How to read literature like a professor: Prompts
Introduction: How’d He Do That?
How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature? Pg xxvii
The reading experience is different for every individual depending on how you interpret the reading material. Memory, symbol and pattern can alter the message that the story imparts on the individual reader.
Memory. It can link conscious or subconscious connections between what you are reading with stories you’ve read in the past, events that you’ve seen before and In the back of your mind know how the situation will end. Writers use memory to add more background and meaning to a character or event in the story by connecting their character or event to another story, or multiple other stories, without having to take up more space on the pages. Therefore gathering a different view on the character, or getting this fore sight, all because of this familiarity, which you can’t help but connect with what you’re reading.
Symbols. They don’t always have to have just one meaning. In fact, there’s usually multiple meaning that can be found in a symbol, and that meaning is different for every person. Whether or not you’re able to identify all the symbols hidden within the text doesn’t make you less able to understand or follow the story, just the understanding deepens the readers experience and what you take away from the book.
Pattern. This is why in horror films when the main character enters that dark room, from where the strange eerie sound is coming from, we the audience scream at the screen “Don’t go in there you’ll die!” but of course we know they always do. So with patterns you can sometimes predict what will happen. Also recognizing these patterns can deepen ones understanding of symbols and meaning behind what the author is trying to say with the given text.
How does the recognition of patterns make it easier to read complicated literature?
When you recognize the patterns, you are able to distance yourself from the story and see beyond the surface plot, characters, and events taking place. By recognizing these patterns, you can deepen your understanding of symbols and meaning behind the given text.
Discuss a time when your appreciation of a literary work was enhanced by understanding symbol or pattern. When I read Pride and Prejudice, I was able to recognize Mr. Darcy’s estate, Pemberley, as being a symbol of Mr. Darcy. Holding the same grandness and beauty that Elizabeth sees in Mr. Darcy, having great admiration for the estate, as of its owner.
Chapter 1 -- Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not)
Fly Away Home (1996)
1) Our quester: Amy Alden, a 13-year-old girl who, after the untimely death of her mother, is sent to live with her father Thomas an eccentric inventor, with whom she has no close relationship with. She’s having trouble coming to terms with her new life and the tragic death of her mother. However things start to change when she stumbles across a bunch of abandoned goose eggs.
2) A place to go: When the abandoned goose eggs began to hatch, a need arose to find a way to teach the motherless birds to fly south for the winter.
3) A stated reason to go there: When the time comes for the birds to migrate, they’ll feel a need to fly and sense they don’t have parents to guide the way, they will endanger themselves and people, unable to find their way home.
4) Challenges and trials: In order for the geese to know their way back, they must know the path that they traveled south for winter. However the mother goose is known to teaches their offspring the way, and sense the geese imprinted on Amy, she’s the only one they will follow. A local game warden poses a threat to confiscate the geese if they start to fly, warning all domestic geese must have their wings clipped in order to be rendered flightless. There’s also a race against time, for winter is coming and the bird sanctuary which they plan to land and house these birds will be torn down by developers if they don’t reach their destination by November 1st.
5) The real reason to go—always self-knowledge: This whole journey brought Amy and her father closer together. She had to constantly put her trust in people and while teaching the birds to be independent in flight, became independent herself.
Chapter 2 -- Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion
Choose a meal from a literary work and apply the ideas of Chapter 2 to this literary depiction.
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
In the movie “Flipped” Patty Loski invites the Bakers to a sit down dinner in the hopes of mending this bitter relationship between the two families. The night begins on a rough start with Juli privately confronting Bryce about how she over heard him laughing with his friend about her mentally challenged uncle and wishes to never speak to Bryce again.
Patty Loski makes a comment on “how wonderful it is to have you share a meal with us, may it be the first of many.” Where Mr. Loski then coughs, saying it went down the “wrong pipe.” This is only the beginning of conflicting comments, later on Mr. Loski comments on the new house that’s taking shape, “the one where they cut down that big ugly tree.” Not wanting to create further conflict, everyone puts the comment aside.
However when the topic of music comes up, and it’s revealed that Mr. Loski use to play the saxophone in his younger days, there’s a sense of connection between him and the two Baker sons love in music. After this the night goes off smooth. As people say there goodbyes, Juli says a quick apology to Bryce about her attitude before, acknowledging that everyone seemed to have a good time. In the end Juli left the dinner with a neutral feeling towards Bryce, appreciative of the family she has. Bryce however felt even more confused with Juli's lack of emotions towards him.
