Class IX on Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages”

A Monpa grandmother

 
Class IX’s syllabus, unfortunately, lacks the flexibility of the other grades’ as our studies are dictated so directly by the requirements of the biannual national exams. This means that our texts of study are strictly externally prescribed, but we are lucky in that the freedom remains ours as to how we engage with the given texts.

Lately, we’ve been digging into Shakespeare’s classic monologue from “As You Like It,” in which he lays out the seven ages he believes characteristic of all men: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, judge, slippered pantaloon, and the “second childishness” of decrepit old age.

As we’ve worked to pick apart and understand the text on its own terms, we’ve also been working to develop our skills of critical analysis—encouraging each other to form our own opinions about whatever work we take in—and of sharing our ideas in a well-organized, thoroughly-evidenced way.

Below check out some of the students’ original poems about their own categorizations of the stages of life, followed by the products of their most recent exercise in argumentative paragraphs.

Namgey Chodron ‘A’

All the people have two stages
First the born, second the death
No one can’t run away
From this two stages.
They are always with us.
They are best friend of us.

Every single person face this age
Even a small animal too.
Every work which we do
Will between these two stage.
They are the boundary of
Our people’s life.
Which stay first and last.

Tsewang Lhamu

“Three Ages”

One creature is early waiting to see the world.
There is someone who kindly give birth to a young one.
That creature cries sometime attracts mother looks on her/him
gives happiness of enjoyness to man.

A child is going to school with her/his mom.
Learns a new things
and is surrounded by knowledge
goes with their friend and
enjoy with their friend.

Becomes a knowledgeable person
decides what to do
seeks for what is good and bad
runs their life by their own saving or hard work
stand for their own self defense.

Tsering Wangmo ‘A’

All the men and women
start their life with others care;
can’t work by themself,
can’t think what’s right or what’s wrong

Then the time of self care,
know what to do, can judge what’s right
collect the knowledge and use it
start to get worries of our own life.

The last thing of the life
starts to be like baby
not strong thinkings and works
always depend on others
can’t do it by ourself.

Tenzin Drolma ‘A’

Comes with an empty mind
in a world of everyone strange
started to observe
and begin to put in action
A thinker of the present
doesn’t matter of past and future
Then the time of prone
in a way with two road.
A brain full of inspiration
A time to be responsible.
After that a great burden carrier
a time to stand on oneself’s foot
A protector and a fighter
Now the time comes to
share more and judging capability
Then the time of bending.

Rinchen Lhamu

In my view the most important part in our life is that stage of a schoolboy. In the time of the schoolboy, we start to learn new things in our lives and try to see what is in this big world. Life as a schoolboy is very different than life in the other ages. We are very curious to do anything and curious to see things. We are enjoying time with friends and sharing things with friends. At the time of a schoolboy, our body is very active and fresh. We are doing basic things in life to become good in the future and starting to make a path in our life. In the life of a schoolboy, we play many games and try to do differently than before. School life is a golden life where we learn many things and our most active day.

Dorjee Norbu

From the poem “The Seven Ages,” the fifth stage is the most respectable because the poem says that at this stage he has seen the world all around him, what is the good and bad. He has “modern” example that he is made “full of wise” (at line 18 of poem: “Full of wise saws and modern instances”) and saying to his or her families. At the stage of soldier and other three stages, he has seen that the world is evil and the world wise people. He is capable to figure out the right things and wrong things. Stages six and seven are not even more wise because they have kept doing but the world is not changing. They are tired of doing wise things and also they have forgotten some wise they might do so. I respect the pantaloons and second childishness, but I respect more to the justice. Thus, the fifth stage is the most respectable for me.

Kelsang Yudron

The baby is the starting point of all seven stages like in the poem the first stage is a “mewling and puking” baby. Also the baby is the most respectable because all the stages are interconnected. If the baby is not alive or not born then anyone can’t enter through a second stage. That is why Shakespeare wrote the first stage as a baby, second as a schoolboy, then a lover, a soldier, a justice, a pantaloon and the second childishness. By not stepping on a first stair, we can’t step on a second stair.

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2 Responses to Class IX on Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages”

  1. Jerry & Gaby says:

    Wonderful work to use Shakespeare’s concepts in the lives of our amazing children: their experience and the wider world

    Thanks, Sandy, and all

  2. Mark Foley says:

    Insightful and inspiring!!! Thank you for sharing this gift.

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