At war, with Shakespeare--student development.
First-year students' causal analysis of the September 11 attacks September 11 attacks
Series of airline hijackings and suicide bombings against U.S. targets perpetrated by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda. led to a study of English majors' thinking about war in an undergraduate Shakespeare course. The analysis of their responses to short surveys was based on categories of students' intellectual development and classical ideas of tragic catharsis catharsis
Purging or purification of emotions through art. The term is derived from the Greek katharsis (“purgation,” “cleansing”), a medical term used by Aristotle as a metaphor to describe the effects of dramatic tragedy on the spectator: by . From students' definitions of "war" and interpretations of metaphors, a proposed method of relieving anxiety emerged: assess students' thought on a series of rich literary texts and some movement can be fostered along Baxter Magolda's observed continuum of critical thought, from absolute towards contextual.
On the class day of September 12, 2001 I suspended composition lessons about Huckleberry huckleberry, any plant of the genus Gaylussacia, shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to North and South America. The box huckleberry (G. brachycera) of E North America is evergreen and is often cultivated. The common huckleberry (G. Finn and turned the attention of my 25 freshmen to a drama different from Huck huck
Noun 1. huck - toweling consisting of coarse absorbent cotton or linen fabric
toweling, towelling - any of various fabrics (linen or cotton) used to make towels and Jim's escapades along the Mississippi River Mississippi River
River, central U.S. It rises at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and flows south, meeting its major tributaries, the Missouri and the Ohio rivers, about halfway along its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. . Down on the Hudson and the Potomac, the terrorists' scene was immediate, numbing, and doubtful. No one knew much about who, what, how, or why--only when. We were fortunate to be working with Ann E. Berthoffs Forming/Thinking/Writing, a thoughtful composition book, and her summary of multiple views of "the logic of explanation" provided a framework for asking questions about the catastrophe (183). I asked these affable Midwesterners to help us understand several levels of cause, and I charted some of the bewildered first answers to Aristotle's categories (from his Physics,II.3).
* Material cause--the substance of the event: airplanes turned into gasoline bombs
* Efficient cause--the active agents: the people who hijacked the planes, murdered passengers and crew, re-directed the flights
* Formal cause--the pattern: plans devised by masterminds
* Final cause--the ultimate purpose: terror? revenge?
Although our group came to no conclusions, being on the look-out for multiple explanations of what happened was momentarily helpful in relieving the shock and anger. Mark Twain's novel returned us soon enough to the symbolic violence The concept of symbolic violence was first introduced by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu to account for forms of coercion which are effected without physical force, "... of the Grangerford/ Shepherdson feud (chapter 18) or the tarring and feathering Tarring and feathering is a physical punishment, at least as old as the Crusades, used to enforce formal justice in feudal Europe and informal justice in Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance of the fraudulent King and the Duke (chapter 33), but these literary examples of cruelty were less provocative than the eyewitness news Eyewitness News is a local television newscast format, widely used in different markets across the United States. It is also the name of a very popular music package offered by Gari Communications. on the national stage.
Three analytical approaches helped me understand my students' responses to unexpected death and national mobilization. Student development theory, developed by Marcia Baxter Magolda from the seminal study of William Perry
1. Philosophy A proponent of relativism.
2. A physicist who specializes in the theories of relativity. stance? Over the course of 15 weeks with my class of 25 sophomores, junior, and senior English majors, I conducted four surveys prompted by Shakespeare's handling of war in eleven plays, categorized approximately in this order:
* the 15th century invasion of France--Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, Henry V
* the civil wars of the early period of the Roman empire, and the ancient monarchy-Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra Antony and Cleopatra
victims of conflict between political ambition and love. [Br. Lit.: Antony and Cleopatra]
See : Love, Tragic , Coriolanus
* 16th century Italian mercantile/religious conflicts--Othello, Ali's Well that Ends Well
* overthrows of princes [coups d'etats]--Macbeth, The Tempest
* personal grudges fought in pre-modern, hand to hand combat--Cymbeline, The Two Noble Kinsmen.