Chapter 3: --Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires Whiplash
What are the essentials of the Vampire story? Apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.
a. Literal Vampirism: Nasty old man, attractive but evil, violates a young woman, leaves his mark, takes her innocence
b. Sexual implications—a trait of 19th century literature to address sex indirectly
c. Symbolic Vampirism: selfishness, exploitation, refusal to respect the autonomy of other people, using people to get what we want, placing our desires, particularly ugly ones, above the needs of another.
The conductor Terence Fletcher in the movie ‘Whiplash’ is a perfect example for literary vampirism.
He possesses literal vampirism: Violent, seductive, charming.
Sexual vampirism: his use of entering a man’s personal space could be interpreted as Fletcher being gay, but he uses the invasion of personal space to cause the other man to feel subconscious discomfort. Same as his constant use of gay slurs, he understands how to manipulate his body and speech to invoke discomfort by challenging their masculinity.
Symbolic Vampirism: using and pushing artist past their limits in order to achieve an unobtainable level of perfection, eventually driving them to the point of suicide. Placing his needs of validation of his goals and methods over the health and wellbeing of his students. Attempting to sabotage Andrew at Lincoln Center during his solo.
Chapter 4 -- If It’s Square, It’s a Sonnet
Select three sonnets and show which form they are. Discuss how their content reflects the form. (Submit copies of the sonnets, marked to show your analysis).
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (Shakespearean sonnet):
Possesses 3 quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a couplet (two-line stanza). Shakespeare presents the main idea of the poem in the first two stanzas, how his friend compares to a summer’s day, and how summer’s beauty dies with time. The Volta takes place in the third stanza, changing perspective, how his friend differs from a summer’s day, his friends beauty will live on through the poem.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?(a)
Thou art more lovely and more temperate. (b)
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, (a)
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.(b)
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,(c)
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;(d)
And every fair from fair sometime declines,(c)
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;(d)
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,(e)
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,(f)
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,(e)
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.(f)
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,(g)
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.(g)
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 (Shakespearean sonnet):
Possesses 3 quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a couplet (two-line stanza). Shakespeare presents the main idea of the poem in the first two stanzas, he compares his mistresses appearance realistically, though in a harsh tone, with other things he finds beautiful. The tone starts to change in the third stanza and the Volta takes place in the final couplet, declaring that the speaker’s mistress is loved just as much and valued the same if not more than those held to ridiculous representations of beauty.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; (a)
Coral is far more red, than her lips red: (b)
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; (a)
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. (b)
I have seen roses damasked, red and white, (c)
But no such roses see I in her cheeks; (d)
And in some perfumes is there more delight (c)
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. (d)
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know (e)
That music hath a far more pleasing sound: (f)
I grant I never saw a goddess go, (e)
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: (f)
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare, (g)
As any she belied with false compare. (g)
Joshua Mehigan's 'The Professor' (Petrarchan sonnet):
Possesses 14 lines, The first eight lines (octave) follow an 'abbaabba' rhyme scheme, the rhyme scheme of last six lines (sestet) follow an ‘ccdeed’ rhyme scheme. The octave gives us an idea of how he interacts with his colleagues. Then the Volta takes place between the octave and sestet, where there’s a change and he shows us his relationship with his family and himself.
'I get there early and I find a chair. (a)
I squeeze my plastic cup of wine. I nod. (b)
I maladroitly eat a pretzel rod (b)
and second an opinion I don't share. (a)
I think: whatever else I am, I'm there. (a)
Afterwards, I escape across the quad (b)
into fresh air, alone again, thank god. (b)
Nobody cares. They're quite right not to care. (a)
I can't go home. Even my family (c)
is thoroughly contemptuous of me. (c)
I look bad. I'm exactly how I look. (d)
These days I never read, but no one does, (e)
and, anyhow, I proved how smart I was. (e)
Everything I know is from a book.' (d)
"It's My Symbol and I'll Cry If I Want To" -New Pangier Prompt-
"Foster uses John Donne’s flea symbol and Yeats’ fondness for gyres as examples of not-so-obvious symbolism. Find a poet or author who uses an odd word/phrase that might be overlooked for its symbolic meaning. Discuss your findings, including your interpretation with rationale of the symbol presented, and relevant author background that helped you deduce the symbol you found."
