Below is the description for Short Essay #4: Rewriting Hamlet. I have also linked it to our Course Notes folder. Have fun with this one. Don’t make it harder than it is.
ENG 102: Short Essay #4, “Rewriting Hamlet”
This assignment relates directly to our understanding of genre. The three main literary genres being poetry, drama, and prose. And within those three fall dozens of sub-genres. If we expand our definition of what we consider literary, we can include all media. For example, television, film, etc. Your assignment, then is to reimagine and rewrite Hamlet in a different genre, and I mean anything. For example, in preparation for this assignment, I usually have small group discussions and assign each group one of the following poems reimagined as the accompanying genre (bolded):
1) E. E. Cummings, “Buffalo Bill’s” Cop Drama
2) Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow” Rap
3) Langston Hughes, “Dream Boogie” Horror film
4) —“Harlem” Melodrama/Soap Opera
5) Phillis Wheatley, “On Being Brought From Africa to America” Epic
6) Sylvia Plath, “Daddy” Broadway Show
7) Pablo Neruda, “Ode to My Suit” Tragedy
8) Li-Young Lee, “Eating Alone” Comedy (classical)
9) Zulfikar Ghose, “Autobiography in Late Middle Age” Country Western
10) Natalie Diaz, “Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation” Romantic Comedy
11) Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” Shakespearian
Again, these are only examples of different genres we could rewrite each of these poems in. For “Rewriting Hamlet,” you could choose one of the above suggestions or something else if you wish.
You will write 500 words, as with all short essays. You can do one of three things. 1) You can rewrite a short scene the way one would perform it in the new genre; 2) You can write a general summary of the play as the way it would play out in the different genre; 3) You can discuss the specific necessary changes to reimagine the play in a different genre.
Don’t overthink this. It is as straightforward as it sounds. Have fun with it. All I ask is that you do your best to keep the rewrite as close to the intrinsic nature of the original text as possible.
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