Notes on Read LIke Prof - How to Read Literature Like a Professor(Thomas C Foster Notes Introduction Archetypes Faustian deal with the devil(i.e trade

Notes on Read LIke Prof - How to Read Literature Like a...

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How to Read Literature Like a Professor (Thomas C. Foster) Notes Introduction Archetypes: Faustian deal with the devil (i.e. trade soul for something he/she wants) Spring (i.e. youth, promise, rebirth, renewal, fertility) Comedic traits: tragic downfall is threatened but avoided hero wrestles with his/her own demons and comes out victorious What do I look for in literature? - A set of patterns - Interpretive options (readers draw their own conclusions but must be able to support it) - Details ALL feed the major theme - What causes specific events in the story? - Resemblance to earlier works - Characters’ resemblance to other works - Symbol - Pattern(s) Works: A Raisin in the Sun, Dr. Faustus , “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, Damn Yankees, Beowulf Chapter 1: The Quest The Quest: key details 1. a quester (i.e. the person on the quest) 2. a destination 3. a stated purpose 4. challenges that must be faced during on the path to the destination 5. a reason for the quester to go to the destination (cannot be wholly metaphorical) The motivation for the quest is implicit- the stated reason for going on the journey is never the real reason for going The real reason for ANY quest: self-knowledge Works: The Crying of Lot 49 Chapter 2: Acts of Communion Major rule : whenever characters eat or drink together, it’s communion! Pomerantz 1
Communion: key details 1. sharing and peace 2. not always holy 3. personal activity/shared experience 4. indicates how characters are getting along 5. communion enables characters to overcome some kind of internal obstacle Communion scenes often force/enable reader to empathize with character(s) Meal/communion= life, mortality Universal truth: We all eat to live , we all die . We all live, we all die. Works: Tom Jones , “Cathedral,” Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant , “The Dead,” Chapter 3: Vampirism We are attracted to danger Vampirism: key details 1. older figure violates younger woman 2. “vampire” leaves his mark on the victim 3. vampire steals innocence 4. sexual allure 5. older figure= corrupt, outdated values 6. victim= stripping away of youth, stripping away of energy, stripping away of virtue 7. a continuance of the old “vampire’s” life-force 8. the death/destruction of the young victim Symbolism involved in vampirism 1. selfishness 2. exploitation 3. a refusal to respect other people’s independence Ghosts and vampires are ALWAYS about something other than themselves Ghosts: key details 1. ghost grows in strength by weakening someone else (holds true of vampires, as well) Types of exploitation: denial of someone else’s right to live in order to satisfy our own needs/desires placing one’s own desires above someone else’s needs We are ALL vampires, sucking away at other people’s force in one way or another. Pomerantz 2
Works: Dracula, A Christmas Carol, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Master of Ballantrae, The Turn of the Screw , “Daisy Miller”, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Women in Love Chapter 4: Sonnets Key details: 1. 14 lines 2. iambic pentameter 3. lines have 10 syllables 4. ten syllables long is about as high as fourteen lines in length; square!

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