are racist groups such as the K . K . K or the Neo-nazis. T h e only way we can stop being enemies to social unity is by stopping to listen to the major enemies to social unity and to get r i d of capacity to hate within us.  So why h a d this student, with these kinds of convictions, not so m u c h as even attempted to make the slightest gesture towards forgiveness or reconciliation during the d r a m a activities? I a m again quite amazed at the obvious differences that exist between the students' oral responses voiced while participating i n the drama and the kinds of ideas they have explored i n their written responses. In step number nine, the final activity o f the drama, where I h a d set up a formal hearing to determine who should be p a r d o n ' d and w h o should be punished, only one student was prepared to admit to any degree of responsibility or involvement i n the tragic deaths. O n e student h a d said, "I d i d not tell her to marry h i m , therefore, I a m not guilty." A n o t h e r h a d pleaded, "I'm innocent. M e n , w o m e n of the jury, I want to say that I'm not guilty. T h e y died because o f love. T h e y trusted love too much. It was because of that that they died. It's their p r o b l e m if they died not mine. T h e y are the ones to blame." T h e i r thoughts h a d been shaped with conviction as was evidenced by their strong and purposeful choice of words and by the forcefulness and firmness of the delivery 71  of each of their testimonies. I remembered thinking at the time that these students have very little courage. H o w could they all be so openly willing to deny their involvement? H o w could they not see that they themselves h a d been part and parcel of the continuation of the hatred and the feud? Y e t now, w h e n asked to commit thenideas to paper and to reflect i n written form on who the enemies to social unity might be, they h a d identified the culprit as being "anyone who has the capacity to hate", or anyone w h o "creates hate i n the minds of others". These students h a d engaged i n a market scene i n role as either Capulets or Montagues and h a d hurled nasty invectives at each other, they had said very hateful things about members o f the enemy family, and they h a d demonstrated with their o w n body language a discernible degree of revulsion at the idea of the two young enemies getting married. T h e point here is that the  students  have rethought  their previously held  perceptions and experiences. Ideas that the drama had introduced to the students by inviting them to participate i n the brainstorming of the grudges and by encouraging them to create stories to depict the origin of the grudges, h a d elicited very personal responses. These oral responses represented their o w n religious values and cultural convictions. T h e i r writing, however, revealed an ability to challenge the very beliefs and thought structures that they had originally formulated. I found further evidence to support this claim i n the students' responses to question n u m b e r three. It was formulated as follows,  72  QUESTION  #3:  W H A T A R E T H E SYMBOLS OF SOCIAL UNITY? C O M P A R E A N D A N A L Y Z E T H E SYMBOLS OF SOCIAL UNITY T H A T EXIST IN T H E P L A Y T O T H O S E T H A T EXIST IN O U R PRESENT  SOCIETY.  R a c h e l responds by writing, In the play R o m e o and Juliet, the friar is the m a i n symbol for social unity.  H e is involved i n most of the ceremonies that  involve unity. H e united R o m e o and Juliet. M o s t important, he is the only character i n the play who is neither an enemy to the Montagues nor an enemy to the Capulets. H o w e v e r , i n our society, it's the police or leaders who attempt to unite the w o r l d . B y stopping criminals, there w o u l d be peace, which is the m a i n step for reaching social unity.  B y having the  government  respect all religions, there is a greater chance to achieve social unity.  Some day, we hope to reach social unity like the play  did. A n o t h e r symbol of social unity i n the play is the love between R o m e o and Juliet. T h e love of enemies foreshadows the social unity that might occur i n the end of the play.  R a c h e l has drawn some very profound parallels between the events that occur i n the play to certain realities of her own present day society. She believes that i f a  73  government respects the rights o f a l l religious minorities, there is a chance that social unity could be achieved. She has organized her thoughts into a causal network o f ideas. F r o m a cognitive perspective she has observed a series of complex networks of causes that have b e e n effected by other events leading to a new event which i n turn might effect yet another event, and so on. In her m i n d she has compared the consequences of the grudge i n the play to the animosities that exist between different religious groups and, as a result of having experienced i n a lived-out or existential way the ramifications of these causes and effects, has restructured her thinking o n the subject. Instead of seeing the love between R o m e o and Juliet as being d o o m e d to disaster, or as being impetuous or wrong, she now views it as being symbolic of a promise of social unity i n the future. Sarah responds with the following ideas, T h e r e are many symbols of social unity that exist today and existed a long time ago. O n e of the symbols of social unity that appeared i n the play R o m e o and Juliet is the F r i a r . T h e reason the F r i a r is a symbol of social unity is because he thought of R o m e o and Juliet as being the same and he thought R o m e o and Juliet's love could overrule the grudge but it made it worse while they lived.  