Mar 7, 2006

the challenge

Today I dropped a pop quiz on my freshfolks, some of whom I suspect have been scanning the pages of Romeo and Juliet with their eyes, but not uploading them into their brains. With over half the class flunking outright, I decided I'd give a second chance.

The wager: if you can find a quote from the first three acts of R&J that I can't properly identify, you get 20 out of 20 on the quiz. Period.

The rules:

1. Major characters only. Srs. Capulet and Montague, Romeo, Juliet, the Nurse, Paris, Tybalt, Mercutio, Benvolio, the Prince, Friar Laurence. (No Sampson, Gregory, Peter, citizens, servants, etc.)

2. One line, or two lines, to give me at least a shred of a chance. No single words or weasely tricks.

Bad example: "Commend me to thy lady." Said too many times by too many gentlemen.

Good example: "This precious book of love, this unbound lover, / To beautify him, only lacks a cover." Said by Lady Capulet (to Juliet, about Paris).

Accordingly, I've spent the better part of my evening studying, reading the play out loud and silently, being quizzed every hour or so by my wife. I'd say I'm at 85% accuracy. My goal is to give out zero extra credit tomorrow, but there won't be any brine if my students stump me.

After all, if I expect them to know this stuff, shouldn't I?

Update: "I hate to give out extra credit," I told them. "I studied all night." They laughed. Nervously. Twenty-five students (out of 53) stumped me, but only three succeeded on their first try. My boundless generosity allowed some to make five attempts--and still they failed, and still they kept trying. I can respect that.

Tomorrow's quiz is gonna be tougher.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

My favorite line (which was a mystery until I learned the details of the eastern European version of Cinderella), my favorite character:

"Her chariot is an empty hazelnut."

Have you shown your kids Romeo + Juliet the movie? How could they not soak that up? I once bought a complete stranger his Americano to reward him for looking just like a Baz Luhrman Capulet.