In the book/movie ‘White bird in a blizzard’ I think the title represents her mother, the bird, lost in a blizzard of snow, where because she is white it’s almost impossible to find her. She just disappears, like how she does one day in the story. There are refrences to her dream, like the painting of a blizzard landscape in her bedroom and the memory she has of them playing in the white bed sheets as a young child.
Chapter 5 --Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
Define intertextuality. Discuss three examples that have helped you in reading specific works.
Intertextuality is the dialogue between old works and new, poems and stories. It adds meaning to a work of literature and enriches the reading experience, which adds layers of deeper meaning to the text.
One specific work of intertextuality that I think of would be The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this book/movie, Aslan, the lion in the story, seems similar to the concept of Jesus Christ. He chooses to die for Narnia then rises again.
One of my favorite movies, West Side Story(1961), is an adaption of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Two rival gangs created by ethnic conflict dividing the star-crossed lovers.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Similar names like Kat for (Katherina), and her younger sister Bianca. Plot similar, bad boy paid to date Kat (shrew) in order for younger sister to date.
Chapter 6 -- When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare...
Discuss a work that you are familiar with that alludes to or reflects Shakespeare. Show how the author uses this connection thematically. Read pages 44-46 carefully. In these pages, Foster shows how Fugard reflects Shakespeare through both plot and theme. In your discussion, focus on theme.
a. Writers use what is common in a culture as a kind of shorthand. Shakespeare is pervasive, so he is frequently echoed.
- See plays as a pattern, either in plot or theme or both. Examples:
ii. Henry IV—a young man who must grow up to become king, take on his responsibilities
iv. Merchant of Venice—justice vs. mercy
v. King Lear—aging parent, greedy children, a wise fool
‘The Notebook’ is an obvious retelling of the famous ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Like Romeo and Juliet, Noah and Allie are separated by social class. Allie’s parents won’t let her see Noah, believing he is below her and their whole families status. In both ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the characters are forbidden to see each other so the similar theme is forbidden love. In both stories they die together, however the death of Romeo and Juliet being more tragic.
Chapter 7 -- ...Or the Bible
Read “Araby” (available here). Discuss Biblical allusions that Foster does not mention. Look at the example of the “two great jars.” Be creative and imaginative in these connections.
- Before the mid 20th century, writers could count on people being very familiar with Biblical stories, a common touchstone a writer can tap
- Common Biblical stories with symbolic implications
ii. David and Goliath—overcoming overwhelming odds
iii. Jonah and the Whale—refusing to face a task and being “eaten” or overwhelmed by it anyway.
iv. Job: facing disasters not of the character’s making and not the character’s fault, suffers as a result, but remains steadfast
v. The Flood: rain as a form of destruction; rainbow as a promise of restoration
vi. Christ figures (a later chapter): in 20th century, often used ironically
vii. The Apocalypse—Four Horseman of the Apocalypse usher in the end of the world.
viii. Biblical names often draw a connection between literary character and Biblical character.
Well there were some obvious connections, like the books in the house and in the wild garden there being a central apple-tree, alluding to the tree in the garden of Eden. How about the way he raises his hands together, like in the way of prayer, when he murmurs 'O love! O love!' At the time the room being dark, ‘I was thankful that I could see so little.’ Maybe his literal sight is symbolic for his inability to see clearly though his lust, but not wanting to see clearly because then she may be taken down from her goddess-like-pedestal. Lastly about the opening sentence ‘North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free.’ The blind quite street being the boy’s quite simple life of school and playing with childish thing, the Christian Brothers’ School being the boy’s innocent Christian mind, then school let’s out along with innocence and in floods a new sensation brought by thoughts of girls.
Chapter 8 -- Hanseldee and Greteldum
Think of a work of literature that reflects a fairy tale. Discuss the parallels. Does it create irony or deepen appreciation?
- Hansel and Gretel: lost children trying to find their way home
- Peter Pan: refusing to grow up, lost boys, a girl-nurturer/
- Little Red Riding Hood: See Vampires
- Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz: entering a world that doesn’t work rationally or operates under different rules, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Wizard, who is a fraud
- Cinderella: orphaned girl abused by adopted family saved through supernatural intervention and by marrying a prince
- Snow White: Evil woman who brings death to an innocent—again, saved by heroic/princely character
- 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.
