9thGrade Practice Prompt TOPIC #2: Some teens today do not understand why Shakespeare is still taught in high school. However, many other teens can relate to characters and situations in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
In a five paragraph essay, explain how present-day teens experience situations similar to those of Romeo and Juliet. Think About:
how specific characters and their characteristics compare to today’s teens
similar situations in Shakespeare’s plot that teenagers still experience
Growing up has never been easy, not even in Shakespeare’s time. (Attention Getter) Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is a classic that has stood the test of time because it presents challenges that adolescents still face today. (Necessary Information) Situations seen in the drama that have made their way into modern life include feeling pressure from family, being overwhelmed by emotions and deciding when or if it is ever appropriate to lie. (Thesis)
One situation in Romeo and Juliet that teens encounter today is pressure from family. (Topic Sentence) Although family is what most people value most, it is the same group of people who can push you over the edge. (Point 1) For example, some parents today are still prejudiced in regard to race or ethnicity when their children are not. Although race was not a issue with the Capulets and Montagues, the family name was the issue and prejudice ensued creating tension in the story. (Explain) In this same manner, families might be too judgmental when it comes to their son or daughter dating. (Point 2) Some families try to limit who their son or daughter is allowed to date. (Illustrate) This creates pressure for teens, just as it did for Romeo and Juliet. It was in fact this pressure that ultimately led to both of their deaths. (Explain) However, family pressure is not the only issue that has stood the test of time. (Concluding Sentence)
Another situation prevalent today is that of teens being ruled by their emotions, not logic. (Topic Sentence) When emotions ensue, adrenaline begins to rush through the veins and can cause aggression. (Point 1) How many fights have occurred on high school campuses because students reacted based on emotions and not facts? (Illustrate) In Romeo and Juliet this was certainly an issue as seen in the beginning of the drama with Mercutio and Tybalt. (Explain) However, fights are only the tip of the iceberg; when teenagers make decisions based on emotion, it can result in dire consequences. (Point 2) Each year teens take their lives when they are focused on the negative emotions they are feeling. (Illustrate) At the end of Romeo and Juliet, both the main characters end up killing themselves needlessly based on emotional decisions. (Explain) These emotional decisions, without doubt, lead to poor decisions. (Concluding Sentence)
A final parallel between Romeo and Juliet and modern times is when a teen struggles with the question of whether to lie or not. (Topic Sentence) Teenagers often get caught up in lies which can lead to big trouble with friends and family. (Point 1) When caught in a lie, teens often end up back-tracking and adding to a web of confusion. (Illustrate) Romeo and Juliet were much same. Their lie grew so complex that eventually even they could not discern fact from fiction. (Explain) Sometimes lying for others can be just as disastrous as lying for one’s self. (Point 2) In the play Friar Lawrence lies for both Romeo and Juliet, thinking that he is really helping them to bring peace to their families. (Illustrate/Explain) It is not uncommon today that teens lie for their friends which can result in confusion and sometimes in unanticipated consequences. (Concluding Sentence)
Lies, emotions, and pressure all are issues today just like Shakespeare’s time. (Restatement of Thesis) Reacting on any of these in place of using logic can lead to tragedy and heartache. Perhaps Shakespeare was well ahead of his time or simply understood the universal needs of teens. (Final Impact Statement)
Organization: 5 (Inviting beginning, satisfying sense of resolution, effective sequencing)
Ideas and Content: 5 (Has clarity, focus and control, supported by relevant detail and a through explanation)
Voice: 4 (Voice is present, there is a sense of audience and sincerity)
Word Choice: 4 (Words are effective and convey the message. There is an absence of figurative language or ordinary words used in an unusual way).
Sentence Fluency: 5 (Easy flow and rhythm. A varied structure that makes expressive oral reading easy and enjoyable)
Conventions: 4 (Almost a 5, but fails to have a wide range of conventions used)