Monday, April 18, 2011

Looking Past a Façade- Final Blog

Twelfth Night, by Shakespeare, is a play of love, deceit, and identity crisis that is one of the more amusing works of the time period. Twelfth Night, which is the basis for the movie “She’s The Man”, is easy to relate to, seeing how human interactions and life is already naturally complicated, but love only causes things to get more complicated. This play emphasizes the idea that it is important to realize that nothing is as it appears and that true love is worth fighting for. Through my service, I have realized how important it is to look past the appearance of a person, or even a situation, before judging it. Most of the time, judging a person or a situation solely based on the outward appearance will almost always be inaccurate. This play proves that everything on the surface is a façade, while each person is motivated by their own feelings of mourning, love, annoyance, and confusion. This theory could be seen in day to day life, where some people will put on an act in order to accomplish their own goals, or even gain the approval of their peers.

In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, there are themes of love and deceit which are only complicated when other characters get involved. All characters are eventually interconnected in a complicated web of love and heartbreak. Viola’s actions of posing as Cesario in order to get closer to Duke only complicates things when Olivia falls for Cesario, and not Duke. When Viola falls for Duke, she can’t act on her feelings because she is posing as a boy. This is important because it shows the significance of gender roles during this time, where Viola knew that in order to work for Duke, she would only be able to pose as a boy. Whereas Olivia would have gladly hired a woman to do work for her if she was accepting visitors, Duke would not. A reoccurring theme throughout the first half of the play is the role of messages and letters delivered to other characters. Duke trusts Cesario so much that he allows Cesario to deliver love letters and messages to Olivia. When Cesario goes to Olivia to deliver these messages, she ignores them, yet follows after him and gives him a ring. This ring represents her attraction to him. The ring is supposed to act as an excuse for Cesario to return to Olivia. With each token and letter, the relationships become more and more complicated by the mistaken gender roles and mistaken identities that each person takes on. Another incident in which a letter plays a main role in a character’s deceit was when Maria decides to write a letter, pretending that she was Olivia. With the note, she enclosed a ring. The letter was intended for Malvolio, whose arrogance was annoying everyone else. Maria wrote the letter, posing as Olivia, saying that she was in love with the letter’s recipient. Malvolio had to act a certain way, as stated in the letter, to profess his love for Olivia in return. Little does he know, the letter was written by Maria, and the tasks that are asked of him (wear yellow socks, for example) are the very things that Olivia despises. The reoccurring themes of unintentional deception and love are important to the play’s purpose, which allows readers to understand the true happiness of people who love each other, while other people are defeated by a family member’s death or even a broken heart.

During service, it is important to be unbiased and keep an open mind. When Molly, Victoria, and I first went to service at Guilford Elementary School, we had no idea what to expect. We didn’t even know where the school was! When we finally got to the school on one of the first Wednesdays of the semester, the small school parking lot was overcrowded by parents waiting to pick up their children. We were greeted by some confused stares by parents, but their children smiled and waved. I was uneasy at first, realizing for the first time that this school was entirely different than the school I went to when I was little. The inside of the school was worn down, old, and dirty. Doors were broken; the tiles were stained with dirt. The middle schoolers were screaming and running down the hallways with no books, or even a backpack. The teachers would poke their head out of the door, but they wouldn’t do much to reprimand the kids. Occasionally, a teacher or administrator would walk by and tell the kids to stop running or get back to class, but the kids didn’t listen. I was worried that this was going to be more of a babysitting job than a place for me to tutor kids once a week. Once I met the kids that I was working with, I realized that these kids were different than the rest of the kids in the school. When they entered the room, they were loud and unfocused, but when we finally started working with them, their façade faded entirely. They became quiet, diligent, and focused. They wanted to learn. I was shocked at the difference a few minutes could make! I thought that this was just another example of how looks and actions can be deceiving and how each person has a motivation for how they are acting. The kids that we work with each week come to Coach Class in order to earn extra credit while getting ahead on their school work. Often times, they are forced to sit through the 2 hour class. At first, it’s hard to get through to the children and convince them to put effort in to their work. Once you get to know them on a more personal level, they are more willing to open up to you too, while letting their barriers down. When their barriers are down, they are able to learn more and I was able to learn more about how each of the kids learn.

I learned a lot this semester, both in the classroom and during service at Guilford Elementary Middle School. I believe that I got the most out of doing the poetry presentation on “My Papa’s Waltz”. It forced me to be confident in my own analysis of a poem that was completely foreign to me before this semester. It also allowed me to lead a discussion about a poem that I believed was really interesting. I loved being able to explain both perspectives of the poem while allowing my peers to make their own interpretations of the poem. It also forced me to get over my fears of making a presentation in front of a group of people. I was comfortable doing presentations similar to these in high school, but this was my first experience doing so in college. I’m glad that this presentation was my first one for college, as it helped me prepare for other presentations I’ll have to make next year, especially as a Service Coordinator at CCSJ for Presence for Christmas and the Good Stuff Campaign. I became more comfortable talking and participating in class because of the presentations as well.

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