T h e church can still be called a symbol o f  social unity today because people go there on Sundays which brings people together i n our w o r l d today but unfortunately the church is loosing its touch. T h e basic symbols of social unity i n my opinion is religion because it brings a group of people together i n peace (most of the time). 74  B u t i n today's w o r l d  religion is not really accepted so people are uniting at places like a fitness club, tennis club, etc. T h e r e are many symbols o f social unity where ever one goes.  A n d N a d i a writes, In the play R o m e o and Juliet there are symbols of social unity, and they can be compared to our society today. T o compare these two we must ask a question. unity?  W h a t are the symbols of  It is a symbol that shows unity (togetherness of the  society). In the play the only togetherness y o u see was that the Montagues were family-like, and the Capulets were together. M e a n i n g that the Capulets only loved another i n their society and with the Montagues it was the same. So with our society it is the same because we are against other races and prejudice against other religions.  are  This is just like how a  M o n t a g u e hated Capulet and how today a Christian w h o hates a Jew. Therefore we are just as the play today i n R o m e o and Juliet. W e can compare ourselves with them by using symbols and social unity.  A l l three of these responses are based o n thoughts that have been shaped as a result o f the students having been previously engaged i n something that matters personally to them. T h e y are offering comments, asking questions, analyzing their perceptions, expanding their ideas, examining the consequences o f events i n the play, 75  finding parallels, evaluating their own understanding of life, and i n the end applying these new understandings to new levels of meaning making. This combination of cognitive strategies is what B o l t o n (1992) refers to as reflection. H e states that the degree to w h i c h we reflect or have our understanding extended i n the art form is paramount. H e also states that as "assessors we may be guided by the way the pupils are ready to stand apart from their w o r k and reflect o n what they are creating, either during the process of m a k i n g it or after it has been made" (1992, p.138). A n o t h e r possible reason for the students' "contrasting perspectives" could be explained by the contrasting nature of the two activities. T h e context of the d r a m a is social which could account for the students' inclinations to play "devil's advocate", or to take o n a role that could be quite contrary to what they really believe. It could, therefore, be the context of the drama or the dramatic situation itself that defines the attitude taken by the students i n contrast to the writing activity which called for a very different k i n d of response. T h e final question posed was a creative writing assignment. I asked the students to write their thoughts i n a diary form. I h o p e d that students w o u l d be able to express themselves as freely as possible about personal and significant moments that they h a d experienced during the d r a m a process.  T h e assignment read as follows,  76  Q U E S T I O N #4: C R E A T I V E W R I T I N G IF Y O U W E R E T O H A V E K E P T A D I A R Y A C C O U N T O F A L L T H E EXPERIENCES Y O U ENCOUNTERED WHILE READING,  WRITING,  D R A M A T I Z I N G , BRAINSTORMING A N D O R DISCUSSING T H E P L A Y , WHAT WOULD Y O U HAVE DOCUMENTED? RECREATE SUCH A DIARY, WRITING AS M A N Y ENTRIES AS Y O U THINK MIGHT B E A P P R O P R I A T E G I V E N T H E M A N Y ISSUES T H A T W E R E E X P L O R E D IN T H E C O U R S E O F T H E STUDY.  I selected the following six diary entries based o n two criteria (1) uniqueness o f content, a n d (2) uniqueness of style. T h e entries not included were quite similar i n content to those that were selected. DIARY  #1  D e a r diary, day 1 T o d a y we learned how horrible grudges are and what limit they are taken to. W h e n we d i d the exercise w h e n y o u count to 10 and get angrier at each number, and then w h e n y o u count d o w n you have to say it happier. I realized that it's so m u c h easier to get angry than it is to calm down, and I thought that maybe people should try not to get angry as easily as they are capable of. Luv, Sarah.  77  D e a r diary, day 2 T o d a y we d i d a d r a m a exercise Of a market scene i n the time of R o m e o and Juliet and we were shouting insults at each other. It struck me how it must have felt to have lived i n V e r o n a at that time being, and were expected to follow your parents with the hatred, y o u can't blame the people i n the town, because they were only following A N C I E N T  HATRED!  