WEB EXCLUSIVE Sophomore Honors English II students discussed the book Othello today and shared their opinions on William Shakespeare’s writing specifically in the play.
Prior to the discussion, students journaled in their Commonplace notebooks about the prominence and significance of the number three in the scene of the play.
“I think it is important for students to read Shakespeare in class because it allows them to understand that Shakespeare’s work is not just a book, it’s an experience,” Sophomore English teacher Angelica Allen said. “Othello hits on a lot of the themes that we focus on in sophomore literature which is marginalization, oppression, and the other.”
Sophomores are familiar with Shakespeare’s work and writing style, as they read Julius Caesar in their freshman year English course.
“I like reading Othello because a lot of themes in the play draw parallels to our modern lives,” sophomore Mira Chawla said. “It also makes interesting statements about concepts like race, gender, and social status.”
Students are expected to read an average of five to seven pages for homework each night and come to class with thoughtful annotations that are discussed as a class.
“I think that Shakespeare’s writing can be extremely foreign and complicated at times,” sophomore Beza Geberesilassie said. “However, having required annotations pushes me to carefully read the text and in turn, allows me to have a deeper understanding of the storyline.”
Next class, students plan to interpret and act out the scene to display their understanding of the book.
“Shakespeare is such an interesting and unique part of the literary genre as a whole,” Allen said. “It’s also really challenging, especially the older you get, it doesn’t get easier to read which is why it is beneficial to read it in class where we can act it out in a fun and engaging way.”