- Evil Stepmothers, Queens, Rumpelstilskin
- Prince Charming heroes who rescue women. (20th c. frequently switched—the women save the men—or used highly ironically)
Chapter 9 -- It’s Greek to Me
Write a free verse poem derived or inspired by characters or situations from Greek mythology. Be prepared to share your poem with the class. Note that there are extensive links to classical mythology on my Classicspage.
- Myth is a body of story that matters—the patterns present in mythology run deeply in the human psyche
- Why writers echo myth—because there’s only one story (see #4)
- Odyssey and Iliad
x. Achilles—a small weakness in a strong man; the need to maintain one’s dignity
xi. Penelope (Odysseus’s wife)—the determination to remain faithful and to have faith
xii. Hector: The need to protect one’s family
- The Underworld—an ultimate challenge, facing the darkest parts of human nature or dealing with death
- Metamorphoses by Ovid—transformation (Kafka)
- Oedipus: family triangles, being blinded, dysfunctional family
- Cassandra: refusing to hear the truth
- A wronged woman gone violent in her grief and madness—Aeneas and Dido or Jason and Medea
- Mother love—Demeter and Persephone
Why are you so blinded? Refusing to hear the truth.
For such a big man, you have a bigger weakness that is your pride.
You say you have changed, but never show no proof.
And this cage you live in, we use to live with you.
But now that we are free, you wish too be freed too,
However you are too blinded, to receive the light we wish to give to you.
Your inability to accept the truth, is what has pushed me away,
And my undying love for you, is the cause of my pain.
For such a big man, you have a bigger weakness that is your pride.
Through your eyes you say you have changed,
Though it hurts me to say, never in my mine.
Chapter 10 -- It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow
Discuss the importance of weather in a specific literary work, not in terms of plot.
xiv. Noah and the flood
xv. Drowning—one of our deepest fears
xviii. misery factor—challenge characters
xix. democratic element—the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike
xxi. rain is restorative—can bring a dying earth back to life
xxii. destructive as well—causes pneumonia, colds, etc.; hurricanes, etc.
xxiii. Ironic use—April is the cruelest month (T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland)
xxiv. Rainbow—God’s promise never to destroy the world again; hope; a promise of peace between heaven and earth
xxv. fog—almost always signals some sort of confusion; mental, ethical, physical “fog”; people can’t see clearly
xxvii. positively—clean, pure, playful
In the Great Gatsby the weather greatly reflected the emotional and nararative tone of the story. When Gatsby and Daisy are reunited it’s poring, symbolizing a somewhat awkward uncomfortable reunion, but also an awakened love, helps that the room is filled with spring flowers too. Near the end of their reunion when things are going off better the sky clears up and the sun comes out, removing the restless feeling we had with the rain. The rain comes again at Gatsby’s death. At the end It’s a stormy scene, with cold winds and a fog on the dock clouding the view of the famous green light. Maybe the fog symbolizes a fading light, being Gatsby’s dream.
Chapter 11 --...More Than It’s Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence
Present examples of the two kinds of violence found in literature. Show how the effects are different.
- Violence can be symbolic, thematic, biblical, Shakespearean, Romantic, allegorical, transcendent.
- Two categories of violence in literature
xxix. Death and suffering for which the characters are not responsible. Accidents are not really accidents.
- Violence is symbolic action, but hard to generalize meaning
- Questions to ask:
xxxi. What famous or mythic death does this one resemble?
xxxii. Why this sort of violence and not some other?
In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby’s death is the result of violence caused by an individual character. That specific character being Wilson, Myrtles husband, who goes over to Gatsby’s house and shoots him after hearing that he was the one who killed his wife. However Myrtles death wasn’t the result of character-inflicted violence, but was rather out of the hands of the characters. It may seem like an accident, but according to Thomas C. Foster, accidents are not really accidents. The author intended for Myrtle to die and so it’s out of the characters hands wither she does or not. But Gatsby has to pay the price.
Chapter 12 -- Is That a Symbol?
Use the process described on page 106 and investigate the symbolism of the fence in “Araby.” (Mangan’s sister stands behind it.)
