How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster: Various Ideas and Methods in Literature

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How To Read Literature Like A Professor by Thomas C. Foster presents various ideas and methods that are applied in literature in a form of a guide. Many Ideas presented in the book can be found in other books. For example, The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros uses concepts such as sex, geography, and symbolism to focus/describe other topics.

In The House On Mango Street, the main character, Esperanza, describes the hairs of her family members. The way she describes her family member's hairs symbolizes their personality.

Everybody in our family has different hair. My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air. And me, my hair is lazy. It never obeys barrettes or bands. Carlos' hair is thick and straight. He doesn't need to comb it. Nenny's hair is slippery-slides out of your hand. And Kiki, who is the youngest, has hair like fur. But my mother's hair, my mother's hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly and pretty.

The way Papa's hair is described makes him seem tired/lazy. The author chose to relate Papa's hair to a broom for a reason. Cisneros chose to relate his hair to a broom because visually, they are more dirty, rough, and stiff. If Cisneros were to relate his hair to a porcupine, it would make Papa seem more sharp and tight. Mama is symbolized to be more sweet, which is why she is related to candy. To have hair like Mama, one must put more time and energy. Their hair describes their personality because it shows how much they care about it. This can be compared to the way one judges everyday people on the street. By using physical characteristics, Cisneros managed to describe the characters personality.

Geography plays a key role in The House On Mango Street. Esperanza lives in a small house in the middle of the ghetto.

It's small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you...
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