R&J #1: Puppy Love?

  1. Based on our readings so far, do you agree or disagree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of “infatuated children” engaging in “puppy love”? Why or why not? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence.

Romeo and Juliet’s love is not “puppy love”, but rather true love. According to Merriam Webster, puppy love is “transitory love or affection felt by a child or adolescent” (Merriam Webster, 2019). With Juliet being thirteen years old and Romeo being only a few years older, we can easily label the two as “children”. However, during the 16th century, “there was no concept of being a teenager or even of childhood as now understood” (Gordon, 2018). Thirteen-year-olds weren’t considered children at that time, as such a concept did not exist. Girls “younger than [Juliet] [were] happy mothers made,” meaning they had to find love and marry at an early age (1.2.12). With the need to marry so early, there was no time for “puppy love”, or mere infatuation, since the person you loved had to be someone you wanted to marry. Furthermore, when Lady Capulet spontaneously asks Juliet if she can “like of Paris’ love,” she shows that love at that time had to be decided quickly (1.3.97). Unlike our world of globalization today, the lovers’ world left limited opportunities to love. City populations were lower, societal constraints restricted love within the same social class, and love was mostly restricted within the same region. Therefore, Romeo and Juliet’s love can seem like mere infatuation due to how quickly they elope, but with such limited opportunities to love, love had to instantaneous; there was no telling when you would find someone else you could love. Finally, when Juliet asks Romeo to “send [her] word to-morrow” if his “purpose [is] marriage”, she shows that their love is not mere infatuation, but is strong enough to trigger a marriage proposal. “Puppy love” is not strong enough to create marriage proposals. In 16th century Italy, entering marriage for a woman didn’t mean that her partner had to love her back. Men were “more or less free to visit prostitutes” and “relations between male youths and older [married] men were regarded as fairly routine” (“Husbands and Wives”, 2019). Only women had obligations to remain faithful to their husbands. Thus, Juliet’s decision to propose marriage shows that she considers her relationship with Romeo more than mere infatuation and trusts him enough to give up certain rights to enter marriage with him. Based on our readings and the norms of the 16th  century, Romeo and Juliet’s love is not mere “puppy love”, but is instead true love, appropriate to the norms and values of that time.

  1. To what extent is Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children effective, or even historically accurate? Do some brief online research to back up your claim, providing links/ citation to your research at the end of your response.

Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children is effective from a historical perspective. In the 16th century, “there was no concept of being a teenager of even of childhood as now understood” (Gordon, 2018). Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have considered themselves children, nor would their family and friends. Thus, not viewing Romeo and Juliet as children is a more historically accurate way of viewing the two lovers, as the very concept of a “child” did not exist in the 16th century. Additionally, “women as young as fourteen were often married” in 16th century Italy (“Husbands and Wives”, 2019). Allowing one year for discrepancy, this shows that it wouldn’t be unusual for a thirteen year old girl of high social standing like Juliet to be married. Therefore, Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children is effective and historically accurate.

Art, N. G. (n.d.). Husbands and Wives. Retrieved February 19, 2019, from http://www.italianrenaissanceresources.com/units/unit-2/essays/husbands-and-wives/
Gordon, J. (2018, September 16). Back in the 1500s, were teenagers considered adults or children? Retrieved February 19, 2019, from https://www.quora.com/Back-in-the-1500s-were-teenagers-considered-adults-or-children

In Depth 2k19: Blog Post #3

Once again, about two weeks have gone since my last post. I had another mentoring session. This time, we went over the following:

  • Hiragana practice. My mentor tested my knowledge of the hiragana by having me write down the romanized version of the Japanese word in hiragana. It was an opportunity for my mentor to see my grasp of hiragana and also an opportunity for me to see how much I really knew.
  • Common phrases and pronunciation: In the time we had, we ran through two different scenarios, and practiced Japanese that was relevant to that particular scenario. This gave me practical knowledge, rather than pedantic knowledge, on saying useful phrases like asking where a bus was heading.
  • Vocabulary. Once more, we went over some new vocabulary. Most of the vocabulary this time was entirely new, and I walked away from the mentoring session with the knowledge of several new words.
  • Basic grammar. One major takeaway was that in sentences using わ (wa) as a topic marker, or grammatical particle, わ is written as は (ha). Therefore, the sentence for kore wa nan desu ka? (what is this?) is written これはなんですか。

Progress Report:

Through reviewing and practice, I have fortified my knowledge of the kana, and I can pretty much write any word in hiragana or katakana.

My learning of the kanji stroke order and their rough English definitions is going pretty well. I’m approximately halfway towards my goal. On the side, I’ve been doing immersion with different forms of media. While I still don’t understand the majority of what I’m hearing, I can usually grasp the gist of the conversation through the few phrases I know and by following along with the context.

How to have a Beautiful Mind:

How to be Interesting:

Me: From looking at the words from before, I can see that jin means person. In this scenario, however, why is the word hito used to mean person?

Mentor: It’s complicated.


Me: This is mostly a guess, but is it because of the kunyomi and onyomi pronunciations? The Chinese and the native pronunciations.


Mentor: Yes. Usually, I try not to teach that too early since that confuses a lot of my students.

De Bono states that “finding and making connections links matters together and generates interest” (p. 52). By creating connections between different representations of the word for person, I linked these two matters together. This got rid of the confusion I had by creating a logical answer to the questions I had regarding the different words. Furthermore, this generated interest by telescoping into the concept of kunyomi and onyomi, something that usually wouldn’t be covered in our conversation.

