How To Read Literature Like A Professor by Thomas Foster

This book was an easy read. In fact, this is the easiest book on—and containing—literary analysis I’ve ever read. It was really rather refreshing. Foster makes cracking the code look easy and provides lot of tips to that end, including his most important word of advice—patterns. Pay attention, and look for patterns.

Here’s a taste of what he covers:
“What this book represents is not a database of all the cultural codes which writers create and readers understand the products of that creation, but a template, a pattern, a grammar of sorts from which you can learn to look for those codes on your own. No one could include them all, and no reader would want to plow through the resulting encyclopedia. I’m pretty sure I could have made this book, with not to much effort, twice as long. I’m also pretty sure neither of us wants that.” (281)

Some tips from Foster:
–The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge.
–Whenever people eat or drink together, it’s communion.
–Ghost and vampires are never only about ghosts and vampires.
–There’s no such thing as wholly original work of literature [and I love that he sees that as a wonderful thing! ]
–There’s only one story.
–Myth is a body of story that matters.
–It’s never just rain.
–Flight is freedom.
–Irony trumps everything.
–When writers send characters south, it’s so they can run amok.
–Don’t read with your eyes.


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