- Yes. But figuring out what is tricky. Can only discuss possible meanings and interpretations
- There is no one definite meaning unless it’s an allegory, where characters, events, places have a one-on-one correspondence symbolically to other things. (Animal Farm)
- Actions, as well as objects and images, can be symbolic. i.e. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
- How to figure it out? Symbols are built on associations readers have, but also on emotional reactions. Pay attention to how you feel about a text.
Chapter 13 -- It’s All Political
Assume that Foster is right and “it is all political.” Use his criteria to show that one of the major works assigned to you as a freshman is political.
The book ‘The Color Purple’ is filled with political elements. Race, social class, justice and and freedom of expression. One major theme is womens oppression by man and society. The women in this book are often seen being beaten, abused and treated as lower than men. Celie, the main character, finds streangth and comfort in other women, and her role model is Shug. Shug is held to a high standard by Celie because of her ability to be independent and free with her sexuality.
Chapter 14 -- Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too
Apply the criteria on page 119 to a major character in a significant literary work. Try to choose a character that will have many matches. This is a particularly apt tool for analyzing film -- for example, Star Wars, Cool Hand Luke, Excalibur, Malcolm X, Braveheart, Spartacus, Gladiator and Ben-Hur. In the book “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” Aslan acts as a Christ figure. He possesses many qualities that a Christ figure would, like he is great with children and is very forgiving, even when Edmund betrays him and goes with the White Witch (devil figure). When the witch is going to kill Edmund, Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmund even though he did betray him. Very much like a Christ figure. Also is tourtured on a stone (symbolic of a cross perhaps?). He’s also known for walking around the forest, appearing when someone’s in need. In the end he is resurrected just like Jesus.
Chapter 15 -- Flights of Fancy Polly
Select a literary work in which flight signifies escape or freedom. Explain in detail.
In one of my favorite childhood movies ‘Polly’ the main character who’s a bird, is separated from his owner, a little girl, when he’s sent away to a pet shop by her parents. This bird has the special ability to speak but is scared to do the most important thing a bird can do. Fly. Throughout his journey in finding the way back to his owner, he refuses to fly, instead getting people to assist him. But when the time comes for him to ether give up on getting to her or face his fear of flight, he decides he must fly.
So for Polly, flight represents change, and accepting the bird inside along with his human qualities. He has to become more independent flying on his own, and with independence comes freedom. When he reunites with the girl she’s all grown up, not the child he remembers. So is Polly, starting from the moment he decided to fly.
Chapter 17 -- ...Except the Sex
OK ..the sex chapters. The key idea from this chapter is that “scenes in which sex is coded rather than explicit can work at multiple levels and sometimes be more intense that literal depictions” (141). In other words, sex is often suggested with much more art and effort than it is described, and, if the author is doing his job, it reflects and creates theme or character. Choose a novel or movie in which sex is suggested, but not described, and discuss how the relationship is suggested and how this implication affects the theme or develops characterization.
There’s this one scene in ‘Gone With The Wind’ where Rhett Butler is drunk and he say to Scarlett O’Hare that he loves her, Scarlett walks away from Rhett and he follows he then takes her in his arms and kisses her, but in a slightly violent manner. He carries her up the staircase. It’s pretty obvious what happens after. Before this Scarlett was fancying another man and Rhett seemed unconcerned about the affair, then this scene changes all that. It’s a huge change in plot.
Chapter 18 -- If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism
Think of a “baptism scene” from a significant literary work. How was the character different after the experience? Discuss.
In ‘Inception’ water is used to represent the transition between different worlds or dimensions. The ‘kick’ happens when they want to leave a dream world and come back to reality, or when coming back through multiple dream worlds. During the ‘kick’ the person in the dream world is sat on a chair and dropped backwards into water. Or the ‘kick’ can be other forms of water, like a storm representing it’s time to go. In the beginning of the movie the main character washes up on the shore. The water is a subliminal sign that the character is in fact in a dream. A bus being driven off a bridge into a river was also another version of a ‘kick’ in the movie. Transition into a new world is like a rebirth, and in every scene of rebirth there’s water involved.
Chapter 19 -- Geography Matters...
Discuss at least four different aspects of a specific literary work that Foster would classify under “geography.”
Without the wasteland environment in ‘Mad Max: Furry Road’ there would be no story. Geography is used in literature as an important role in plot. Imperator Furiosa is driven out of her current home not only because of the way women are treated there but also for the lack of water and fertile land. She rebels against tyrannical Immortan Joe, leader of the desert fortress Citadel, in order to reach a land of green and freedom.