The exact order was determined by Renaissance genres established in the First Folio The First Folio is the term applied by modern scholars to the first published collection of William Shakespeare's plays; its actual title is Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. printing (1623) as history, tragedy, and comedy. In terms of post-Sept. 11 concepts, these groupings might be called Histories of homeland security Noun 1. Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
Department of Homeland Security
executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States , tragedies about the Axis of Evil, comedies or tragi-comedies where United We Stand.
The first seven weeks dealt not only with the genre of history and tragedy but involved concentrated work on rhetorical language, culminating in students writing literary interpretations (a "close reading" of a passage). After the mid-term, they were required to compose a director's notebook, complementing a focus on historical and speculative practices in the theater. War was an underlying theme but not the exclusive means of organizing these learning experiences.
Aristotle's analysis of tragedy in the Poetics (XIII-XIV) has framed many an English major's knowledge of this genre, and it potentially intensified human responses to death, especially on the battlefield. Pity for undeserved un·de·served
Not merited; unjustifiable or unfair.
unde·serv misfortune, fear that a violent end could happen to any of us--these internal and external emotions could provoke and release a cathartic cathartic (kəthär`tĭk): see laxative. response in audiences from the Athenian amphitheater, to the Globe of London hard by the Thames River, to the Banks of the Wabash, to rural Pennsylvania, lower Manhattan Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York. Lower Manhattan is generally defined as the area delineated on the north by Chambers Street, on the west by the Hudson River (North , and the Pentagon in the District of Columbia District of Columbia, federal district (2000 pop. 572,059, a 5.7% decrease in population since the 1990 census), 69 sq mi (179 sq km), on the east bank of the Potomac River, coextensive with the city of Washington, D.C. (the capital of the United States). .
My survey process evolved from methods expressed by the classroom assessment models of Tom Angelo and Patricia Cross (Classroom Assessment Techniques, known as CATs in their handbook of the same name) and Ann Berthoffs interpretations of concept formation and analogy (Berthoff 111-171). I assumed that my students' concepts of "war" would be mediated by their prior perceptions of national combat, by their unfinished reflections on the September 11 attacks, and by present consideration of Shakespeare's metaphors, stage images, and dramatic situations. I wanted to evoke their prior knowledge by inviting them to respond to prompts about the stage warriors versus their perceptions of actual terrorists who were expected to attack again. The CAT principles guided my preparation of short, redundant, multi-form, anonymous, questionnaires (Angelo 7-11). Each confidential survey solicited repeated responses about concepts, concerns, or images of war, because attendance was irregular and thus not everyone was present at all four assessments; qualitative and quantitative questions were posed, to increase cross-referencing and "richness" of the data; each student chose a simple code. Only on the final exam Noun 1. final exam - an examination administered at the end of an academic term
final examination, final
exam, examination, test - a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge; "when the test was stolen the professor had to make a new set of essay question did I require self-disclosure of identity. None of the other responses was graded.
Student Development Theory and Metaphor
In this essay I will analyze samples from these results with the help of Marcia Baxter Magolda's model of student intellectual development, based on a five-year study (1986-91) of 101 undergraduates at Miami University Miami University, main campus at Oxford, Ohio; coeducational; state supported; chartered 1809, opened 1824. The library has extensive collections in literature and American history, including the William Holmes McGuffey Library and Museum and the Edgar W. in Oxford, Ohio Oxford is a college town located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Ohio in northwestern Butler County in Oxford Township, originally called the College Township. The population was 21,943 at the 2000 census (approximately 16,000 students are included in this figure). . Through repeated interviews, she listened for shifting attitudes towards authority, a student's sense of personal identity, and the importance of peer relationships (Baxter Magolda 191). These three domains of student epistemology ("what is true? where is truth?"), persona ("who am I?"), and society ("what role do I play with others?") were clustered into four stages of growth based on student responses. Students evolved through relatively distinct ways of knowing. 1. absolute, where truths were unchanging, factual, teachable teach·a·ble