How to Respond:

Me: I’m a bit confused on when you use おお or おう to create the long vowel sound for “oo”. I might have missed something you said, but is there some kind of grammar rule or any kind of rule that makes it so that you use おう or おお?

Mentor: I don’t know! (laughingly) You’ll have to ask the person who invented Japanese. It’s random, and unfortunately, it’s more memorization. You’ll get it eventually.

One of the tactics described in the “how to respond” chapter is clarification. “Any speaker wants to communicate and to be understood” (p. 55). Likewise, my mentor and I both want to communicate and understand each other. In this case, it turned out that I had not missed something my mentor said. However, if it did turn out that my mentor said something regarding rules with the long vowel sounds, I would have left the mentoring session with an incomplete understanding, something that could be detrimental to my learning.

Alas, reader, you have reached the end of this blog post. さよなら。


In Depth 2k19 Blog Post #2

A little more than two weeks have gone by and quite a bit has happened. I had my first mentoring session; I met my mentor, learned how to pronounce her name, and got a sense of her teaching style. Additionally, my mentor also got a chance to grasp how much I knew about Japanese. Having someone to critique my pronunciation in a one-on-one setting is quite effective for my grasp of the oral language. Not only that, my mentor is quite straightforward and tells me directly whether I’m pronouncing a word right or wrong. Anyway, here are some of the things we discussed and went over.

  • Hiragana and the pronunciation of the syllabaries. I already learned hiragana on the side before the meeting, however, so we were able to skim over that rather quickly.
  • Common phrases and pronunciation. We went over pronouncing common useful phrases, such as asking for what something was, greetings, parting phrases, and thanking someone.
  • Vocabulary. My mentor brought flashcards with pictures associated with basic vocabulary words. I knew a few vocabulary words right off the bat, but I learned a dozen or so new vocabulary words.

Progress Report:

On the side, I have finished learning the kana (hiragana and katakana). I can’t write them quickly, but like writing in general, constantly writing in the language is better than reviewing flashcards over and over again, so only consistent practice and time will tell. My understanding of the yōon, or kana diphthongs, has been improving, but is still a work in progress. Here’s what yōon basically is.

き is pronounced ki, while や is pronounced ya. Therefore, one might assume きゃ is pronounced kiya ( two sounds, ki and ya). However, the second syllabary is a small や so きゃ is actually pronounced kya (one sound, kya). This is what yōon is. It is a bit confusing at first, but through simply writing out kana consistently, my understanding of the yōon has gotten much better.

Due to an extended break on kanji for learning the kana, I have fallen a bit behind on my kanji studies. However, I plan to ramp up the intensity so that I can still finish memorizing the writing and most common English translations of the kanji before the date listed on my contract. For immersion, I’ve managed to fit in some active immersion, giving all my attention to a Japanese show for half of an hour everyday. Partial immersion or having the language play in the background while I work on other tasks is going as usual. While I understand very little of what I actually hear, I occasionally catch words and phrases, which allows me to get a basic understanding of the context of what I hear.

How to have a Beautiful Mind:

How to Agree:

According to Edward De Bono’s How To Have a Beautiful Mind, a person could act in a way that I could strongly disagree with. However, “that person may be acting ‘logically’ within his or her ‘logic bubble'” (p. 7). Similarly, my mentor’s ideas on learning Japanese were quite different from mine. I favored more of a high input, unorthodox method of learning the language that allowed me to start learning the language in the language as soon as possible, while my mentor favored using a workbook and different episodes to teach common phrases using roumaji, the roman alphabet. However, I realized that her experiences with teaching Japanese inevitably shaped the way she thought language should be taught, creating her own “logic bubble”. Her students were predominately adults who simply wanted to know a few phrases to say in Japanese and didn’t really care about fluency in the language. I considered this and tried to find similarities in our views, and I found out that both of us agreed on speaking the language as soon as possible. This allowed me to agree with my mentor.

How to Disagree:

Mentor: Let’s work through these worksheets.

Me: Are these for hiragana?

Mentor: Yes

Me: I’ve actually already learned hiragana on the side.

Mentor: Okay. Can you write these in hiragana?


Mentor: Do you want to take these worksheets?

Me: I think I’ll be okay. From my experience, I’m finding my method of reviewing hiragana to be quite effective.

Mentor: If that’s what works for you.

Since I had already learned hiragana, I found that going over these worksheets would not be a very effective usage of our mentoring session. De Bono states that “when [I] disagree”, I should “do so politely and gently rather than rudely and aggressively” (p. 26). By not aggressively stating my opinion and presenting a logical reasoning using my personal experiences, I disagreed with my mentor in a way that didn’t negatively impact our relationship while also positively impacting our session by not wasting time.

How to Differ:

Me: You stated earlier that konichiwa meant hello for first time greetings and good afternoon.

Mentor: Yes

Me: You also told me that konbanwa is the only phrase used in the evening when greeting someone.

Mentor: Yes

Me: So if it’s your first time meeting someone, but it’s the evening, Wouldn’t I still used konichiwa because it’s my first time meeting that person?


Mentor: Yes. You would use konichiwa, not konbanwa since it’s your first time meeting that person. This is the first time someone has asked me that.

I shouldn’t differ just because I think my opinion is superior to someone else’s. However, “there are times when only one of a different set of opinions can be right” (p. 39). Such was the case in my mentoring session. Whether I thought konichiwa or konbanwa was used for first time greetings in the evening was not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact, since only one option could be right. Therefore, in this case, I had a reason to differ to clarify what my mentor said and make sure I didn’t walk off with a misunderstanding.

Well, that’s it for this time. さよなら。