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How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Breaking down chapters

William Dennison

on 16 October 2012

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Transcript of How to Read Literature Like a Professor

By: William Dennison How to Read Literature Like a Professor Every Trip is a quest
[Except When It's Not] Chapter-1 Components-Place to go, Reason to go, Challenges and trials, The real reason to go. Example of tradition- Knights, Dragons, and Princess, Holy Grail. Example of non tradition- Same as traditional but with out the Princess, Dragon and etc. Reason to go- The reason for a quest is always self-knowledge. Nice to Eat with You:
Acts of Communion Chapter-2 Sigman Froid-" sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" Purpose of communion in religion- The purpose of communion in religion is a way for people to become closer with an ultimate being. A way for them to become one in a sense. Purpose of communion in non Religious groups- The purpose of communion for none religious people is to come closer to your friends and family. Its a way to bring everyone together with out a purpose other than spending quality time together. Example of non religious communion-Tom Jones(1749) Look it up- Chapter 2, page-9, Second paragraph,3rd line down... Example of Religious- Communion on Sunday's ( you take the bread and the grape juice. Eating the bread is like eating Christs body, drinking the grape juice is like drinking his blood. Symbolizing you have became one.) Code of the West- Giving a character a chance to work on something. Example:Blind man overcoming his blindness. He cant see, but doesn't let that stop him. Acts of Vampires Chapter-3 Characteristics of Vampires-Alluring, Dangerous, Mysterious, and Sexy. What is Vampirism about-Lust, Sex, Seduction, Temptation, and Danger.There is always someone older who tries corrupting someone younger, sometimes its the other way around. Purpose of... "Ghost of hamlets dad"
The point to this story was to point out something that was drastically wrong. "Marley's ghost"
The point of this was to give some lessons about right and wrong. "Edward Hyde"
The point to this story was to show that every man has an evil side, no matter how good they appear to be. Why did these things pop up so frequently during the Victorian Era? During this time, the writers could not just wright directly about sex and scandal. So they created monsters to help them. Chapter-4 If It's Square, It's a Sonnet Since When? Since the 1500s. What is the shape of a Sonnet? The shape of a sonnet is a Square. How many Lines does it have? A sonnet has 14 lines. How many syllables are there? A sonnet has 10 syllables. Two things a sonnet can do. A sonnet can be closely related and has a shift. Petrarchan- Has a rhyming scheme. Shakespeare-Divided up by 4 quatrain. Octave-Single unite of watching. Chapter-5 Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before? There's no such thing as..."A wholly original work of literature." There is only one story!!! Examples: "Jack and the Bean Stalk", "Thousand and One Nights." Explanation- Stories grow out of stories. The worst thing that will happen when reading is- You will read a story that gives you characters to remember. Explanation; You need to pick up elements like analogies and parallels to understand a stories with meaning. Explanation- You need to pick up elements like analogies and parallels in order to understand a stories. Mushroom analogy-Picking out elements such as Allusions, references, and parallels helps you to be able to understand the story you read. Dialog between new and old text- Its always going on at one level or another. Tim O' Brien's- Going After Cacciato(1978)
The novel divides into 3 interwoven parts: 1-The actual story of war experience of the main character. Paul Berlin, up to the point were his fellow soldier Cacciato runs away from the war.2-The imagined trip on which the squad follows Cacciato to Paris.3The long night watch on a tower near the South China Sea where Berlin manages these two very impressive mental feats of memory on the one hand and invention on the other. (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr Chapter-6 When in Doubt,
It's from Shakespeare... Nick name- The Bard Examples of borrowing-
Paul Matursky, "The Temptest" , "Woody Allen, "A Mid Summer Nights Dream." Favorite Phrase- " To thine own self be true." Why do writers do it- Sound smarter
Educate the reader
Gives what you say authority What does it have to do with intellectuality?
People use Shakespeare in there writing... Compare Henry the 4th, Part 2 with Master Harold:
Henry the 4th-Measured Harold's growth, which is regression into the most repugnant of human impulses. Master Harold- Makes us reexamine the assumptions of what is right in Shakespeare. Chapter-7 ...Or the Bible Pulp Fiction-Burst of apocalyptic rhetoric and imagery. East of Eden- Fallen world .
Beloved-Judgement day Pale rider- Speaks the passage Araby- Loss of innocence. Ect-The Canterbury Tales: Religious teachings
Four Quarts: Salvation Significance of characters names-The message the writer wants to convey about the character or story. Limitations for those who are not bible scholars- Those who are not bible scholars have to use other work allusions(Example- "Sonny Blues") Chapter-8 Hanseldee and Greteldum Literary Cannon-Hypothetical list of works.
