A comparison of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and the 2014 romantic comedy, “The Other Woman.”
"The Taming of the Shrew" ties together relationships and possession in multiple ways. At the time the story takes place, one of the most important things to men was acquiring a woman that would show off their worth, whether that meant marrying one of great beauty or riches. In the book, many suitors are after a young, beautiful woman, Bianca, because of her value in the society. Her older sister, though cranky and "un-ladylike," is also sought after due to her wealthy background. In the movie “The Other Woman,” a wealthy business man, Mark, cheats on his wife, Kate while also technically cheating on his mistresses as they do not know he is married. His mistresses and his wife band together to get him back and confront him in the end. His mistresses and wife pursue Mark based on what he can do for their status all while he, too, is looking to possess them for their value. These texts show that throughout the centuries people have chosen their significant others based on the value that possessing them will bring.
"She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house, My household stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything."
Act 3, Scene 2, Line 236
In this scene Petruchio has just married his “shrew” of a wife Katherine. After their wedding, Katherine wanted to stay with her family and enjoy the dinner that was made for them but Petruchio wanted to be on his way. In this line he is explaining why he must take her and never let anything happen to her. Petruchio married wealthy Katherine in hopes that he would become of even greater status due to the dowry that came with her. He did not care that she was crazy or undesirable in every other sense. He wanted the value that possessing her would bring to him. This was her money with which could bring him all the goods he mentioned.
Petruchio’s reasoning is a lot like Kate’s in “The Other Woman.”
In this scene, Kate just met Carly, his first mistress, the night before. This was shortly after Carly had found out Mark was married and had stopped seeing him. The next morning, Kate shows up on Carly’s doorstep confiding in her. Kate says: “I just thought we...maybe we could talk...because my whole world just blew up, and I don’t have a job, and I have no money of my own, and I honestly do not know what I’m gonna do at all, and I have no friends to talk to because all of my friends are Mark’s friends…” Kate depended on Mark for everything. He was her money, her friends, her life. This sounds like Petruchio’s motives in marrying Katherine. Although, in the movie, it was a woman who was possessing a man for his money and the other way around in the book.
"...I firmly vow never to woo her more, but do forswear her As one unworthy all the former favors That I have fondly flattered her withal...I will be married to a wealthy widow Ere three days pass, which hath as long loved me."
Act 4, Scene 2, Line 30
A suitor of Bianca, Gremio, has just found out that she loves Lucentio and not him. At the time Gremio knew Lucentio to be a teacher and not the wealthy man he really was. As a result, he says he will go marry a widow because she has been in love with him for years. This shows that he only wanted her because she was beautiful and pure. He also hated that she would even like a schoolmaster. After finding out that she was infatuated with another person, she lost her value to him. He wanted her because she would raise his status as a beautiful girl would’ve loved and had eyes for only him. Now that he saw she liked a man of low status, he did not want her as she would be of no value to him.
This was a lot like when Kate found out about Mark cheating.
In this scene, Kate finds Carly’s work to find her and talk to her after finding her number in his phone. Some of the dialogue is as follows:
“Carly: If you have any questions about your husband, you should ask him.
Kate: Oh, well, well, I would, but I’m pretty sure he’s lying to me and sleeping with you...Am I right?...You’re sleeping with my husband?
Carly: Sorry, I had no idea, I swear...could you please keep it down?
Kate: I did not expect this at all. I thought I would come down here and you would tell me that I’m crazy. I did not think that I would be right at all. I did not think that I would be right at all. I mean, maybe a little. In that too horrible to be true kind of way.”
In this case, Kate is like Gremio finding out that their love is infatuated with another. As a result, they both want nothing to do with them. This shows that because their love could not help their value, they do not want them anymore. It's also different in that it's the woman that is finding out the news while in the book it is the man.
Both the movie and the play show society's ideas about dating. They both tell the reader that when dating, one should look for someone that makes them of higher value. This can mean someone who brings great wealth to the table, or great beauty. Although they both share this idea, the gender roles are switched. In the case of the movie, it was women pursuing and trying to court a man, while in the play it was men trying to get a woman.
I put everything I did on this google doc.
‘Sisters’ Movie Review Using the Bechdel Test
The movie Sisters is about two sisters whose parents are trying to sell their childhood home. They come home to pack up their stuff and they decide to throw one last party in the house for old times’ sake.
This movie definitely passes the Bechdel test. The first piece of criteria in the Bechdel test is that there are at least two named women. The movie’s two main characters are women: Maura and Kate Ellis. Kate’s daughter, Haley is also named many times. Another is Brinda, a woman who the sisters hate from their childhood who ends up trying to get into their party.
The second piece of criteria in the Bechdel test is that women must talk to each other in the movie. The main characters, Maura and Kate, talk to each other about many things, most of which is about their childhood home being sold and party planning for their party. They also do some talking to Kate’s daughter, who is going through a hard time because Kate is not being as responsible as her daughter would like for her to be.
