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Taming Assignment #3:  Character Bookmarks & Book Marking

As you read The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, please do the following:


·        Write in your book.  Writing margin notes, whether questions or comments, and highlighting are very important active reading skills you should have particularly by the time you reach college (Post-It notes are your friend too!).  If you don’t already do this, START.  It makes your life easier when we’re in the middle of discussion and you want to bring up something specific you read.  It’s also a good place to start your questions and “notice” lists without seriously disrupting your reading.  If you mark in your book, you can always go back after finishing a scene or act and work on your lists more formally.


·        Complete 22+ character bookmarks as follows:

2 on Sly

2 on the Lord

3 on Lucentio

2 on Tranio

4-5 on Petruchio

4-5 on Kate

3 on Bianca

2 on other characters of your choice

With the exception of Sly and the Lord, your bookmarks should cover the characters over the whole play; i.e., Don’t make 4 bookmarks on Petruchio just in the first two acts.  Pace yourself.


Um, Ms. Spachman, what in the world is a “character bookmark?”

A character bookmark is an index card on which you react to a particular character at a particular moment in a book.  The goal of the bookmarking assignment is to not only to identify key moments in a book, but to come away from your reading with a very good understanding of the characters, their motivations, and their functions.


Here’s what to do:

 #1 When you come across a passage said by a particular character that you have a significant reaction to or find significant, grab a post-it note/flag and paste it into your book.  On the post-it, write a short label to identify the character and/or passage.  The post-it will make the passage easier to find in your book, and, if need be, allow you to come back to this passage later when you make your note card.  (Please note which characters you must react to and how many times—see the list above.)

#2 Make a note card for each passage you find.  On your note card you should include:

§         the passage label (same as the post-it label you made to identify the passage)

§         the book title (in the upper right corner)

§         Act, scene, and line numbers where the passage can be found (i.e., (3:2:8-20)).

§         1 sentence summarizing what’s going on when this passage happens.

§         Your response to the passage and character.  This should be a good paragraph in which you discuss your reaction to the character, you question the character, you propose ideas about the character’s motivations, and you incorporate some initial thinking about why Shakespeare is creating this character like this (character function).


See a sample bookmark below.


Sample bookmark (based on Metamorphosis):

GREGOR & Grete’s Violin, pp. _________



Summary:  Gregor leaves his room for the last time while Grete is playing violin for the boarders.


Response:  Ok, the description given when Gregor watches his sister, about how he wants to have her shut herself in with him and play the violin for him every day and how he’d like to kiss her neck, really creeps me out.  This reminds me of Gregor’s desire to keep the woman picture earlier in the book—how it was the only one of his possessions he fought to keep by crawling on the wall and “laying” on top of it.  Anyway, I think this scene says a lot about Gregor’s inability to ground himself in reality.  We know that Grete has basically written him off by this point—she’s so busy with her own life now, and yet Gregor has this elaborate fantasy centered on the idea that she would actually want to spend all this time with him and be that close to him.  It might also have something to do with how this family seems to use each other… I’m not sure about this because Gregor’s possessiveness of her isn’t really like the possessiveness the parents have over her.  I mean, they are the ones who make her perform for the boarders like she’s a trained monkey.  Maybe Gregor’s desire is meant to contrast this because at least he adds in the idea that she would want to do this….