Journal Entries; AP Eng
In the first chapter of his book, Foster lays out the conventions for a quest, stating that in most literature, modern and classic, "every trip is a quest." the novel "the Help" by Kathryn Stockett is not perhaps seen by the unaware reader to be a quest, however as it details a journey, it can in actuality be broken down into the conventions Foster cleverly recognized: every journey or trip a story embarks upon follows a pattern, and that pattern is a quest. The first component of a quest is the hero, the character – often central to the story – who makes a difference for the other characters, and often makes a great change in themselves through the experience of the quest. Skeeter is a principle character in" the Help", and she is not content with her present life, living at home with her mother trying to marry her to a "good southern gentleman", as has been customary in her family. This is the second convention, as well as the third: a destination, and an initial motivation. Skeeter wants to be a writer, and she is presented with an opportunity in journalism which must involve a writing project that is a breakthrough, never – been – done – before, adventurous journey: interviewing black maids in the deep South during the civil rights movement. The motivation is her drive to be a writer, the destination is publishing this book, and the novel tells the story of the journey to her success. The fourth component is challenges along the way, and Skeeter is constantly trialed and tested, by her family, relationships, even the law and the risk involved with her project – danger is also often a factor of true quests. And finally, the fifth aspect that seals "the Help" as a quest is Skeeter, the protagonist, acquires "self-knowledge," the term used by Foster to describe the epiphany–like realization made by the hero after and through the success of the quest: skeeter makes a huge change for herself by rejecting her mother's ideal choice of husband for her and becoming a publisher in New York. It's is this successful transformation which makes Skeeter a hero and "the Help" a wonderful illustration of Foster's definition of a conventional quest – every trip and journey is a quest.
In chapter 2 Foster explains food and meals in literature to be devices for the author, often used as symbols, foreshadowing, and even integral facets of the plotline. Author Suzanne Collins features food and meals very prominently in her book, "the Hunger Games". As the title suggests, this stirring novel takes place in a starving civilization, a dystopian future where the world is separated into "districts" based on the type of food or good produced in said "district." the protagonist, Katniss, is introduced while preparing for a large celebration meal for her family and throughout the book the struggle to survive in this dystopia is emphasized largely through hunting, cooking, and most importantly eating food. A memorable scene in the novel is a meal between Katniss and her friend Rue. They are eating a raw turkey-like bird and Katniss offers Rue a leg of the animal. Rue replies that this is the first time she has ever had a "whole leg to myself". The generosity displayed by Katniss and the reception and reaction from Rue help give the reader a clearer image of what life is like in their world of Panem, as well as insight to our protagonist's character. This mealtime is integral to the plot, thus illustrating Foster's "act of communion" view on mealtimes in literature. Collins' is "the Hunger Games" uses meals and food as clear devices for conveying meaning in the plot, demonstrating the literary technique described by Foster in chapter two of "How to Read Literature like a Professor."
In chapter three Foster describes vampirism as symbolism for "nasty old men" stealing the innocence ofyoung defenseless women, often sexually, and highlighting vampirism as a facet of 19th...
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