I've been working through WWS1 with my two 14yos and this is the week 20 essay that I marked this morning after a number of minor corrections a word order changes. For those that aren't using WWS the assignment was basically to write a one paragraph biographical sketch about Shakespeare and then 3 paragraphs outlining the different types of plays that he wrote. The essay conforms to those expectations.
So now my question. How do I explain the importance of learning to write in a formal style to a child that is solidly headed toward trades. He says formal writing is boring. He's also smart enough to realize that he can't write to everyone this way. I think that he's assuming that it will be natural to transition to formal writing as the occasion arises. To some extent this is probably true. Thoughts?
In April 1564 in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon a young boy named William Shakespeare was born. When young William was of the right age he was sent to the Stratford free school. When William was 19 he married a young woman called Anne Hathaway and had three children with her. Later on William was caught poaching deer so to try to flee from a guilty conscience he set off for London to be an actor. Instead of being an actor he became an enormously successful play writer. Finally William Shakespeare kicked the bucket at the age of 62.
In Shakespeare’s comedies the hero and the heroines and most of the rest of the people in the play get married. As You Like it is a foolish play were earldoms are taken away “wrongfully”, people are banished, end up falling in love with each other and everything turns out wonderfully in the end in a most unrealistic way. A Midsummer Night's Dream is about a couple of couples who get all mixed up by a fairy king who has had an argument with his fairy queen. In the end everybody is reconciled and they live happily ever after.
Shakespeare’s tragedies are a totally different set of plays. In this set of plays the foolish heroes usually accidentally on purpose kill a bunch of people and then die themselves in the end. Romeo and Juliet is a play about two families that have a blood feud. But a boy from one family and a girl from the other fall in love with each other. And in the end both thinking the other to be dead they commit suicide in turn. King Lear is a play about an old King and his wicked daughters. His jealous daughters end up killing each other and then the old king dies of grief.
The historical plays that he wrote are recounting historical events with some made up stuff added in. Richard III is a play about a man who kills a bunch of people in order to become the king. Richard V is a portrayal of, in Shakespeare’s mind, the ideal king.