After reading the play Twelfth Night or, What You Will, I was genuinely surprised that it was pretty relatable to our modern day society and to the service that I do at Guilford Elementary every Monday with fifth grade boys. This play demonstrates the theme of disguise, which doesn’t necessarily seem so highlighted, but its importance is done in a more undercover way.
Viola cross – dresses as a boy, because she claims that she wants to disguise her identity as a way to buy time and figure things out. It could be possible that her motivation for this is because she is not capable of facing the world without her brother, who has passed away and she cannot live without. It is also possible that she disguises herself in order to prove her boldness and braveness, whereas she is willing to face whatever stands in her way. By disguising herself as “Cesario”, she becomes a page to Duke Orsino. Eventually, she ends up falling in love with him and Olivia falls in love with Cesario. With this happening, Viola realizes that her disguise creates a twisted love triangle and cannot tell the Duke that she loves him, nor can she tell Olivia why she is Cesario and cannot love her back. This creates a main conflict in the play that has been the product of Viola making herself into someone she is not.
Relating this back to my service, I find some of the boys to disguise themselves in a different type of way than Viola does. I am by far not saying that the boys cross – dress, but they disguise themselves in a way by trying to act like the older kids or some of their friends. Every Monday when I attend service, it is also known as Athletic Training Day. The months of September, October, and November, consists of athletic training for football. These boys love the sport and are forever wanting to play. When Mr. Antoine, the head of Acts4Youth, puts them in teams and makes them do drills, there are always a few who are bickering with each other about something. Often times, I find one of the older boys, usually in seventh or eighth grade, trying to be leaders and the younger boys follow. Some of them pretend to act like the older ones and do all of the things they do. I sometimes think that they do this, because they feel they will be accepted in a certain way.
After athletic training, we go inside for homework time. This gives the boys about a half hour to forty five minutes to do all of their homework before dinner and recess. During this time, the boys are split into different classrooms by grade level. It is during this time that I find them to change an immense amount. After they let out all of their excitement and energy on the field, they are no longer with the older kids. Their personalities and overall reactions completely change. It is almost like they put themselves in a disguise and don’t act the way they truly are when they are with the older boys or their other friends.
It is pretty amazing to see the boys change so quickly, but just like Viola, they change themselves. They don’t disguise themselves in a way of hiding behind clothing, but they disguise themselves in a way of hiding their true personalities or ideas. All in all, these boys are great in every way, but it is interesting to see them change in all sorts of enviornments.
Being a part of this class has made me realize a few things: how important it is to engage in conversation, people have a lot of things to share when given the opportunity to do so, and the importance of face to face communication. Before coming into this class, I did not know that it was going to require service or event work. I probably would have never thought about doing service with the young boys, if it wasn’t for this class, which I am extremely thankful for having the opportunity to do so. It has also surprised and intrigued me how many people shared stories and opinions that I found to be similar of my own. Overall, I really enjoyed what this class had to offer.