How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster has shown me how to reach true understanding in my future reading of literature and has helped me to reach a new depth in works of literature I have already analyzed. Swimming, seasons, weather and diseases have all taken on more than simply a set scene. Abuse of power over youth or the uneducated is more noticeable. The use of irony is more noticeable. This book has armed me with the ability to recognize political meaning within literary works. Armed newly with this knowledge I reanalyze several novels from my high school career and I learn more about the author as well as the characters who the authors present me with.
In The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Lily Barton is eaten by Gus Trenor, an older man she believed was her friend. Lily was not literally eaten by Trenor. Gus Trenor is not a literal vampire. However, Lily places her trust in Gus Trenor to make an investment for her with the very little amount of money she has (chapter 7, book 1). When Lily is later incapable of paying back the money Gus has been giving to her as though an investment gave money rather than increasing in value, Gus envisions a way in which Lily can quite easily pay him back. Gus Trenor invites Lily to his house in town under false pretenses (chapter 13, book 1). He allows Lily to come alone to his house without the protection of any other women. Gus wants to have sex with Lily in exchange for the money he had been giving her. When Lily manages to flee his house, Gus allows her name to be ruined. Lily is no longer able to keep her friends. Lily is seen as an easy woman. People no longer treat her like a young respectable lady. George Dorset even wants to use her as marital relief (chapter 6, book 2). Lily can no longer be a part of high society. Gus exacts his payment by ruining her name in the eyes of all whom she associates with. Gus took advantage of her innocence and let others treat her as though she was dead....
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