Tuesday, May 17, 2011


As much as I don't believe in forcing every student to read every word of "the canon" (and anyways, many of them will just read the Spark Notes), I do believe in cultural literacy and the ability to understand literary allusions.

Two from last week:

Allusion: Hoisted on its own petard
Source: NPR
Refers to: Hamlet by Shakespeare
Context: "Rashid Rahman, editor of Pakistan Daily Times, says the civilian government knows well the risks of ordering such an independent review of the powerful military. Rahman says having missed bin Laden at the doorstep of its premier training academy, the army has, quote, "been hoisted on its own petard," an institution that he says is Pakistan's most privileged and revered."

Allusion: Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Source: 92 PRO FM
Refers to: "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare
Context: Daily recap of celebrity gossip; Lil Romeo had been kicked off of Dancing With the Stars the night before.

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