Fredonia Shakespeare Club
The Fredonia Shakespeare Club held its 14th meeting of the 2012 2013 year at the home of Mrs. Julian McQuiston. The topic for the year is “Authors as Social Commentators.” Ms. Covley Walker gave a paper on “Defining Moments” which she summarizes as follows:
A defining moment is a point at which the essential nature or character of a person is revealed. Everyone has defining moments, however it’s what one chooses to do with these moments that differentiates that person, and separates the mundane from the extraordinary.
Jean-Henri Dunant was a Swiss business man. In June 1859 he was traveling to Italy to meet French Emperor Napoleon III. When he arrived in the small town of Solferino on the evening of June 24, 1859, he witnessed the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino. In a single day, 40,000 soldiers on both sides died were left wounded on the battlefield. Dunant was shocked by the terrible aftermath of the battle and the suffering of the wounded soldiers, lack of medical attendance and basic care. He abandoned the original intent for his trip for several days and devoted himself to helping with treatment and care of the wounded. He succeeded in organizing an overwhelming level of relief assistance by motivating the local villagers to aid without discrimination.
Dunant’s defining moment. It lead to the establishing of the International Red Cross and the formation of the Geneva Convention. It has grown to more than 100 million volunteers worldwide.
William Shakespeare also had his defining moment. He was the father of three children: Susanna, Judith and Hamnet. In August 1596, while Shakespeare was traveling, he received news that his 11-year-old son Hamnet had died suddenly. Michael Wood wrote that a defining moment in the life of Shakespeare as an artist and as a man was the death of his son, Hamnet. Wood said that the tragic event left Shakespeare vulnerable. The following year he began to write the first of his 154 sonnets. Also, all of his 10 tragedies were written after his son’s death.
McQuiston was assisted at the tea table by Mrs. John VanScoter. The next meeting of the Fredonia Shakespeare Club will be held on Thursday at the home of Mrs. Martin Sanden when she will also present a paper on Tom Standage, “The World in Eight Glasses.”