1. That can be taught: teachable skills.
2. Able and willing to learn: teachable youngsters. by experts 2. transitional, in which mixed certainty and uncertainty prevailed 3. independent, a fairly consistent doubting of truths and consequent faith in personal insight 4. contextual, where the situation influences the meaning. I tried to imitate Baxter Magolda's method of asking deep questions and looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. themes in the replies. Survey 1--orientations to war:
What incidents do you think of when the subject is "war"? How do you define "war"?
What do you worry about when you consider war and why? Or, if you do not worry about war, please explain why it does not concern you enough to justify worrying.
Choose one position and expand your thinking:
--War is part of the human condition in the sense that ...
--War is unnatural to humankind, in that sense that ...
Make up a comparison using "war" in the following form: war [is to] [what?] As [what comparable idea is to] [what else?]
My students associated "war" with as many general traits as with particular historical events. "Death" and "blood" (5 citations each), "fighting" (3), "bombing" and "destruction" (2 each), "families," "human rights," "religious war, " "holocaust," "alliances," "betrayal," were among the singular reference points to war-situations. These people said they came to Shakespeare's plays William Shakespeare's plays have the reputation of being among the greatest in the English language and in Western literature. His plays are traditionally divided into the genres of tragedy, history, and comedy. with cultural memories of World War II (14), Viet Nam and the killing on September 11 (9 each), World War I and the American Civil War American Civil War
or Civil War or War Between the States
(1861–65) Conflict between the U.S. federal government and 11 Southern states that fought to secede from the Union. (6 each), the Gulf War in Kuwait (4), the American Civil War, the War of American independence, Korea, the Cold War (2 each). This class thought about battlefields vicariously, though some members were connected through the Reserves or family members who participated in "Desert Storm" or Vietnam.
A profile of my students' attitudes emerged. The class expected war and feared the consequences, without conceiving any means of reducing the danger. They accepted Aristotle's idea that tragedy evokes pity for undeserved disaster, and also his concept of fear for catastrophic effects on people like us. These Midwesterners could easily imagine themselves as casualties, since they live down-wind of an army storage depot for VX nerve gas nerve gas, any of several poison gases intended for military use, e.g., tabun, sarin, soman, and VX. Nerve gases were first developed by Germany during World War II but were not used at that time. . Because we were going to study Shakespeare's imagery, the results of the class's metaphors were doubly important. Imagery stands for ideology, paradigms of the story we accept about the reality of war. Also, perhaps, a metaphor indicates a student's stage of growth as absolute, transitional, independent, or contextual knower. Seeing developmental clues through metaphor is an innovative concept in the field (Welkener).
"War is Hell" This trite metaphor might have come from the reported experience of my students' grandparents grandparents npl → abuelos mpl
grandparents grand npl → grands-parents mpl
grandparents grand npl in WWII WWII
World War II
WWII World War Two ; mental experience is observable from a person's metaphors. Conceptual frameworks, perspectives on reality, stances towards knowledge are all represented by the A is like B statements that poets refine and plain speakers enunciate daily. Lakoff and Johnson analyze metaphors by source of experience (physical orientation, ontological standpoint--attitude towards knowledge), function (reference, qualifying, identity of cause or aspect,) and field of application (containers, visual fields, personifications). These philosophers of language warrant their study by observing human dependence on metaphor to selectively explain what we are thinking by analogy with some known experience. They denote the basic metaphor in capital letters (rendered here in italics): If we think "The besieged be·siege