Luv, Sarah  D e a r diary, day 3 T o d a y we tried to think of a way to solve the p r o b l e m of hatred in Verona.  I h a d no idea what w o u l d stop the hatred, but it  was interesting listening to my classmates saying that R o m e o and Juliet could have just run away to another city and it w o u l d have been just as i f they were dead and it w o u l d have stopped the feud. E v e n though they tried, they shouldn't have played with those potions.  E n d of Sarah.  78  DIARY  #2  Dear Diary, T o d a y we learned some more R o m e o and Juliet. W o w ! M s . M o r r i s o n teaches it so well.  I could feel it as i f it was truly  happening at that time and I was there. Today I learned that Juliet has taken the potion. W o w . W h a t a climax! I wonder what R o m e o w o u l d do?  O n that, the F r i a r shouldn't have  married them i n the first place.  W h a t was he thinking of?  I  k n o w the thought that it w o u l d reunite the families, but I w o u l d never do such a thing.  Dear Diary, Today, wow!  R o m e o heard  about Juliet from his secret  messenger and went to a specialist and bought poison that w o u l d k i l l up to 20 people. 20 people! T h e n when he went to see Juliet for the last time along came Paris, and he and R o m e o had a fight and R o m e o killed h i m .  G o o d for y o u R o m e o ! ! !  B u t then R o m e o took the poison and he died! I started to cry, and cried even harder when Juliet killed herself over R o m e o . Is that a reason to die??? Capulet and they make up. had to go through.  T h e n along comes M o n t a g u e and It was amazing to see what they  T w o lives to get them to resolve the feud.  79  DIARY  #3  A p r i l 23, 1993. D e a r , D i a r y ! I always thought the play R o m e o and Juliet was a story about two people falling i n love and then dying. W h a t I didn't k n o w however, was the reason for their deaths, the time when it occurred, and the hatred that was taking place.  N o w that we  started learning I realize that it is a m u c h better story than I thought of it. I can't wait to finish it. N o w I have to read the first two acts. I'm sure it will be great. P.S.  O n e day, y o u should read it too. W h o knows maybe y o u  w i l l enjoy it.  A p r i l 29, 1993. D e a r , D i a r y . Wow!  W e ' r e almost finished studying the play.  W e had a  market scene, a grudge, journal writing, and discussions.  I  learned from the discussion how quickly people get angry, how quick that anger becomes a grudge, and how severe the damage could be.  U n t i l now M e r c u t i o died. Tybalt died and I k n o w  R o m e o and Juliet died. T o m o r r o w we are planning o n seeing R o m e o and Juliet the movie, so I want to finish reading the play tonight before I watch the movie. I have to go now. I ' l l write to y o u as soon as we finish the play. I promise.  80  DIARY  #4  D e a r Diary, Today, something really weird happened to me i n English class. W e learned about R o m e o and Juliet, and about the feud their families had, about this hatred that their families h a d for each for many many years.  This hatred of their families, was the  thing that caused their deaths. T h e story h a d such a sad ending, which makes y o u feel, that a l l of it wouldn't necessarily have to happen.  It could have got a happy ending unless this hate  w o u l d come, and stand i n the middle, not letting their love to spread. This story made me think about me personally. I also live i n a feud: T h e Israelis and A r a b s .  I guess that a l l this  hatred each side has, also started i n a similar way to R o m e o and Juliet's story, but we don't k n o w why, we just keep o n hurting each other, hate each other, i n our hearts, and passing it to the next generation, that probably, will also have to live within this feud. B u t why? W h y don't people learn? W h y don't they look at the past?  W e could have solved some serious  problems we have today i n our society. I'm a l l full of hope that the Israeli-Arab feud will be over. I don't want my children to live i n this sea of hate, and i n this painful everyday life. A l l I want peace, I don't want my daughter to start dealing with the d i l e m m a Juliet had, i f she will fall i n love with an A r a b . I wish it's going to be over.  81  DIARY  #5  F r o m all the experiences of R o m e o and Juliet I understood that people i n those times and people i n our time w i l l always easily start a fight, a conflict, or a discussion but it w i l l always be h a r d to calm down, to forgive, to go for the compromise, or to forget something. This is one of the many significant points i n R o m e o and Juliet. A l s o I recognized that i f two families are fighting one w i l l never think that they are wrong, but w i l l always think that the other family is wrong. T h e y will never forgive other families for what they might have done.  T h a t happened i n the story o f the  Montagues and Capulets.  