A second role for geography is it represents symbolism. The wasted dessert and crowded environment of Citadel represents the state of mind of the people, their minds small and knowledge limited of the outside world, only believing what they have been programmed to believe by Immortan Joe. The new land is an escape, freedom from the enslaving mindset of Citadel. The abundance of water represents the chance of rebirth for the people.
A third aspect is development of character. Her knowledge of a better place helps develop Furiosa’s mind and she can put everything into perspective, she’s aware of what’s going on at Citadel and how Immortan Joe is manipulating all his people.
The fourth role is defining character. When you live in that world where the needs for life like water and food are not met, you become tough and it’s a kill or be killed mindset. Furiosa is adapt to the environment and what is expected of her, but her knowledge of a better place gives her hope, unlike the other enslaved minds, and with the strong persistence she’s developed from living in a collapsed civilization, she’s more determined to reach this place of life than she would have been if she grew up on a land more privileged than her reality.
Chapter 20 -- ...So Does Season
Find a poem that mentions a specific season. Then discuss how the poet uses the season in a meaningful, traditional, or unusual way. (Submit a copy of the poem with your analysis.)
I choose the poem ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ by William Shakespeare. In the poem he uses the beauty which summer brings to compare with his love. Summer in this case representing joy, love, renual and happiness. Using seasons for compasison, especially in poetry of love, I think to be a traditional use of seasons. He beautifully points out how unlike summer’s beauty that withers away over time and change in season, the power of love will never fade or die.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a dae.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Interlude -- One Story
Write your own definition for archetype. Then identify an archetypal story and apply it to a literary work with which you are familiar.
An archetype is a reoccurring idea, theme, situation, or character in literature that many are familiar with. One that comes to mind would be the forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet, archetype. The one where two people fall madly in love but because of family issues of other they can’t be together. An example of this would be Beauty and the Beast. They can’t be together because Bell is a human and the Beast is not. Well until he turns back into a human magically, then all is well.
Chapter 21 -- Marked for Greatness
Figure out Harry Potter’s scar. If you aren’t familiar with Harry Potter, select another character with a physical imperfection and analyze its implications for characterization.
An example I thought of would be the hunchback Quasimodo from ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’. In my opinion it seems his deformity of having a crooked figure is an opposite reflection of his inside. Unlike his exterior, he is straight minded and purest of hearts. Or perhaps it’s a reflection of the Notre Dame itself, how it was also left abandoned and disfigured after the French Revolution.
Chapter 24 -- ...And Rarely Just Illness
Recall two characters who died of a disease in a literary work. Consider how these deaths reflect the “principles governing the use of disease in literature” (215-217). Discuss the effectiveness of the death as related to plot, theme, or symbolism.
My first example is Tiny Tim from ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charels Dickens. In Scrooges version of the story, Tim dies. I wasn’t quite sure what diesees caused his death so I decided to look it up. There was no clear answer but was maybe believed to be Rickets, RTA or a few other diseases. So can’t be sure if the disease which cause Tim’s death has a mysterious origin, but most probably were back when the story takes place. As for the symbolic meaning for his death by disease, it was a lesson to be more giving and charitable. Especially for Scrooge, who in the end gave Tiny Tim’s father a raise, helped provide a better diet for the boy and his family.
My second example is ‘A Walk to Remember’. This movie made me cry, and I think the reason why it’s a tear jerker is because of the main character Jamie Sullivan having cancer. The cancer means her days are limited, and without the cancer the plot just wouldn’t work. It becomes clear after the cancer part is revealed why she dresses simply and doesn’t care for material things. As well as in the beginning of the story when she tells Landon not to fall in love with her, it’s because she knows she’s going to die soon. After Landon finds out that she has cancer, he does everything in his power to help her complete everything she wishes to do before she dies, and through this journey he becomes a better person. The disease needed to be cancer so Jamie had enough time to change Landon through his love for her.
Chapter 25 -- Don’t Read with Your Eyes
After reading Chapter 25, choose a scene or episode from a novel, play or epic written before the twentieth century. Contrast how it could be viewed by a reader from the twenty-first century with how it might be viewed by a contemporary reader. Focus on specific assumptions that the author makes, assumptions that would not make it in this century.
In ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Elizabeth is proposed to by Mr. Collins, however refuses his hand rather adamantly. In today’s time it is more acceptable for a woman to have a choice when it comes to who she marries and to marry out of love, but around the time when the story takes place, it is assumed of a woman like Elizabeth to marry out of obligation and financial security. So for women in that time and society reading this book would have a different reaction to Elizabeth’s refusal in marriage. Sure it’s painful to watch someone be rejected when going down on one knee and asking for ones hand in today's time, but not as socially unheard off in Elizabeth’s society and age.
Where marriage is concerned, the women then more so than now, needed to take into consideration their families wellbeing and name. Sense not all women had a good education and means of living, they had to rely on a suitable marriage that could support them, their children and in most cases their families as well. Then again the ideal dream that Elizabeth brought with her not marrying out of obligation but rather because of love, is a fantasy most women had in those days and were able to live out through the pages of ‘Pride and Prejudice’. That’s probably what made the novel so popular.
Chapter 26 -- Is He Serious? And Other Ironies
Select an ironic literary work and explain the multivocal nature of the irony in the work.
I chose the final death scene in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as my example of irony. Romeo drinks poison wanting to end his life when he finds out that Juliet, the love of his life, is dead, when in fact she is just in a deep sleep but wakes to see that Romeo is dead, and so ends her own life by stabbing herself. A tragic and extremely ironic end to the lovers story.
Chapter 27 -- A Test Case
Read “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield, the short story starting on page 245. Complete the exercise on pages 265-266, following the directions exactly. Then compare your writing with the three examples. How did you do? What does the essay that follows comparing Laura with Persephone add to your appreciation of Mansfield’s story?
My interpretation of the theme behind ‘The Garden Party’ was something along the lines of the little things like tea parties, marquees, or a velvet ribbon hat, don’t mean anything when your dead. You can’t take materialistic things with you when you die. It’s more like the moments you stop long enough to appreciate and acknowledging the small pleasures life has to offer, like seeing the silent splendor karakas-trees bring, or the smell of freshly picked lavender.
Why I took this theme away from the story is because of first how she appreciated the way one of the workmen took pleasure in simply smelling a piece of lavender, and how when she went to visit the dead man, she felt ashamed to be clothed in such fine wear and a velvet ribbon hat. Holding a tea party when right next door when they’re morning over the death of a loved one. When she saw the man lying cold on the bed, she thought of him being so peaceful and content. Not troubled by things of garden-parties and baskets and laced frocks. However I’m not sure what she meant with her comment about life at the end of the story. Is life just something that ends, and all the things we buy and work for doesn’t really matter because we’re going to leave it all behind anyway? My take on this may be completely wrong, but everyone has different views on the lesson or theme that the author intended. So surely no ones opinions could ever be wrong, right? Just maybe not quite what the author intended.
Wow. I know the connection was their somewhere, but I was overthinking the meaning behind the story too much that I overlooked the most obvious thing it signifies, the separation between classes. After reading the other essays and views I now realize if I take a step back and list all the events that took place it becomes clearer what Laura’s journey was all about. The class system, an understanding of the adult world, family dynamics, and of a child struggling to find her own identity not molded my her parents. I wasn’t able to spot these connections out this time, but that’s how you learn, like I’ve learned from this comparison.
Choose a motif not discussed in this book (as the horse reference on page 280) and note its appearance in three or four different works. What does this idea seem to signify?
I choose the ‘Fairy Godmother’ motif. In movies or books there always seems to be this guardian angel like figure, who guides and helps our little heroine character along throughout the story. In a movie I most recently watched called ‘Odd Girl Out’, the ‘Fairy Godmother’ is the female main character’s newly accuanted friend, who is seen to pop in when the character is in need of advise or friendship. In the movie ‘Little Boy’ a Japanese man becomes an unexpexted guardian for the little boy who is the stories lead character. In the movie book turned movie ‘Flipped’ the two lead characters have the same guardian figure, the male lead’s grandpa.
In all these stories, the guardian is there to help the lead character(s) on there journey. In ‘Odd Girl Out’ the guardian helps the main character overcome verbal bullying from her classmates and become more confident in herself. In ‘Little Boy’ the guardian helps the little boy fulfill his list of good deeds in the hopes to bring his father back alive from war, whilst breaking the prejudice against Japanese in the small town. The guardian figure in ‘Flipped’ helps bring the two neighboring families and the two young lead characters together, despite their differences.