tr.v. be·sieged, be·sieg·ing, be·sieg·es
1. To surround with hostile forces.
2. To crowd around; hem in.
3. city collapsed from the attack," the basic concept is War is a crushing force combined with The city is a brittle object (28) For my question 1.5, I chose the simile simile (sĭm`əlē) [Lat.,=likeness], in rhetoric, a figure of speech in which an object is explicitly compared to another object. Robert Burns's poem "A Red Red Rose" contains two straightforward similes: form of metaphor where "like" or "as" coordinates a paired opposition. Even without an interpretive comment, an implication of a war comparison was usually clear. The woman (?) who said that war is to women as an omelet is to hens probably meant to imply that mothers hate the destruction of their children, because A child is a breakable container and War is a breaker. A metaphor is always a perceived relationship, often of several types, which can be illustrated by my students' chosen images of war. Spatial--war in relation to habitats such as the world or the body: (three students compared war to cancer invading the body). Sequential--war's inevitability was like Tuesday following Monday. Causal-the conditions of fighting, death, chaos, decay, disease, living free were all variously likened to war, usually as an agent in the breaker type of metaphor.
Baxter Magolda found that most of her 101 students came to college as absolute knowers and left more strongly Transitional (70). Opposed metaphoric constructions among my students would seem to be correlated with this first-year college student epistemology: War / Love as red/white; or war/Satan as peace/God; or war is to a lion as peace is to a lamb. Nobody imagined that war is to humans as breathing is to life--an innate, instinctive aggression. Such a position might only be taken by Contextual knowers who are at a stage where different values systems can be compared (Hanson). A long-range study of students' written responses would be needed to trace significant shifts about knowledge of Shakespeare's works William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) was an English poet and playwright. He wrote approximately[I|] 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. or the "real" world at war. I was content to listen for hints in four other short assessments and then an essay question on the last test.
I hoped to elicit summary reactions to the idea of all the surveys: whether Shakespeare's wars held up a mirror to our own emotional conflicts after an unexpected assault (the mirror metaphor comes from Hamlet 3.2.22).
"Some people say that modern warfare Modern warfare involves the widespread use of highly advanced technology. As a term, it is normally taken as referring to conflicts involving one or more first world powers, within the modern electronic era. is conducted by very different rules than conflicts in Shakespeare's time and therefore the 'lessons' are not transferable. Others contend that the theme of war in the plays we have read this semester is of minor importance compared to the character development or genre. Write an organized essay where you support your position on these two issues. Provide at least three detailed examples to back up your opinion on each issue. Refer to one play per issue. In your conclusion, summarize, for people in a post September 11 world, the potential value of responding to feelings about war by interpreting Shakespeare's drama."
So read the assignment. This question was meant to elicit a student's final judgment on the relative importance of Shakespeare's handling of the topic of war and on the future use of this case of literary representation for cultural healing. The results were lopsided. Twenty two students agreed that lessons could be learned from Shakespeare's war material because the nature of sixteenth-century conflict was relevant today; one person said the differences outweighed the similarities. However, eleven judged war as less important than character or genre; four said greater and three saw a balance. All the plays were cited about equally. Four people reinforced the lesson's premise, that Shakespeare can teach us about the human nature of war, "the dangers and joys of being human" in one student's words, "a lesson in maturity...with painful lessons of death, loss, and animosity," according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. another. Tolerance of multiple viewpoints, including the enemy's, became the meta-lesson for the following student:
"Shakespeare provides motivations, the inner workings of war, and how war has real implications. Shakespeare makes war human. And in a post September 11th world where war seems to be looming, it is important for all individuals in every society to examine personal beliefs, selves, moralities, and most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially the motivations of others. So Shakespeare's final lesson becomes open-mindedness."
Complementing these relational world-views were responses that cast Shakespeare's war lessons into aphorisms. Several people named the concept of history repeating "History Repeating" is the 26th episode of the ABC television series, Brothers & Sisters. The episode is also the third episode for the show's second season. It aired on Sunday October 14, 2007. itself, with implications that because you can't get out of the way of armed crusades, you should prepare yourself for grief, unless you are already a victim and then Shakespeare's vivid events might induce excessive terror. One student contrasted this sense of "loss" with "rebuilding" a terrorized life. Another expanded this idea: "Living in a post-traumatic society after 9-11 can be hard. There is so much we don't understand because we don't live in a terror-stricken, or warlike war·like
1. Belligerent; hostile.
a. Of or relating to war; martial.
b. Indicative of or threatening war.