T h e y could never be friends w i t h  each other, even i f they knew that they were wrong. Because h u m a n nature says: " Y o u are right,, the other guy is wrong, but you are always right". A n d that's why we have so many wars going on, o n the planet, because people just can't wait to hate or k i l l other people, and w h e n they have the chance to do this, they forget about everything else and just go and k i l l people. Sometimes they don't even remember why do they do this, but still they go and continue to do it for no reason. For  the conclusion:  In R o m e o and Juliet I found many  significant points like that for people it's easy to become angry, mad, etc.  B u t h a r d to calm down, and sometimes people do  things and don't remember why they are doing it. A l s o w h e n 82  people think that they are right and other people are wrong, the fight w i l l never stop.  O n e of  the fighters should go for the  compromise and forgive each other's sins. Because of a l l these points I like R o m e o and Juliet very much.  DIARY  #6  T o d a y i n English class, we were talking about grudges, and we brain-stormed some.  Wow!  I didn't know there were that  many grudges i n the world! A r a b s and Jews, parents and teens, loggers and environmentalists, divorced couples, etc. I could go on for hours with a l l these grudges!  It's sad, isn't it?  T o d a y M a y a and I acted out the grudge between parents and teens.  I think our play was very realistic i n showing h o w  protective  and  caring parents are,  even i f they  are  too  overprotective. Everyone else h a d good plays too.  Wow!  N o w I know how rumours spread really fast. In E n g l i s h  today, we role-played a market place i n V e r o n a . E v e r y o n e was screaming for people to come and buy their foods, and gossiped in between screams.  Everyone h a d different ideas about the  grudge between the families, and they were probably a l l just stupid stories. A n d people actually believed them!  83  These diary accounts varied greatly with respect to certain decisions that the students made regarding content, style, tone and purpose. W h i l e the students seemed to be placing less emphasis on the mechanics of writing (i.e. punctuation, spelling, a n d sentence structure), they had communicated other very valuable information to me. A f t e r reading the diaries through once and then again a second time, I became almost transfixed by one thought: i n a very profound way, the w o r k h a d struck an emotional chord. Regardless of the number of writing rules b r o k e n or followed, the students h a d communicated what they intended to communicate; part of that intended message came across as being most succinctly expressed by their use of the w o r d ' W o w ' . T h e y h a d 'loved' the process of learning about Shakespeare through improvised drama. T h e i r responses d i d not resemble the responses that h a d been documented by H y n d s ' students w h e n they said, "I don't consider all of Shakespeare's works that good, and I w o u l d rather read a b o o k that has more contemporary applications," or, "I'd rather not study o l d plays like Shakespeare". This "Wow" response was a personal victory because I h a d facilitated a writing process that had personality and purpose for b o t h the teacher and the student. So often students perceive writing tasks to be for the purpose of critiquing a novel that they don't care about and or for simply getting a grade. These students are saying that, "Today i n English class, we were talking about grudges, and we brain-stormed some. W o w ! I didn't k n o w there were that many grudges i n the world!" A t one level the d r a m a had offered and had succeeded i n giving the students a sense of identification with the play. A t another level the d r a m a activities h a d also invited and succeeded i n giving the students the challenge o f experiential learning; learning that had asked them to make critical thinking decisions 84  i n a lifelike context. B y assuming ownership of the material, the students seemed to have been empowered by their own personal and social interactions with Shakespeare's text. In diary entry number six, full of pride and ownership, the student wrote, "Today A r i e l l a and I acted out the grudge between parents and teens. I think our play was very realistic i n showing how protective and caring parents are, even i f they are too overprotective. Everyone else h a d good plays too." She has evaluated her own w o r k and has decided, not whether it was good or bad, but that it was realistic and relevant to the w o r l d of relationships between teens and their parents. T h i s particular grudge h a d tremendous importance to her. A n o t h e r aspect of the students' experiences of the drama activities that I h a d not previously considered was its potential to enhance the overall 'cathartic' effect of the tragedy itself. In diary number two the student writes,"...then R o m e o took the poison and he died! I started to cry , and cried even harder when Juliet killed herself over R o m e o . Is that a reason to die???? T h e n along comes M o n t a g u e and Capulet and they m a k e up. It was amazing to see what they h a d to go through. T w o lives to get them to resolve the feud." T h e focus of the drama h a d been placed o n the feud action and the student h a d recognized with real pity and fear the magnitude of the suffering and the defeat that the story h a d revealed. She had, at the same time, been perfectly relieved to k n o w that she herself w o u l d never have been as foolish as the F r i a r h a d been w h e n he m a r r i e d the two tragic lovers. She writes,"... the F r i a r shouldn't have m a r r i e d them i n the first place. W h a t was he thinking of? I k n o w that it would reunite the families, but I w o u l d never do such a thing". 85  In diary number four the student began her entry as a very emotional response and then proceeded to articulate certain connections that the drama h a d encouraged her to make. She states, "This story made me think about me personally. I also live i n a feud: the Israelis and the A r a b s . I guess that all this hatred that each side has, also started i n a similar way to R o m e o and Juliet's story, but we don't k n o w why, we just keep o n hurting each other, hating each other, i n our hearts, and passing it to the next generation, that probably, w i l l also have to live within this feud. B u t why? W h y don't people learn? W h y don't they look at the past?" Clearly, this response is not concerned merely with the plot of the drama but more with the inner dynamics of the drama. Events and themes i n the story have been reshaped according to the writer's own h u m a n experiences and cultural insights. A s a framework for learning, the drama has created what B o l t o n (1984) describes as a retrospective link i n the following way, "Shakespeare understood that plots are not in themselves what drama is about; they are merely the retrospective link between situations. It is i n retrospect that a play tells a story. A s it unfolds, the audience is identifying with the occurring situation" (p.38). T h e student's final  retrospective  thoughts o n the situation indicate that she has exchanged the meaning of the events in the play or drama i n an attempt to find a method or way to look back o n the history of her people i n order to go forward, "I'm full of hope that the Israeli-Arab feud w i l l be over. I don't want my children to live i n this sea of hate, and i n this painful everyday life. A l l I want is peace, I don't want my daughter to start dealing with the d i l e m m a Juliet had, i f she will fall i n love with an A r a b . " I a m very m u c h m o v e d by this student's feelings of anticipation, thoughts of hope, emotions of despair a n d words of passion. 86  F u r t h e r evidence that the  drama experiences h a d enhanced the  students'  understanding of Shakespearean script was expressed i n diary number one. In reference to the market scene the student said the following, "It struck me how it must have felt to have lived i n V e r o n a at that time, and were expected to follow your parents with the hatred, y o u can't blame the people i n the town, because they were only following A N C I E N T The  HATRED!"  d r a m a h a d provided an important bridge for this student; it h a d i n fact  endowed her with an ability to not only visualize the time and the place, but h a d also given her the ability to possess a "social intelligence" from which she could then draw inferences of personal significance from a Shakespearean text.  87  PARTING THOUGHTS  A s I reflect o n the way I have approached the teaching o f R o m e o and Juliet I find myself thinking about four key personal observations, (1) the m e d i u m of the d r a m a has elicited i n my students a range of different literacy behaviours, (2) the result o f having participated i n these literacy acts enabled my students to achieve a level of competency i n their writing that was re-formulative i n nature: as writers they went far beyond the text, (3) discrepancies that occurred between the students' oral expression and their written expression provided me with clues as to how certain learning situations and certain cognitive tasks can lead to personal development and growth i n the student, a n d (4) my awareness of the cultural context of my classroom and my ability to nurture learning i n this area is now a significant educational aim. T h e definition of a literate person has expanded i n our century and is now commonly associated with educational expectations i n the areas of personal, social, cultural and visual literacy. This means that educators need to attend to the growth and development of their students i n all these learning areas. H y n d s and other reader response researchers suggest that the reader should not be striving to just c o m p r e h e n d a given text but should be striving to create inferences of personal significance. T h e students' oral responses to the role drama together with their written responses indicate that the issues of this play had personal relevance and specific applicability for this distinct group of students. T h e M o n t a g u e and Capulet feud h a d b e e n transformed into the A r a b versus Israeli feud, and the gold statues became symbols of peace between the A r a b s and the Jews. Transforming the thematic context of the play into a m o r e existential experience was an important step i n the process of attending 88  to this group o f students' cultural, personal and social literacy development. Teaching the play R o m e o and Juliet through drama invited my students to depict for themselves thematic content, and to come to an understanding of the social issues arising from the play. T h i n k i n g was cultivated as a result of the students' commitment and dedication to explore the many social, cultural, and m o r a l implications underneath several layers of text. M o r e importantly for me was the opportunity to watch my students assuming very different roles to those they normally took i n the classroom. T h e d r a m a carried a teaching element all o n its own; it encouraged students to w o r k collectively, giving them many opportunities to apply creative thinking skills and decision m a k i n g skills i n a life like social context. I came to observe i n my students a willing motivation to engage i n a social dialogue, to participate i n the art of storying, to make intertextuality ties, and to be empowered by their role as members i n an interpretive community of readers. T h e m e d i u m of drama h a d not only enhanced the students' potential to be self-directed learners but had also encouraged the majority of the class to participate together as a community of self directed and interpretive readers. Constructing meaning through a written response fosters an understanding o f the content being studied. Evaluating written responses fosters i n the teacher a knowledge of how the student may have grown and matured as a result of having engaged i n the content. A s re-formulative writers the students had generated certain theories about life, about why people provoke hatred, about why anti-semitism still exists, about h o w peace among m e n can be achieved, and about how realistic or nonrealistic a perfect society might be. A l l this was gleaned from having attempted to analyze the text, and from having created their own text. M a r z a n o (1991, p.80) suggests that the result o f 89  having developed these kinds of cognitive processes results i n a restructured knowledge base. This idea is congruent with Bakhtin's idea that the importance of reading be p l a c e d o n the reader's ability to realize his own potential and meaning within his own set o f circumstances. A s was revealed by my students' written responses, they h a d created meanings i n a social setting and had then internalized their interactions i n the form of new thoughts. W h i l e participating i n the drama many students denied their involvement i n the feud action, resisted any provocations to admit to their inability to forgive the young lovers and flatly refused to reconcile the hatred. Y e t what was revealed i n their writing was a m o r e daring and courageous look at man's capacity to hate one another. In their writing they were seeking solutions and were arduously examining the causes and effects o f social unrest. In a final response one student had restructured her thinking o n the subject so significantly that she had come to recognize the deaths as being a symbolic promise of peace and social unity i n the future.  In a sense what she h a d  done was to develop a new self awareness as a result o f having allowed her thinking to be affected by the content. Generally speaking, B o l t o n (1992) w o u l d refer to this k i n d of development as personal development because it is tied up with "creating opportunities for experimentation i n expression," and with "putting participants i n touch with their feelings" (p. 118). B o l t o n elaborates  further  o n what  personal  development means i n terms of learning through the art form of d r a m a by describing it as being 'reflexive'. W o r k i n g reflexively i n drama the drama form acts as a m i r r o r i n which the participants can see themselves (p.119). T h e potential for d r a m a to influence this k i n d of growth did not become evident to me until I h a d read and p o n d e r e d the ideas found i n their written work. W r i t t e n expression was therefore a 90  crucial step i n the students' process of meaning making. Finally, I have come to recognize the importance o f a social context i n my classroom. A s a l l the students w h o participated i n the drama were Jewish, m u c h of the content of their responses was related to connections they had made to their Jewish history, their Jewish beliefs and their Jewish values. W h a t was equally important about this experience was the fact that I h a d not engaged before this experience i n such extensive dialoguing with my students on the subject of their personal and religious values. This made me speculate o n the nature of my own teaching. H o w could I, as a teacher o f literature, and as an educator, who supposedly teaches and deals with the experiences of h u m a n beings i n their diverse and personal relations, have missed this opportunity? It was as i f I needed to create a new social context, over and above the social context o f the play itself, i n order to explore an already existing social and cultural context. 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