The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0474   Friday, 31 December 2010

From:         Joe Conlon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Thursday, December 16, 2010 4:44:54 PM ET
Subject:      A Good Laugh from My Student

I'm teaching high school sophomores in a small town school in north-
central Indiana and we are in the middle of Final Exam week. They spent 
at least three weeks on the play _Julius Caesar_.  They read the play, 
enacted several scenes, saw the 1952 movie with Marlon Brando as Antony 
and did several projects and presentations.They had an essay on their 
final with the following prompt: "Imagine that you are Brutus in _Julius 
Caesar_.  You just delivered the funeral address for Julius Caesar. You 
are on the run and decide to write Portia a letter to let her know what 
has happened. You want her to hear the complete story from you first, 
but you have to write it because you will become too emotional if you 
see her and you do not know when you will have the chance to see her. 
Where will you begin? You want her to know why tis act was carried out, 
so perhaps you should start with the first planning of the deed. You 
imagine the questions she might ask: When and where did the killing 
occur? Who delivered the thrusts? What happened next? What did you say 
in your funeral address? Where was the body of Caesar taken and by whom? 
What did Mark Antony say? What were the reactions of the crowd to both 
your speech and that of Mark Antony? Remember, you are writing an 
informative letter to her and you want to remain as objective as 
Here is one student's entire verbatim answer:

"Portia, I wrote you this letter because I didn't know how to tell you 
face to face. Your going to be devistaited and heart broken, but Caesar 
was killed last night. Brutus stabbed him and he fell to the floor 
drapping with blood. After Brutus stabbed him he felt happy and so he 
just left.

Caesar's funeral is Saturday at 10am at Westville funeral home st. 
address is 6212 S. on Wally road. Caesar's body has been taken to the 
middle of the ground and Mark Antony is the one who took it there. Mark 
Antony said it was okay for him to be dead and it wasn't a tragedy. 
Caesar's killing was taken place at the senate meeting. Brutus and 
Cassius delivered the thrusts."
As I'm grading the paper (laughing), I'm trying to figure out where in 
the world has she been the past five weeks and why in the world did she 
write this. Then I had what I think is an insight. I think she focused 
on the words "You just delivered the funeral address" and decided to 
make up an address. Sad, sad, sad (but funny).

Joe Conlon

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