Examples: Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, The Cat in the Hat, Hansel and Gretel. How do they do it? Kiddie lit...emphasizes children's Stories. Why?
Depth and Texture
Irony to Statement
Play with readers deeply engraved knowledge of fairy tales Irony-Drives a great deal of Poetry and fiction. How do we attack text? Strangeness and familiarity.
Seance of depth and solidity. Chapter-9 What is a myth? A myth is a body from a story that really matters. What is the writer doing? The writer is reaching for stories that matter to the them and community. Examples- Tony Morrison " A Mosee Des Beaux Arts"
-" Landscape with Fall of Icons" What can myth do? Put a person(s) in Parallel and Situations. Chapter-10 " It's never just Rain or Snow" Why rain? Pulls down improvements
Symbolically clean Example: "The 3 strangers" (forces them together, Mysterious) Verisimilitude-If the story is set in west Ireland, it almost always requires rain. " The Dead"-New life!!! Irony- " A farewell to Arms" - "The Dead" Rainbow- Divine promise, Peace between Heaven and Earth. Fog-Confusion " Party going"- Bleak House" Snow- Great unifier " The Dead" Interlude Internationalists-Writers who attempt to control fact of their creative out put and who intend virtually every effect in their works. ~ James Joyce, Tis Eliot Lateral thinking- The way writers can keep their eye on the target and at the same time, bring in a great deal of a least tangentially, dated materials. Does He Mean That? Chapter-11 ...More Than It's Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence. Violence can be...Personal, Intimate, Cultural, Social, Thematic, Biblical, Shakespearean, Romantic, Angelical. Example: Robert Frost " Fall out" Violence to emphasize our status as orphans. Anna Karina, Emma Bovary, D.H. Lawrence. Two Categories- Specific injury that authors cause characters to visit on one another or on the script. ( Shootings, stabbings, drownings) Narrative violence that causes characters harm in general.
-Suffering How do they compare- No guilty party...writer kills of characters. My story/Novel- Lack weightiness, Lack destiny, We sense grater weight or depth in works, when there is something happening beyond the surface. Chapter-12 Is that a Symbol Allegory- Symbol that is reduced for standing foe one thing. Example- "The Pilgrims Progress" , Conveys a certain message. Symbol- Involve a range of possible meanings and interpretation. Example- "Passage to the index" Net loss-Novel that would cease to be what is limitless, Range of possible portions. How do you tell what a symbol means- Questions, Expressions, preexisting knowledge. Factors that influence what we understand in replying. Educational ailment, gender, race. Chapter-13 It's All Political Scrooge- Representative meant to change us and through us change society. Those who don't like it...One dimensional, Simplistic, Reductionist, Preachy. Programmatic- Pushing a single cause or concern or party position. Those who do-Realities of its world...Human Problems, Social and Political. Interesting and compelling. Examples- "The fall of the house of Usher","Rip Van Winkle" Writers tend to be men and woman who are interesting in the world around them. Chapter-14 Yes she's a Christ Figure too. You get the most out of reading if you know something out if the old and new testament. Culture and religion- Influences by its dominate religious traditions. Roll with in society of human kinds relation to nature, or involvement of woman in public life. Example- " The old man and the Seal" You might be a Christ figure if you are...33years old, Unmarried, Preferably Celibate, Wounded or marked in the side or hands. Sacrificing yourself in someway for others. Chapter-15 Flights of Fancy Who can fly- Superhero, Crazy, Ski Jumper, Fictional, Circus Act. Example- " Song of Solomon", " Nights at the Circus" Meaning of flying- Being able to escape, freedom, return home, largeness of spirit, love, Irony triumphs everything! Meaning of not being able to fly-Bad, Opposite of flying. Example- " Hearts and lives of men" Metaphorical flight-describing people as birds, images of birds, feathers, flying, spirit must soar. Example- "A portrait if the Artist" Chapter-16 It's all about sex... Freud-"Interpretation of Dreams"
-Tall Buildings, Male Sexuality
-Rolling Landscapes, Female Sexuality
- Stairs, Sexual intercourse Sex doesn't have to look like sex- Other objects, and activities can stand for sexual organs and sex acts. sexual symbolism-
Knights-Bringing together fertility.
Curtains-They had sex and enjoyed it.