The second piece of criteria for the test is that they speak to each other about things other than a man. There are times in the film where Maura and Kate talk to each other about men but it is not an overwhelming amount. They each have a crush at the party they throw but only Maura really falls in love with the man she likes and that is not until the end. They talk about the home, their parents, the party, and Kate’s daughter a lot more than they mention men.
If I were to make up my own test the criteria would be:
-At least 2 women are named in the film.
-They do not abide by strict gender roles.
-They are at least somewhat developed characters in the film.
‘Sisters’ Movie Review Using My Test
The first piece of my test says that at least two women are named in the film, like the Bechdel Test. I found this to be an extremely important for a film to be woman-friendly, so I kept it in my test. As I said before, Kate and Maura Ellis are the two main characters as well as Kate’s daughter, Haley.
My second piece of criteria for my test says that the women in the movie do not abide by strict gender roles. I found that “Sisters” also passes this part of my test. Maura and Kate are not overweight, but they are an average weight and they are proud of it. There is a scene in the movie where they stick out their stomachs and laugh about it, which I found pretty funny. They are not ashamed of their normal weight and they are not trying to obtain the skinny woman image that so often appears in the media. There is also a scene where they are picking out provocative dresses for their party. They are not doing this to attract men, they are doing it for themselves and they are laughing about it because the dresses are tailored more for younger girls. I thought that was pretty cool because they were just being themselves and showing as much as skin as they would like-just like a guy can. They also swear and drink which goes against the “polite, happy, and pure” stereotype that girls are held to.
My last piece of criteria says that the women in the movie are at least somewhat developed characters. “Sisters” of course passes this one with flying color as the two main characters are women.
Overall, I thought that “Sisters” was a funny and interesting movie that portrayed women in a realistic way. I enjoyed the simplicity of the movie and the way I could just get lost in it and not have to analyze too much while watching it. Although I do love movies that make me think, this one was good for an easy yet fun watch while also being feminist friendly.
My family is proof that it takes a village to raise a child- and eventually three at that. For me, having two parents, two step parents, and one DNA giver is just as complicated as it sounds.
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know I was conceived by a donor. My parents always made it a point to have my older sister and I know about it.
My mom would tell us: “Your father is your father just as much as I am your mother. You’re just not related to him in the same way you are to me.” Sadie and I would nod. We didn’t totally understand it, but we didn’t care too much for it anyways because we didn’t realize that it was different. At a young age it was easiest to assume everyone else was just like us.
Sadie and I were conceived by the sperm of the same male donor and my mother’s eggs, while my younger sister (who came further down the road) is the child of my mom and my step dad. From the information gathered from my parents (I’ve only seen the actual report a few times), the donor report must have read something like this:
History of Disease:
No Cancer in bloodline
No Sickle Cell in bloodline
No Cystic Fibrosis in bloodline
“There was no donor available with red hair like mine, so we chose the closest thing to it. But he’s German like me, and he has my eye color too,” my father told Sadie and me.
In elementary school, still thinking everyone was made by a donor, I wrote a short story about my family. In the story, I mentioned that I was not biologically related to my dad, that I had an “imaginary dad” somewhere. During parent teacher conferences, my teacher brought it up to my parents.
“One more thing. In her short story about her family, she mentioned that she was not related to her father. You should probably clear that up with her.”
When my mom tells the story of this day, she says that she could tell my teacher was being obnoxiously nosy and only wanted to bring it up to get the inside scoop. My parents never considered the donor a private matter. My dad was still my dad just as much as he would have been if we were related, so it really didn’t matter. Though, my parents responded with a simple “okay” as to not give her what she was looking for.
I remember distinctly that doing punnett squares for my family bloodline in science class was confusing. How could I go home and collect data from each side of my parents’ family to figure out the likelihood of me having certain traits, when I only had a half of the data? I had no idea whether my sperm donor had attached ear lobes or a hitchhiker's thumb! I would make up the data for my dad’s side because it was hard for me to explain to my teachers and they probably would have made me do that anyways.
Once I realized that I was different, I started to feel extremely foreign to the idea of how I was brought to this Earth. As many times as my parents told me the story, I could never find the words to tell someone else about it. It felt unexplainable to myself, let alone to other people. I didn’t feel any sadness or anger about it, I just felt confused and abnormal. I felt weird knowing that my sister and I were alone with this “thing” that we couldn’t describe to people. It was crazy that something could be such a big part of who I was, but also so foreign to me at the same time, like Norman Bowker in The Things they Carried who couldn’t explain the bloodshed he witnessed and couldn’t relate to his hometown anymore- a thing thing that was such a big part of who he was.
In middle school, I started being completely open about it. I figured that having to explain it again and again would help me explain it to myself.
