Dr. Thomas Foster
a. A quester b. A place to go c. A stated reason to go there d. Challenges and trials e. The real reason to go is never for the stated reason; the quester usually fails at the stated task; The real reason is educational— always self-knowledge
a. Whenever people eat or drink together, it’s communion b. Not usually religious c. An act of sharing and peace d. A failed meal carries negative connotations (a bad sign!)
“Intertexuality”: the connections between one story and another deepen our appreciation and experience, brings multiple layers of meaning to the text. The more consciously aware we are, the more alive the text becomes to us.
a. There is no such thing as a wholly original work of literature —stories grow out of other stories, poems out of other poems. b. There is only one story—of humanity and human nature, endlessly repeated
a. Writers use what is common in a culture as a kind of shorthand. Shakespeare is pervasive, so he is frequently echoed.
a. Before the mid 20th century, writers could count on people being very familiar with Biblical stories b. Biblical names often draw a connection between literary character and Biblical character.
Garden of Eden: women tempting men and causing their fall, the apple as symbolic of an object of temptation, a serpent who tempts men to do evil, and a fall from innocence The Flood: rain as a form of destruction; rainbow as a promise of restoration Jonah and the Whale: refusing to face a task and being “eaten” or overwhelmed by it anyway.
Job: facing disasters not of the character’s making and not the character’s fault, suffers as a result, but remains steadfast. Christ figures: in 20th century, often used ironically The Apocalypse: Four Horseman of the Apocalypse usher in the end of the world.
a. Hansel and Gretel: lost children trying to find their way home b. Peter Pan: refusing to grow up, lost boys, a girl-nurturer c. Little Red Riding Hood: See Vampires d. Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz: entering a world that doesn’t work rationally or operates under different rules
e . Cinderella: orphaned girl abused by adopted family saved through supernatural intervention and by marrying a prince f. Snow White: Evil woman who brings death to an innocent— again, saved by heroic/princely character
g. Sleeping Beauty: a girl becoming a woman, symbolically, the needle, blood=womanhood, the long sleep an avoidance of growing up and becoming a married woman, saved by, guess who, a prince who fights evil on her behalf.
h. Evil Stepmothers: Queens, Rumpelstilskin i. Prince Charming: heroes who rescue women. (20th century frequently switched—the women save the men—or used highly ironically)
a. Myth is a body of story that matters—the patterns present in mythology run deeply in the human psyche b. Why writers echo myth— because there’s only one story
c. Odyssey and Iliad i. Men in an epic struggle over a woman ii. Achilles:
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