I have never read Twelfth Night in its entirety before, but it holds some special meaning to me.
If you have had the patience to read through my academic history, you will realise that I was, when I was 14, rejected from reading Full Literature at my GCE ‘O’ Levels because my Literature grades were just too plain sucky. I contented myself with studying Half Literature instead, doing only one text: I’m The King of the Castle by Susan Hill, while my friends revelled in studying Twelfth Night, swapping inside jokes that I didn’t understand, and all together enjoying it a whole lot more than the only other Shakespeare text we had all done earlier in secondary school, The Merchant of Venice.
Though that is long behind me now, but Twelfth Night has therefore always represented to me that bittersweet memory of coming up short, and missing out on so much fun, friendship and bonding because I did not make the grade. I hope I do not overstep the boundaries of modesty by saying that I think I have long made good. I have taken H2 Literature in junior college, and went on to score well in it at GCE ‘A’ Levels. I have taken Literature electives in university while I was pursuing my Pharmacy degree, which contributed more than significantly to the pulling up of my grade point average and enabling me to graduate with Honours. After working for a few years, I have decided to revert back to this calling and go back to studying Literature.
And so, what a curious way life works, that the very first module that I’m about to undertake in my Master’s of Arts in Literary Studies should be “Shakespeare and Literary Theories”, and the very first text of the module – Twelfth Night.