The family gathers at Waikanae
Sue, Francie, Me, Dad, Mum, Leo, Tony, Rick

48 Aurora Tce,
28 Oct. ‘73

Dear Mum & Dad,

I’m sorry I haven’t written for some time, but I have been flat out studying most of the time.

The second English exam, Prose, is over. What a rush I had to get prepared for it! I think I did OK. We had to do four questions. I knew three very well, but the fourth I had to make quite a bit of it up! The paper dealt with the early English novels (18th century), such as ‘Tom Jones’, ‘Clarissa’ & ‘Tristram Shandy’. They are terrific books but you’d hardly use them for light reading today!

For the Shakespeare exam this Thursday afternoon we have five plays. Four of them are Shakespeare & one is a play written in 1971, on the same character (King Lear) as one of the Shakespearean plays. I’m finding the Shakespeare plays very exciting. The modern play is a bit more modern than Shakespeare, with rapes, shootings, knifing, slaughtering of pigs, etc!! At one stage, when King Lear’s daughter Fontanelle has just been shot, the doctor decides to conduct an autopsy. King Lear always fought with Fontanelle. But during the autopsy he plunges his hands into her innards, dragging them over the stage saying, “Is this my daughter. Isn’t it beautiful”! King Lear then has his eyes plucked out. Another daughter, Bodice, decides she wants to torture a prisoner, so she gets her knitting needles and wiggles them round in the prisoner’s ears. Eventually, King Lear is shot. All of this is on stage (except for the rape of course) so it is very hard to put on realistically. But in spite of all the violence, it does have a purpose. At least, I’ll have to find one before the exam on Thursday!

The Shakespearean plays are ‘Hamlet’, ‘King Lear’, ‘Winter’s Tale’ & ‘The Tempest’. Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ is about an old king whose daughters reject him and he gradually goes mad. Eventually he is reconciled with one daughter, but she is immediately killed by a solder, and King Lear dies.

Last night I went to a party at Jack Body’s place. I thought it would be very ‘la-de-da’, with artists & musicians and the like. But it turned out to be normal. It was very enjoyable.

We have a retreat here from the 8th to the 14th of November. From November 8th to Dec. 8th I am at St Pats (Wlgtn). I will probably be doing things like putting books away, filing away papers, etc; although I might be teaching some classes. Most of the school will be sitting exams at that time.

On December the 8th I go to Greenmeadows to help the brothers cook, etc. during the Priests’ Retreats. I was wondering what holiday dates you had booked for our holiday so that I can arrange my travelling home. Would the 23rd December be too late?

We have all been given jobs to do during out holidays. I will be going to Greenmeadows with Tim McCann. Tony O’Connor will be going to Normanby to help with the Maori Missions.

I hope to come home for a day after the exams. Perhaps on your birthday Mum!

Well I’d better sign off now.

Love from

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