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Tutor profile: Margaret E.

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Margaret E.
Student with English-teaching and tutoring experience
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

How do I avoid summarizing in a paper and still manage to talk about the subject?

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Margaret E.
Answer:

In order to avoid summarizing, you need to put yourself in the mindset that whoever is reading this essay has read/seen the work one hundred times-- and depending on how long they've been teaching, they probably have. Rather than simply saying what happened in a plot, instead choose to simply refer to a certain scene or chapter (ex. Don't say: "In the opening chapter in The Scarlet Letter, Hester's daughter Pearl reaches up to the Reverend; it is later revealed that the Reverend is Pearl's biological father." Instead, say: "Pearl reaching up to the Reverend in the opening chapter is an example of foreshadowing the later point when it's revealed that the Reverend is the father. This act of fatherly embrace is juxtaposed with the environment in which it takes place, as Hester is being publicly shamed and exiled for giving birth to a child out of wedlock."

Subject: Study Skills

TutorMe
Question:

What are some ways to avoid waiting until the last minute to write a paper?

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Margaret E.
Answer:

Setting a due date a week before the actual due date is a great way to Pavlovian-train yourself to get work done on time without stressing out the night before it's due. I always struggled with this in high school because I found that my creative juices just didn't seem to flow until there was a certain amount of stress added (like doing it at 11:30pm when the essay is due at midnight!). Once I was assigned a paper, I decided to write it in my planner as being due the week before it was actually due. That allowed me to mull over possible discussion topics for a while, and then when I saw that the "due date" was the next day, I had my inspiration and healthy amount of stress to encourage me to write a killer essay.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

In Taming of the Shrew (1593), how would you characterize Kate with respect to how she would have been perceived by an Elizabethan audience? Do you think Shakespeare was attempting to highlight a social issue within the play which focused on gender roles in English society at the time, or was the play a product of its time?

Inactive
Margaret E.
Answer:

Although it is impossible to know exactly what Shakespeare's intention was in writing Taming of the Shrew, it is feasible that Kate's characterization was meant to highlight an important issue within sixteenth-century English society: the treatment of women. During this time, women were not allowed to perform on stage in Shakespeare's works; however, upper-class aristocratic women often attended the theatre, which would have been important for the playwright to keep in mind while writing Taming of the Shrew. Kate's outlandish behavior in the beginning of the play represents everything that a women of the time ought not to be. Therefore, when Petruchio is able to discipline and ultimately reinvent Kate into a gentile, refined woman, her personality is far more digestible to both the characters onstage and the Elizabethan audience. Many would argue that this in itself characterizes Kate as a plot device to push the agenda of English society at the time to suppress women. That being said, other conclusions can be made when looking into the scenes which take place between Kate and Petruchio during her process of reinvention. Kate undergoes what would be deemed both back then and today as physical and emotional abuse from Petruchio; she is also sent off with him in the beginning against her will. Even Shakespeare's audience would be forced to ask themselves whether or not the abuse Kate faced was worth it in the end. Her monologue in Act V scene ii has an ironic undertone to it when interpreting the play in a gender-critical perception. In my opinion, Shakespeare used Kate to represent the unprecedented harsh treatment of women at the time, but through ironic language made it more palatable to his Elizabethan audience, encouraging them to see her as a brutish woman transformed into high-class feminine role model.

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