Last week, I told you about four references to the original Romeo and Juliet in my modern version, Defy the Stars. As promised, today I’m letting you know how such random things as sycamore trees and a serpent’s heart relate to Shakespeare’s play!
1. The stoners’ tree where Reed and his buddies hang out is a SYCAMORE…
…and in the original play, Romeo mopes under a sycamore tree while pining over his pre-Juliet love, Rosaline. This is from the first scene in the play:
Lady Montague.O, where is Romeo?--saw you him to-day?-- Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east,
A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad;
Where,--underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the city's side,--
So early walking did I see your son…
2. The club where Julia and Reed hang out is called SERPENT’S HEART…
…and in Romeo and Juliet, when Juliet finds out Romeo killed Tybalt, she says,
“O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!”
When I read that line, it struck me as the perfect name for a goth-ish, somewhat pretentious club, so I decided to use it!
3. Reed’s brother is named CARY…
One reviewer saw Cary as a combination of Tybalt and Mercutio, which is super cool, but I actually based him off a different character who plays a small but essential role in Romeo and Juliet: the apothecary. When I read Shakespeare’s incredibly creepy descriptions of the apothecary, I realized this character—who sells illegal poison in addition to medicine—has a lot in common with a modern drug dealer:
I do remember an apothecary…
…Meager were his looks;
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones…
…and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,
Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter’d to make up a show.
Noting this penury, to myself I said—
An if a man did need a poison now,
Whose sale is present death in Mantua,
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.
4. At the beginning of the book, Julia has her name yelled at her several times…and she even wonders why people keep “calling her.”
…when I think of Juliet in the play, one of the first things that comes to my mind is her nurse calling her over and over at the top of her lungs! In fact, Juliet’s first line in the play is,
“How now, who calls?” in response to her nurse.
So as my little nod to the play, Julia in Defy the Stars gets repeatedly “called” by her teacher, friend, and mother at the beginning of my book!
Hope you found these tidbits interesting, and yes, there are others to find in my book…thanks for reading!