Tutor profile: Samuel H.
What is the best way to teach Shakespeare?
Shakespeare is such a multi-faceted and amazing figure of literature and dramatic writing, that there is no one correct way to teach Shakespeare. That being said, the most engaging way I have found to teach Shakespeare, to all ages and experiences, is from an acting and dramatic point of view. It is wonderful and fun to go in depth on scholarly research and analytic formulations on the bard's writings, but the most interesting and immediately gratifying way to learn Shakespeare is to teach the dramatic devices at play in his scripts that reveal the emotional states of the characters and the engaging worlds they live in. If one learns the dramatic devices, the plays become much more personal and alive, popping off the page and delighting our imaginations. If we sit around and talk about plot, no one will ever get to experience the profound actions of his stories. When I say dramatic devices, I am talking about iambic pentameter, rhyming, imagery, how verbs are used, how speeches are structured, how antithesis is employed, how dialogue is structured, how characters pick words and poetry and more. All of these devices uncover the true intentions and emotions of the characters, which explains circumstances and plot in a much more engaging and vivid way. Contrasted with learning plot and events, there is not much magic there. But if one is to learn why a character is using a certain word or imagery while also speaking a certain poetry to this character compared to another, a whole new world opens up in a few sentences.
Subject: Film and Theater
How has the transition to digital media and digital film recording changed the cinema industry and moviegoing experience?
Digital media and the digitization of filmmaking has completely shifted the art form, from the medium itself to the way studios interact with audiences and much more. For one, filmmaking is a lot more affordable and accessible than it was before digital recording technology. Before, buying film was expensive and even more expensive to upkeep the roles, edit the roles, transcribe audio and so on. Now, one can click record on a camera and everything is taken care of with digits and numbers. As a result, picking up a camera and shooting a short film or even a feature is much more accessible to those who would not normally have the funds to afford all the equipment. In addition, the process of orchestrating the production of film is much more affordable, as many processes that were manually fulfilled before are not automated digitally. So what is the effect of film production becoming more affordable and accessible? For one, there is a lot more content and the output of films, television and so on has increased immensely. As we follow this shift, this means the industry as a whole has expanded and there are more jobs and products circling around. Some people believe the market is over saturated due to an increase of production, however others see the digitization of the industry as an incredible opportunity for more artists to create. One way or another, production in the cinematic world has increased and is much faster than before. As for the moviegoing experience, the digitization of cinema has many effects. First, pictures and quality of videos are the most technologically advanced ever. Movies are stunning in 4k, 8k resolutions and colors pop off the screen in a way that is more real than life. For viewers, this is a new subjective experience that is more vivid and engaging, but for some, it may seem too real. Many audiences and industry veterans alike miss the grainy and saturated feeling one gets with stock film. The tone of films overall have shifted; more real, less metaphorical. A part from the actual lived experience of movies, the digitization of cinema has also changed how we watch movies. With the rise of streaming networks and the complete shut down of in person activities due to COVID, networks and studios are in favor of releasing movies on streaming networks straight to a viewers home before it even comes out in theaters. As an audience member, movies are now on demand and more personable at home. Like the rise of TV movies in the 2000's, there are now many movies produced by streaming networks that feel ready for couch viewing rather than for a cinematic experience. Going forward, there is much debate about where cinema experience will go and how directors, actors and audiences will interact. Some actors might sign first look deals with streaming services. Some directors may actually find smaller independent studios to produce their films so that they can avoid a streaming only release. There are many possibilities, all exciting and boundless for the cinema industry.
What is an unreliable narrator? Is an unreliable narrator a bad thing?
An unreliable narrator is the main narrator in a novel, short story or even a poem who is not an omniscient or objective narrator. An unreliable narrator can be a character in the story of the piece of writing. They can also be a narrator outside of the story but can still be "unreliable." What does unreliable actually mean? Unreliable means the narrator is inherently biased about the story they are telling and may be morphing the facts of events. The narrator has a certain agenda with how they are telling the story, hence they are not telling the story just for the sake of telling the story but have deeper more personal desires in mind. Unreliable also means the perspective of the narrator is their's alone and we as readers may not have the full story since we are only getting one perspective. An unreliable narrator is not inherently a "bad" thing. In fact, an unreliable narrator is an excellent writing device an author can employ to create a more subjective and compelling experience for the reader. In a classic sense of American literature, the unreliable narrator is employed to create a very intense and subjective experience with a character, usually the protagonist, of a story. If we look at classic English literature, the unreliable narrator is evident in epistemological novels where the story is told through letters written by multiple characters in a story. In this sense, epistemological novels offer a variety of unreliable narrators, not just one. In addition, the question can be asked as to what narrator is arranging all of these letters, another possible unreliable narrator. This brings us to the question of post and post-post-modern literature in which the unreliable narrator is enhanced and ambiguous in many ways. Many post-post-modern and post-humanist writers employ multiple unreliable narrators that take advantage of their power over the reader to the point of lying. These narrators intentionally use their means of the book and the reader's trust in their words to achieve a goal, even if it means manipulating the reader. The novel Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov is an excellent example of unreliable narrators at play. All in all, unreliable narrators are a fascinating and multi-complex way of engaging readers and presenting multi-layered POV's in novels.
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