The reactions varied, but the most common (and my favorite one) is:
“Oh my god. You could totally have long lost brothers and sisters somewhere!”
And it’s true. I could have half siblings that I am not aware of. And that was so crazy to me. Who knows how many couples picked his sperm?
And that donor had a life! Maybe he had a wife and even had kids with her. Maybe he’s famous or maybe he has the world record for holding his breath for 20 minutes.
And as I thought about all of this, I realized that I didn’t even care about any of it because I had the best dad and most amazing family without even knowing the donor’s name. This flipped a switch in my head and it took away all the confusion that I was feeling. I thought, What difference do any of these possibilities make? I was not confused anymore because I was content. And I had always been content. I just needed to explore what the donor meant for me in order to come to this conclusion.
My mom recently came up with the clever nickname “Bob the donor” for my mystery DNA sharer. Whenever my sister and I have a trait that does not come from my mother’s bloodline, we blame it on him.
“Bob the donor must have some pretty curly hair because that does not come from my side,” my mother says.
I recently have had a growing interest in finding my half brothers and sisters. I contacted the sperm bank to find out that my sister and I have at least 3 half siblings! Only once, just the other day, did I try and enter my donor number into a database. I have my contact information for my donor sharers to find me as well. Nothing has come up yet, but I will not stop trying.
I wouldn’t have my family any other way. We are different, and that’s just one thing that I love about us. If it weren’t for the donor, I would not be here, and for that I am thankful that I share his genetic make-up. Figuring out what the donor meant to me was a long, but inevitable journey. I now know that it really means very little for the way I live my life. But, whenever someone says I look like my dad, I can’t help but laugh a little bit.
Extreme anxiety, endless hours of preparation, and billions of dollars all go towards an inaccurate representation of students and their capabilities on information that will eventually be forgotten. According to TIME Magazine, standardized tests have been around for more than 50 years and for more than 50 years they have been a controversial subject within schools. Standardized tests should no longer be incorporated in schools due to the incapability to show all students’ skills, the unnecessary cost, and the intense stress and anxiety.
Standardized tests are just not an accurate measurement of every student’s performance because they only test a narrow range of skills and knowledge. Not every child wishes to pursue a career that uses English, mathematics, or writing. Some children want to pursue skills of theirs that are not being tested on standardized tests. The American Institute for Learning and Human Development put it this way: “Standardized tests don’t value creativity. A student who writes a more creative answer in the margins of such a test, doesn’t realize that a human being won’t even see this creative response; that machines grade these tests, and a creative response that doesn’t follow the format is a wrong response.” Standardized tests shouldn’t be given to students because it does not test on all skills. It is simply telling children that creative fields are not as good as the ones that require more logic. Not to mention, even the material that the tests asses on are things that will only be in the children’s minds temporarily. The Brookings Institution published a study in 2001 that found that 80% of what children learned by studying for the test was temporary and did not affect long term learning. (Procon.org) If standardized tests are not even helping kids learn new things and improve their learning, there is absolutely no point for them in school. It defeats the purpose of school, as it is a place to expand knowledge and grow in learning. The benefit is not worth the cost.
Standardized tests cause extreme anxiety and put huge amounts of stress on students. Students already have piles of responsibilities with school being first and foremost. Standardized tests cause unnecessary anxiety. Students are already getting graded on their learning. Procon.org, a website that assesses the pros and cons of controversial topics reads, " According to education researcher Gregory J. Cizek, anecdotes abound "illustrating how testing... produces gripping anxiety in even the brightest students, and makes young children vomit or cry, or both."  On Mar. 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that "test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it.” The people who make the tests are already planning on students to vomit which means they know that these tests cause so much anxiety. Getting good grades is more than enough for kids to be worrying about.
For all of this, standardized tests cost billions of dollars. An article on the Huffington Post explains, “Standardized Testing Costs States $1.7 Billion A Year, Study Finds. A new report by the Washington-based Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution calculates states spend a combined $1.7 billion annually on standardized testing.” This money should be going to schools in need and not to unnecessary tests. School districts around the world could greatly benefit from even a small portion of this money.
When asked, school district administrators might say standardized tests are a fair and accurate representation of students. But on closer inspection, skills are being left off the test that are important to many. Standardized tests are unnecessary. They cause more problems than they are solving. Although some may disagree because it supposedly weeds out people for colleges, this argument is invalid. It only weeds out the ones who don’t have extreme skills in the few topics that children are tested on. In order to make the students (the future leaders) succeed they must be eliminated from schools.
Fletcher, Dan. "Standardized Testing." Time. Time Inc., 11 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Armstrong, Thomas. "15 Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Worthless."|American Institute for Learning and Human Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
"Standardized Tests - ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
Kuczynski-Brown, Alex. "Standardized Testing Costs States $1.7 Billion A Year, Study Finds." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.