How to Read Literature Like a Professor

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Zubair Hussain
English IV AP
September 17, 2012

“How to Read Literature Like a Professor” Summer Assignment I. Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not)
The five most important things that make up a quest involve the main character actually going on the quest, a location of where the quester must go, the reason of going on the quest, challenges and problems faced along the quest, and then the actual reason why the quest was important. “The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge” (Foster 3). As the quest continues on, less is heard about the original reason why the quest is even started, and by then the character has already gone through some changes. In “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Huck and Jim embark on a quest along the Mississippi River to Cairo, hoping that Jim would finally be able to be a free man. During the journey, a friendship is formed between Jim and Huck, and they stumble upon obstacles almost everywhere they went because most of the south was still prejudice against blacks. By the end of the novel, Huck realizes that how society treats Jim and other blacks is wrong, and he chooses his friendship with Jim over the values and customs he has been surrounded by growing up. II. Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion

In chapter two Foster explains that anytime two or more characters are eating together, that that is an act of Communion, but not in a religious sense. Communion refers to the part of mass where everyone comes together as a whole and experiences one act together. Whenever characters in a scene come together and eat, it symbolizes a peace between them; it’s rare to see characters not enjoy themselves while eating. Foster explains how, “breaking bread together is an act of sharing and peace” (Irving 8). The placement of eating food is a very personal act in novels, because usually it is around characters that you are comfortable with. At dinner tables is when you can figure out how each character feels about one another, and at dinner tables, the author usually shares the inner thoughts of a character. In William Golding’s, “Lord of the Flies”, Golding uses the campfire as a dinner table, as the kids center around eating whatever they had hunted. During these scenes, you can see how each character reacts to another, and how sides were drawn. In Raymond Carver’s, “Cathedral”, the main character overcomes his disliking of people who are different when he and the blind sit down for a meal and he realizes that they share a common bond. III. Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampire

Foster introduces the archetype of a vampire in this chapter. Vampires are not just good-looking, pale, burn-in-the-sun, violent bloodsuckers, vampires can be in human form. Literal vampirism, like the case of Dracula deals with a lot of lust, but in a more literal sense, vampirism deals with, “selfishness, exploitation, [and] a refusal to respect the autonomy of other people”(Foster 16). To figure out if there is, indeed, a vampire in a story, you must look out for an older man, or woman, that represents old-fashioned corruption. Then that character usually goes for a young innocent female and uses her all up, the “vampire” takes away her innocence and her youth. Until eventually, there is the death of the young female, not in the literal sense, and the older male continues to live on. That is when you know there is a vampire in the story. A vampire is basically any character in a story that uses other people to get what they want, they are selfish. Much like the characters from “Mean Girls”, they place their own desires before others. A lot of the characters in “The Great Gatsby” are vampires, they suck up all the wealth from their parents and when they have all that they want, they never hear from the parents again. The guests at Jay Gatsby’s parties only use him because they want to get into the party, not because they like him. Daisy Buchanan is an example of a female vampire who only married...
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