How to Read Literature Like a Professor

How’d He Do That
Literary work have a particular grammer which is a “set of conventions and patterns, codes and rules” found in literature
It determends the set up and meaning of a literary work.

Three items are particualry evident to professors..
Memory-they can easily recall a similar event/idea/topic brought up in a different literary work
Pattern- they are able to step back from the plot and characters to notice common patterns found in the writing
Symbol-everything is a symbol unless proven otherwise

Every Trip is a Quest (Except When it’s Not)
No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, every trip becomes an important quest for the protagonist.
A quest consists of
1) A Quester
2) A place to go
3) A stated reason to go there
4) Challeneges and trials en route
5) A real reason to go there

Ususally the “quester” fails at the stated task but they always gain one thing, self-knowledge.

Nice to Eat with You: Act of Communion
Though communion usually has a religious connotation to it, in literaturer whenever people eat or drink together it is considered communion.
People need food to survive and sharing a meal is a way of bringing people together, but when a meal ends badly it shows tentions and negativity.
Nice to Eat You: Act of Vampires
Vampirism can be about selfishness, exploitation, or even a refusal to respect the autonomy of other people.
Ghosts and vampires never represent ghosts and vampires, instead scary things symboliz various aspects of our more common reality.
Novels depict people’s willingness to fight for their desires at any cost no matter how selfish it may actually be.
Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
Though some people have a natural ability to pin point hidden secrets in literature, most people just need a little practice.
Stories do not just come out of nowhere and though it may be done unintentionally, writers use prior literary workes to create their own.
Foster believes that there is only on story in the world, one that all works are apart.
When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s writing has greatly influenced the writing of millions of writers of the world. If one reads anything it probably can be traced back to something written by Shakespeare. Even many of the common phares that one may come across can be traced back to him such as, “Double, double, toil and trouble…”
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…Or the Bible
Similar to Shakespeare, writers commonly refrence the bible. The bible, like Shakespeare, is easily identifiable even by people who have not read ether.
Hanseldee and Greteldum
Metonymy is using something to name another thing thats closely related.
Often times writers subtly refrence ideas protrayed in fairy tales and folklores, giving readers some familirity.
It’s Greek to Me
Myth provides a work of literature a structure of sorts, but the range of different myths known by different people can give individuals different perspectivies. Since Greek mythology is most commonly known, many times writers refrence the old myths.
It More Than Just Rain or Snow
Rain NEVER means rain
Rain can be used as a plot device, add dramatic affect to a scene, or even “clense” a character.
Fog decribes uncertainty and hazy thinking.
The weather can represent many things and have ranging symbols.
Never Stand Next to the Hero
LIterature is always based on people; it represents some qualitiy found in people. The protagonist canis needed in the story to continue, but when the author needs someone to cross some lines, they are forced to send the middle man, usually the best friend. Additionally, characters are created on a need to know basis, meaning we only learn details about nonessential characters when and where they are necessary.
Does He Mean That
Everything that the author adds into the story is done intentionally and for a specific reason. Authors get inspred by many things and they take ideas, patterns and symbols from other places and usually when they add something it ususally done on purpose.
…More Than It’s Gonna Hurt You: Concering Violence
In literature, violence is usually a metaphor for something deeper. Violence can be caused by other charaacters like a shooting or poisioning, or it can be completely out of the character’s hands like an illness, but the writer always writes something intentionally.
Is That a Symbol
Things can symbolize multiple things. Though most people want symbols to mean one specific thing, but it can actually have numerous meanings based on the opinions of the reader.
It’s All Political
Many people use current issues occuring in society as a basis for their writings. Some write about the fight against stability and conformity.
Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too
Christ like figures can represent sacrifie, redemtion, and hope. Though a character may not have the physical characteristics of Jesus, but they may possess many or some qualities of him.
Flights of Fancy
Humans have always searched for a way to fly because flight represent freedom.
It’s All about Sex
Sex is a very imporant aspect of the human life but in literature sex doesn’t always look like sex. Some times different things are depicted to represent the act, sexuality, fertility, or other things that add richness and depth to the work.
…Except Sex
Ironically writers describe other things to describe sex, but when they bring up the actual acts it very rarely means actual sex.
If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism
Both drowinging and baptism can be a representation of rebirth in which the character wants to do.
“The characters’ death are a form of choosing, of exerting control in a society that has taken control from them”.
Geography Matters…
Places can represent safety, like the suburbs, or they can represent craziness and wilderness like a jungle. The setting of the story can affect the actions of the character.
Highs and lows (hills an vallys for example) are commonly used by writers to represent different thing ranging fomr purity and clear views to death and unpleasantness
…So Does Season
Spring: childhood, youth
Summer: adulthood, romance, fullfillment, passion
Fall: decline, middleage,tiredness, harvest
Winter: old age, resnetment, death
One Story
Foster believes that there is only one story which is about everything and encompasses all aspects.
Marked For Greatness
Markings and signs can seperate a character from all the others, a clear marking showing that they are different and, in the eyes some, destined to do something important. Physical markings are usually for some psychological or thematic reason.
He’s Blind for a Reason, You Know
Blindness is never soley physical in literature. When a writers incorrporates a blind person into the writing it is usually done for a metaphorical purpose. Usually the blind are the ones that are able to see beyond while the others are blinded by the world and unable to see beyond the present situation.
It’s Never Just Heart Disease…And Rarely Just Illness
Heart diease in literature is almost lyrical and metaphorical because the heart is the symbolic repository of emotion. When a character dies of heart disease in literature its rarely about the physical illness, its about things like selfishness, cruelty, and faithlessness.Illnesses can be somewhat picturesque, possessig a sort of bizarre beauty.
Don’t Read with Your Eyes
As a reader, one has to put aside their differences and attempt to find a perspective inwhich they can attempt to understand the meaning behind actions and take into account the time period and curcumstances in which it was written in.
It’s My Symbol and I’ll Cry if I Want To
The tiniest things could symbolize something imporant; it can have a completely different meaning and once we understand that meaning we ca uncover and geapple with individual instances.
Is He Serious? And Other Ironies
Irony always trumps everything and it when irony comes into play all common themes are thrown out of the window.