Seperis (seperis) wrote,

  • Mood:

saturday afternoon at leisure

Hamlet, of All Things

So last year, Child's fifth grade reading class did a turn at Shakespeare (I have no idea how I missed this), so imagine my surprise when Child came up yesterday to tell me that he wanted to make Hamlet 3. I blinked.

(I knew their English curriculum was interesting and varied, but I didn't know they hit Hamlet and Twelfth Night. I feel I have failed as a parent, because I could have been using Shakespeare for ammunition all this time and I haven't. I've lost at least seven months of random literary references when he misbehaves. This is not fun.)

Anyway, they apparently acted out parts of it, which is, bar none, the best way ever to get anyone to read the plays and enjoy them, and Child summarized the play pretty thoroughly up until mentioning the kingdom of Detroit.

Me: Denmark.

Child: I knew that sounded wrong.

I feel better.

Random Reading

Anyway, today I read Child and Niece an article on women's suffrage--the Tennessee vote that gave the US the thirty-sixth vote to add the Nineteenth Amendment. Child has theoretically been aware of the concept of people having no right to vote at certain periods Before Now, but he was still utterly shocked, and the idea that at least two female relatives he knows who have since passed away were born before that right was recognized. Personally, I find it weird as well.

So spent part of my afternoon buying my niece's birthday gift and reading Jailed for Freedom by Doris Stevens. It's a fairly fast and interesting overview read, at least to me, but I will say the structure drove me nuts with the tendency to stop at the critical moment--a judge ordering the women held in Virginia at the Occoquan Workhouse to be brought to DC--then wanders off to something far less interesting. So lots of stopping and jumping around and going back, as I am not patient and also dreading the next account of force-feeding or any description of any people eating worm infested soup or raw pork.

However, there were some funny moments quoted.

Support From Family:
Mrs. Shaw's husband's telegram was typical of the support the women got. "Don't be quitters," he wired, "I have competent nurses to look after the children."

During questioning:
Q. [By defense.] Mr. Zinkhan, were you or were you not actuated by humanitarian motives when you sent this group of women to the Occoquan Workhouse?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you actuated by humanitarian motives when you sent Mrs. Nolan, a woman of 73 years, to the workhouse? Did you think that she could perform some service at Occoquan that it was necessary to get her out of district jail and go down there?

Warden Zinkhan gazed at the ceiling, shifted in his chair and hesitated to answer. The question was repeated, and finally the warden admitted uncomfortably that he believed he was inspired by "humanitarian motives."

And some of the articles written about the imprisonment in Charles Street Jail:
The Boston reporters were admitted freely-and they wrote columns of copy. There was the customary ridicule, but there were friendly light touches such as, "Militant Highlights - To be roommates at Vassar College and then to meet again as cellmates was the experience of Miss Elsie Hill and Mrs. Lois Warren Shaw." . . . "Superintendent Kelleher didn't know when he was in Congress with Elsie Hill's father he would some day have Congressman Hill's daughter in his jail."

Then there's, you know, the rest of it.

Rose Winslow's account of her time in prison, smuggled out on bits of paper:
"Alice Paul is in the psychopathic ward. She dreaded forcible feeding frightfully, and I hate to think how she must be feeling. I had a nervous time of it, gasping a long time afterward, and my stomach rejecting during the process. I spent a bad, restless night, but otherwise I am all right. The poor soul who fed me got liberally besprinkled during the process. I heard myself making the most hideous sounds . . . . One feels so forsaken when one lies prone and people shove a pipe down one's stomach."


"Yesterday was a bad day for me in feeding. I was vomiting continually during the process. The tube has developed an irritation somewhere that is painful.

"Never was there a sentence[1] like ours for such an offense as ours, even in England. No woman ever got it over there even for tearing down buildings. And during all that agitation we were busy saying that never would such things happen in the United States. The men told us they would not endure such frightfulness."


"We still get no mail; we are `insubordinate.' It's strange, isn't it; if you ask for food fit to eat, as we did, you are `insubordinate'; and if you refuse food you are `insubordinate.' Amusing. I am really all right. If this continues very long I perhaps won't be. I am interested to see how long our so-called `splendid American men' will stand for this form of discipline.

"All news cheers one marvelously because it is hard to feel anything but a bit desolate and forgotten here in this place.

And this:
"All the officers here know we are making this hunger strike that women fighting for liberty may be considered political prisoners; we have told them. God knows we don't want other women ever to have to do this over again."

You know, I haven't seen Iron Jawed Angels yet.
Tags: books, child
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded