How to Read Literature Like a Professor

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Chapter 3 - Nice To Eat You: Acts of Vampires
Chapter Summary:
-Ghosts and vampires are never only about ghosts and vampires. There’s a thin line between the ordinary and the monstrous. -Sex: Evil, lust, seduction, temptation, danger. Evil has been related to sex ever since the serpent tempted Eve.

-Exploitation: using other people to get what we want, placing our desires above others. Vampires and other figures are used where someone grows by weakening someone else. Connections:
-The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: Hester wearing the scarlet letter A is a perfect example of exploitation. By making her weaker, idealistic society grows stronger. A major theme is sin, relating easily to the evilness of sex in a puritan society.

-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Frankenstein’s monster is scared by outside society as much as they are of him, but in this way, the un-accepting nature of society is strengthened. ______________________________________________

Chapter 5 – Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before? Chapter Summary: -There is no such thing as a wholly original work of literature. All books borrow situations, ideas, and themes.
-There’s only one story. “When a new work is created, it is set among the monuments, adding to and altering the order.” –T.S. Eliot
-Intertextuality: the ongoing interaction between poems or stories. This link deepens reading, adding multiple levels of meaning to a work. Connections:
-Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder: Through Sophie’s travels she meets characters from other works of literature, such as Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, and other recognizable characters. Alberto also uses well-known works of literature to help teach Sophie her philosophy lessons. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 – It’s Greek to Me

Chapter Summary:
-Myth is a body of story that matters.
Connections:
-Oedipus by Sophocles: The story of Oedipus is not based on real events, but a reader can believe that it is. The Greek myth of Oedipus allowed Sophocles to create a stage play for performance.
-Landscape with the Fall of Icarus [poem and painting]: The myth of Icarus allowed the creation of both a painting and many literary works. They are all very different, but come back to the same myth. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 10 – It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow

Chapter Summary:
-It’s never just rain. The dark and stormy evening has tons of atmosphere and mood. Connections:
-The Jungle by Upton Sinclair: Late in the novel, Jurgis’ son Antanas dies in a puddle in the street. If it had not been raining, there would have been no possible way that Antanas could have died. The weather of the novel directly reflects the events of the story and gives the reader a better sense of what the characters are feeling. -Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder: In Chapter 8, Albert teaches Sophie about myth. One particular myth he discusses is Thor, the God of fertility. When Thor swung his hammer he gave rain to the earth. Many years ago, this was one way to explain the idea of rain.

Chapter 14 – Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too
Chapter Summary:
-To get the most out of European and American literature, it is best to know something about the Old and New Testaments. Religious knowledge is always helpful.
-The ability for anyone to be a Christ figure, despite differences. Certain characteristics can relate a person to the Holy One. (For example: tempted by the devil, good with children, self-sacrificing, forgiving. Etc.) Connections:

-The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: Old man Santiago is a perfect Christ figure. He, in many places in the story, is compared to Christ and has attributes that could only be parabolic.

-Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett: While Godot is never actually seen in the play, I assumed that he...
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