A NovelAuthor: John Marsden
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Featured in the September, 2008 magazine
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Reading Notes1. How successful is Marsden’s re-writing of Shakespeare’s play? What notions of artistic endeavour are raised and challenged in this process. Discuss re-make versus adaptation.
2. ‘These boys, with their hormones going crazy, wanting to press their bodies into girls, it’s al they think of ... They can’t control themselves.’ (p.48) By casting Hamlet as an adolescent, Marsden is able to explore the way boys are represented. Do you think adloscents are represented respectfully in the media.
3. ‘They stepped between two opposing forces, like flies that buzz between the right hand of a man and his left. Now, the hands have slapped together.’ (p.195)
Death features prominently in Hamlet, A Novel. Are their times when it is condoned? Who bears the responsibility, those who inflicted it, or those who would have it done? How does this apply to current conflicts.
4. If someone who has committed murder is considered a beast, then do they deserve to be treated as such? Revenge versus mercy, which is the nobler in Hamlet?
5. ‘I’ve had two fathers in four months, my uncle’s suddenly my step-father, my mother’s my aunt-by-marriage, my cousins are step-sisters, you think I should be normal after that?’ (p.8) How does Hamlet’s famly situation directly affect his later actions? Would Hamlet have taken the path he does if his circumstances had been different?