Books

A Fool's Paradise by Kaylee Tu

Kaylee Tu is a 2019 finalist for the Shakespeare Selfie student writing challenge in the Grade 7 to 9 category.

2019 finalist: Grade 7 to 9 category

Kaylee Tu is a 14-year-old student from Toronto. (Submitted by Kaylee Tu)

Kaylee Tu is a finalist of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2018 to April 2019).

Read the work of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie finalists.

Tu, who attends St. Basil-the-Great College School in Toronto, wrote about Saudi teenager Rahalf al-Qunun seeking asylum in Canada from the perspective of Romeo & Juliet's Juliet.


Farewell — Who knows when we shall meet again.
A faint cold fear thrills through my veins
That almost freezes up the heat of life.
My dismal scene I need must act alone.
Come, Asylum.

What if this plan does not work at all?
Shall I be killed then tomorrow morning?
No, no — Asylum shall forbid it.
I hath planned to slip a note to airport staff.
Barricade thyself in the airport hotel if all else fails;
Better to be isolated from the mere thought of returning home
If it can be considered anything but a prison.

What if it be a ruse, which the country
Subtly hath planned to have me denied,
Lest in this offer of safety,
Canada should be threatened because, flee
Did many others before me, that have been unfettered?
I fear it is. And yet, methinks, it should not,
For I hath brought light to my cause.
Amidst a worldwide media site — tweet, tweet —
Bluebirds sing for me; to which I, a Saudi teen,
Will ascend from my demise, as I am not alone.

How if, when I submit myself to my plan,
I am subdued before the time that I flee?
There's a fearful point.
Shall I not, then, be stifled in my prison
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And condemned to death ere help come to me?

Or, if I live, is it not very like
The horrible promise of torture and suffering,
Together with the terror of the place —
As in a dungeon, an ancient receptacle,
Wherefor these many hundred years the bones
Of all my slaughtered ancestors are packed?
At some hours in the night, spirits reside —
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early confined in a cell, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks of others alike sentenced to mortality
That any person, hearing them, run mad —
Oh, if I were to return after denial of Asylum,
shall I not be distraught,
with all these hideous fears of death,
And at the hand of my family and relatives?

Either good or bad shall be of yet to come,
Howbeit, what I shall endure at home will be more to fear.
Though with sufficing support to convince those in governance,
O, Canada! Here's Asylum. I plead to thee;
To be or not to be granted security, —
in a fool's paradise.

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