capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
Thank you for your patience. It's taking longer to write each of these posts than I anticipated.

And this post is turning out to be longer than I expected, so I've decided to split it in two ...

[Boilerplate Intro]

This truly is my favorite Shakespeare play -- or, at least, it's tied for "favorite" with King Lear. I'd argue it is also the most underrated play in the Shakespeare Canon, going by the imbalance between the play's native merit and its fame (or lack thereof).

Therefore, consider this fair warning: I am going to be spamming you all with this topic. In order to restore the balance, I'm making several shorter posts instead of one massive one, with at least the following posts -- and possibly more, as the mood strikes:

Part One: Synopsis ("Once upon a time...").

[Note: I've corrected a detail of the plot since I first posted this, and I've also added a footnote with Shakespeare's character and place names]

Part Two: Major Themes and Context, with quotes (Conflict between personal conscience and the law, women as the keepers of moral authority, and questioning the limits of an hereditary, theocratic, monarchy).

Part Three: Secondary Themes (The relationship between parents and children, the passage of time, and watching children grow up).

Part Four: Plot and Character Crafting

Part Five: Links to other people's interpretations

Shakespeare is taught in school in the first place because he's held up as an example of High Culture[tm]. He got that reputation during the Restoration (before that, he was popular culture). And this play was, according to Wikipedia, ignored back then. So it's (largely) ignored today. Also, according to literary and pedagogical tradition, Shakespeare's final play was The Tempest, and this was 'only' his second-to-last.

So The Winter's Tale ends up being one of the siblings at a crowded table that can't get a word in edgewise. So this post is me, saying: "C'mon, Guys! You need to listen to this!"

[Note: I didn't realize until after I started this that all of the key scenes I'm talking about take place in the court of the City King (Leontes), in Sicilia. While the next post -- the secondary themes -- will more likely be split evenly between the two kingdoms (The other being Bohemia). But there you go...]

Thoughts (from an enthusiast, but not expert) )
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
A continuation of this post: My Left Foot [/Unintentional Cerebral Palsy In-joke]

Right. So, as I mentioned in that post, contracted Achilles tendons, and resulting chronic toe-walking, is pretty much universal among people with cerebral palsy, regardless of severity or type {Spastic, Ataxic, Mixed, Hemiplegic, Diplegic, or Quadriplegic, Gross Motor Function Scale 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5}* -- whatever the difference, the presence of toe-walking is there.

This struck me as strange, considering how diverse the rest of the Cerebral Palsy spectrum is (as evidenced by the list of qualifiers in the curly brackets). So -- about a week and a half ago, I mention this to Audrey, saying (something like):

"There must be something particularly tricky about putting our weight on our heels, if that's the first part of the system to break down."

And she responded: "Well, not really. It's just that folks with C.P. don't walk. It happens to able-bodied people people, too, if they're off their feet for a long time. That's why doctors put you in a big plaster boot when you break your leg, to keep your foot at 90 degrees, so your heel cords don't tighten up, and you toe-walk when they take the cast off."

It took a while for me to get past the subtext (translation: People with C.P. walk funny because they give in too easily to their condition). But a couple of days later, I started thinking about the fact of what she was saying: It's natural for all human beings to drop their toes unless they're actively using their feet to support their weight.

And that's when the light bulb flicked on:

cut for length, and smattering of medical jargon ) for most of the last 2 million years, whenever we weren't walking, we were sitting or sleeping on the ground, instead of on furniture that allows us to stop at the halfway point. So I came up with the hypothesis that maybe we need to drop our toes in order to get up again.

So I told my idea to Audrey, when she came to take me shopping )

*For those who are curious, my C.P. is Spastic, Diplegic, G.M.F.C.S. 4 (Well, 3, sorta, but I mostly live at level 4). The first word is the type of movement my body has, the second word is for which part(s) of my body are effected, and the number score refers how close to "normal" is my means of getting from point A to Point B (on a scale from one to five)

**I find it really interesting that she considers herself a proud and opinionated feminist, but she still reverted to "how the adult men do it," when discussing a wide swath of human culture. I was really tickled, frankly, that I could turn that around and speak of the men as the more fragile biological gender which is the exception rather than the default.


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