How To Read Literature Like A Professor Study Guide Chapter 1: Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not) - A quest can be lies underneath the simplicity of certain actions - Five Key parts to constitute as a “Quest”: - 1. A quester - 2. A place to go - 3. A stated reason to go there - 4. Challenges and trials en route - 5. A real reason to go there/endure the quest - The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge - This is why questers are usually young, so they can discover aspects of their true self - Quester oftens fails - BOOK EXAMPLE: - Crying of Lot 9 by Thomas Pynchon’s - Quester: a young woman, not very happy in life, not assertive - A place to go: to carry out her duties, she must go Southern California from San Francisco; travels back and forth between the two (like traveling from her past and her future: her problematic husband and her unclear future) - A stated reason to go there: has been made executor of the will of her former lover - Challenges and trials: meets strange and dangerous people, talks therapists out of a psychotic shooting rampage, and involves herself in a possible centuries-old postal conspiracy - The real reason to go: Name= Oedipa Maas (after Oedipus)—> used men as her crutches but when that all turned bad, she has to rely on herself and find the self she can rely on--> SELF KNOWLEDGE Chapter 2: Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion - Whenever people eat or drink together, it’s communion - A way of saying that people are comfortable with one another/ community - Same thing with smoking together - Eating/ Dinners is/are so mundane, so when authors include it, there is always more to it - Dinner time/ meal time showcases interactions - Again, a different way to show communion - Eating= fundamental aspect of life→ showcases bonding - Eating/meal time social/emotional breakdown barriers - When eating turns ugly or doesn't happen at all:
- eating = comradery, so when it doesn’t happen, or gets interrupted, it resembles an issue within the dynamic - Meals are depicted to make the reader feel the setting, like they’re in it since it’s relatable - This will further express to the reader what the communion feels like/ is about - BOOK EXAMPLE: - “The Dead” by James Joyce, (1914): - The story is centered around a dinner party on the twelfth day of Christmas - Drives and desires, as well as hostilities and alliances - The main character, Gabriel Conroy, receives a series of small shots to his ego→ by the end, he faces the fact that he’s not superior to everyone else - The food and setting is explained in such elaborate detail→ author wants us to feel like we’re there to understand the elaborate aspects of the dinner party, but also feel the tension between the collective of people present - EXAMPLE NOT IN BOOK: - A Kitchen Allegory by MFK Fisher - a lavish and lovingly described meal of which not a single bite is eaten; tale of an ageing mother facing the fact that no one needs her any more Chapter 3: Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires - Vampirism = evil, which therefore equates to sex - How the serpent is evil and seduced Eve -
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