1. environment. Many ideas presented by Shakespeare in his plays may help those people better understand the actions behind political warfare Aggressive use of political means to achieve national objectives. ."
A student of Shakespeare gains or loses access to this social understanding to the extent that he or she can: interpret the metaphors and rhetorical language of the speeches; comprehend the dramatic action of simulated battlefields, staged "alarums," and hand-to-hand fights; recognize some correspondences between historical conflicts and present bombardments. This last step required the perception of analogy, whether the battleground is represented by the towered gates of besieged Harfleur threatened by "impious war/Arrayed in flames like to the prince of fiends" (Henry V 3.3.92) or to the World Trade Towers drenched in burning aviation fuel and blood.
Aristotle's definition of tragedy stresses the metaphoric nature of drama: we interpret staged characters' deeds and words as poetry, rather than as accurate history. Shakespeare's contemporary, the soldier-scholar Philip Sidney, similarly defined his subject to be "an art of imitation, for so Aristotle termeth it in this word mimesis mimesis /mi·me·sis/ (mi-me´sis) the simulation of one disease by another.mimet´ic
1. The appearance of symptoms of a disease not actually present, often caused by hysteria. , that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting or figuring forth" (An Apology for Poetry 66). When my students of Shakespeare were regularly asked to explain how they interpret warriors' conquests, boasts, meditations, stratagems, curses, and fighting rhetoric, the effort helped them perceive how September 11 history imitated Globe Theater poetry. Teachers who try similar comparisons will help to calm future anxieties, so long as the literary texts are verbally and emotionally evocative--metaphorically alive in the Shakespearean way of mirroring the nature of human warfare.
Angelo, Thomas A. and K. Patricia Cross Kathryn Patricia Cross (born 1926) is a scholar of educational research. Through her career, she has explored adult education and higher learning, discussing methodology and pedagogy in terms of remediation and advancement in the university system. . Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.
Baxter Magolda, Marcia B. Knowing and Reasoning in College: Gender-Related Patterns in Students' Intellectual Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992.
Berthoff, Ann E. and James Stephens. Forming Thinking Writing. Portsmouth, New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire in the United States of America. It is the fourth-largest community in the county, with a population of 20,784 as of the 2000 census. : Heinemann, 1988.
Hanson, Victor Davis. "Old Answers to Modern Problems--September 11th and Beyond." Inquiries 2.4 (2002). [Center for Free Inquiry, http://cfi.hanover.edu]
Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. U of Chicago P, 1980.
Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Norton, 1997.
Sir Philip Sidney's An Apology for Poetry and Astrophil and Stella: Texts and Contexts. Ed. Peter C. Herman. Glenn Allen, Virginia: College, 2001.
Welkener, Michele M. "Concepts of Creativity and Creative Identity in College: Reflections of the Heart and Head." Diss. Miami University (Ohio). 2000.
Welkener, Michele M. and Thomas J. Derrick. "Making Sense of Student Instructional Evaluations: Using Student Development Theory as a Lens." Lilly Conference on College Teaching, Oxford, Ohio. November 23, 2002.
Tom Derrick has taught composition, literary criticism, and Renaissance literature for twenty two years at Indiana State University Indiana State University, main campus at Terre Haute; coeducational; est. 1865 as a normal school, became Indiana State Teachers College in 1929, gained university status in 1965. There is also a campus at Evansville (opened 1965). , Terre Haute. He published an edition of a sixteenth-century rhetoric and a casebook A printed compilation of judicial decisions illustrating the application of particular principles of a specific field of law, such as torts, that is used in Legal Education to teach students under the Case Method system. on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar