Readers, was: Re: YotG along with other, off topic things.

Margaret E Parks meparks at
Sun Sep 10 20:30:10 EDT 2000

Hallie wrote:

Her year is doing Romeo and Juliet. . .  First time she sat down
> do her homework on it, she noticed that the edition was cut (8 lines
> Scene I, who knows how much more). 

That's silly, I must say.  It's been a long time since I've read R&J (not
my favorite Shakespeare play by any means) but I seem to remember that one
of the funniest parts was near the beginning, when the men joke about
cutting of some women's heads. . . maidenheads, that is.  At least it was
highly funny to me when I read it at the age of fourteen because it was
unexpectedly lewd.  Parts like that can make the humanity of it closer to
you--if a genius like Shakespeare who died centuries before you were born
can make the same sort of jokes as the boys in your grade, the whole play
becomes much more personal.  Besides, it makes it more fun and less of a
chore to kids--remember Christopher and the Arabian nights with all the
dirty parts left in?

 I had a little chat with the English
> teacher, who was very pleasant, but didn't exactly say anything which
> reconciled me to the use of an abridged edition.

Becca's fourteen, right?  That seems old enough to be reading just about
anything (except maybe. . . well, a few things.)  I'm stating my opinion
here: I'm against abridging books in general.  There are a few
exceptions: when I read Les Miserables or Daisy Miller for fun I go for
the versions that have the then-contemporary politics and the late-in-life
editing of Henry James, respectively, taken out.  But I've read the long
versions of each.  And I never read Daisy Miller for fun anyway.

The first time I read Macbeth (one of my all time favorite Shakespeare
plays) was in sixth grade, when we performed it for the rest of the
elementary school.  I was Lady Macbeth for the first half (they divided it
so that everyone could have a chance).  Two years later, I read it again,
and discovered that our sixth grade version had been edited.  The part
where I realized this was Lady Macbeth's first appearence: specifically,
they cut out bits like "come to my woman's breasts and take my mile for
gall, you murd'ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances you
wait on nature's mischief." (this may not be quite accurate but it's
close.)  I'm sure that as a sixth grader I would have been completely
uncomfortable saying this in front of lots of other kids, but I don't
entirely approve of it being left out.  I mean, they cut something like
that out as if it's unfit for children to hear, but then they expect
everyone to take nursing mothers in stride because "it's natural."  I'm
all for women being able to nurse in public, but I still feel
uncomfortable when they do so.


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