How to Read Literature Like a Professor

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How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster is a book that explains there is more to literature than just a few words on a paper or a few pages in a book. Thomas Foster’s book portrays a relatable message to a wide based audience. This book is relatable for two reasons, the way it is written and the examples it uses. The book is written in a conversational manner, as if the reader was in a group discussion about books and writing. As for the examples, they are informative, descriptive, relative, and entertaining.

All books are based on previous memories. Forster states, “There is no such thing as a wholly original work of literature.” To show this statement is accurate, he uses examples of Shakespeare’s works and the Bible as sources of information for many writers and their stories. Having this knowledge, we look for these types of sources or other familiarities throughout the novels we read in order to make sense of them. “The more we become aware of the possibility that our text is speaking to other texts, the more similarities and correspondences we begin to notice, and the more alive the text becomes.” Intertexuality is comparing and being able to see the connections between one book and another. It enlightens our appreciation and experience, bringing several meanings to the text, which we may not be aware of.

Aside from memory, the reader can connect to a story through pattern recognition. Readers can use plays as a pattern for plot, theme or both. In a lot of Shakespearean plays there are two common themes, revenge and heroism. Other common patterns are found in fairy tales. The themes of fairy tales are universally understood by the readers. They are able to draw analogies that most readers will be able to relate to. Some of the most common analogies are witches, princes, and evil stepmothers. Hansel and Gretel is a big universal theme. A present...
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