Monday, November 17, 2008
when to introduce your daughter to shakespeare, or are you old enough?
there are two shakespearian works that i love. romeo and juliet and macbeth. both were studied at school, so both were meticulously de-coded and understood and enjoyed.
my 12-year-old princess is currently obsessed, along with all the other girls in the world aged tween to teen, with four books called the twilight series. they are better written than the harry potter series, and the love story that is central appeals to girls. there are references throughout to pride and prejudice, wuthering heights and romeo and juliet.
princess has read the four books, all hefty tomes, in their entirety, about 6 times. the movie comes out on dec 11 or something, i am slated to take her and her friends to see it on saturday the 13th. i'm not allowed to watch with them, i have to drop them off and leave.
so when princess starts asking questions about wuthering heights (also studied year 12 english lit) and romeo and juliet, and when princess is sick with a bad virus for 6 days and counting, and has nothing to read other than the fucking twilight series, what's a mother to do?
why, she goes to the video store, borrows wuthering heights, also the zeferelli version of r&j and settles in for a bit of culture transfusion with her somewhat precocious daughter.
so an hour and a half later sees us both on the same couch, crying at the end of luhrmann's romeo and juliet. she didn't like it, she wanted the happy ending. i tried to explain that it would not have been such a strong story, the best of all romantic stories, powerful, moving, emotional, etc, without the tragic ending. of course, luhrmann has drawn it out, not just having romeo finding juliet "dead" and then killing himself, just as she wakes, but with her moving her hands, fluttering her eyelids, opening her eyes just as he is taking the poison. and he sees she is alive. this all added terrifically to princess' hysteria, as she sobbed, said she didn't like it, but refused when i suggested we turn it off.
me: it's not a bad thing to cry, and let movies make you sad. they're not real, after all.
p: i don't care. i don't like it.
me: it's such a beautiful story.
p: well, it's like poetry, the way they talked, but sounded like gibberish
me: yeah, i couldn't understand it either. i need the subtitles.
p: i don't like it. i don't think i'll ever watch it again.
so, she'll be home again tomorrow. i don't think she'll be able to take zeferelli's r&j - i was thinking we could do a comparison and see which one we preferred. and i think she'll be wary of wuthering heights.
p: so is wuthering heights sad?
me: um, not in the same way
so, i might have to rethink tomorrow's activities. maybe a boardgame would be safer.