Waves Breaking-Sex
Wrestling-Ferrous sex Chapter-17 Expect Sex What sex in literature is really about---Describing parts and movements in a haze of breathy metaphors and heroic adverbs, its hard to wright with out seeming like its about sex.---When the writer is writing about about other things, they are really writing about sex.Describing two people engaging in the most inmate of shared acts is really very least rewarding. Most famous sex scene- "French Lieutenants Woman"(1916.) John Fowles Cover- Its a cover for espionage, personal sacrifice, psychological needs, power over something. O' Brian's writing- Its about liberation Chapter- 18 If she comes up, It's Baptism Characters in the river-Wish, Fulfillment, exorcism of primal fear, exploration of possible, hardy solution to messy plot. Baptism-Death and Rebirth through medium of water. Example-"Love Medicine"(1986), "Ordinary People"(1976) "Song of Solomon" Characteristics of Baptism- Death, rebirth, new identity. Example- "Horse Dealers Daughters"(1922), "Unicorn"(1963), "The River"(1955), "Map of the World"(1994), "Rabbit Run"(1960). "Drowning has plenty to tell us in a story" Chapter- 19 Geography Matters... "Every Story or poem is a vacation" Geography-Hills, Beaches, Deserts, Creeks Stuff: Economics, Politics, History-Example: "Napoleon Symphony"(1974) Literary Geography-Humans inhabiting spaces, at the same time spaces inhabiting humans revelatory of virtually any element in the work, develop character, specific plot role in a literary work. *When writers send characters south, its so they can run amok, because they are having direct, raw encounters with the sub conscious. Specific places-"In praise of Prairie"(1941), "Bog Land"(1969), "Sense of Kilimanjaro"(1936) Places of poems and fiction really matter! Chapter- 20 ...So does Season Happiness and dissatisfaction have their seasons- What seasons resemble- Passion, Love, Adulthood, Romance, Fulfillment, Anger, Hatred, Old Age, Death, Childhood, and youth. Example- "After Apple Picking" Interlude One Story There is only one story!!! You know this, Think about it? A-Good Heavens, no.
B-Absolutely, yes.
C-Let me try again. Writers have to practice a kind of amnesia, pure originality impossible. Example-"French Lieutenants Woman" and " Child's Garden of Verses" Other Writers pretend their work is their own, untutored, immediate, unaffected. Example- "Connecticut Yankee in king Arthur's Court"(1889), " On the road" (1957) Cant avoid them, archetype or pattern. Example-" The Lord of the Rings", Odyssey", "Man and the Sea" Chapter-21 Marked for Greatness In real life, when people have any physical marks or imperfections, it means nothing hermetically, metaphorically, or spiritually. Physical imperfections in symbolic terms- Scars mean nothing. Example- " The Sun also raises", "The Waste Land" Scars and deformity's do not always have significance. If a writer brings up physical, handicap, or deficiency, there is probably meaning behind it... Chapter-22 He's Blind for a Reason, You Know Blind Character- Every Statement by or about the character has to accommodate the lack of significance. Seeing and blindness are generally the issues in many works. *If you want your audience to know something important about your character, introduce it early, before it is needed. Example " Raiders of the lost Ark" Chapter-23 It's Never Just Heat Disease... No better, no more lyrical, no more perfectly metaphorical illness than heart disease. Heart-Symbolic repository of emotion. How the Author uses it- Shorthanded for the character Example- "Remorseful Day"(1999) Good Heart- Something good! Bad Heart- Emotional and troubled, becomes physical ailment. Chapter- 24 ...And Rarely Just Illness Paralysis-Paralyzed Example-Portrait of the artist as a young man. Paralysis-Physical, moral, social, spiritual, intellectual, political. Principals governing the use of disease:1-Not all disease is created equal. 2-It should be picturesque.3-Should be mysterious in origin. 4-should have strong symbolic or metaphoric possibilities. Example"Portrait of a Lady"(1881) A sufficiently compelling metaphor can indicate an author to bring an otherwise objectionable illness into a work. Example- "The Plague"(1947) Diseases-Malaria, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Fever AIDS adds political property - Political angle Real illness come with baggage, can be useful or overcome in a novel. Chapter-25 Don't Read with your Eyes *Don't Read with your Eyes* Find prospective for sympathy with historical movement of a story. Example-" The Dad", "Sonny Blues" Deconstruction-To demonstrate how the work is controlled and reduced by values and prejudices of its own time. Chance for change-Can this person really be saved?
Example- "Moby-Dick" If your a professor you have to deal with some pretty unsavory characters and some questionable works. Chapter-26 Is He Serious? and Other Ironies *Irony Triumphs over everything* Example- "East Rider" Irony is chiefly structural and dramatic rather than verbal. *Irony doesn't work for everyone* Chapter-27!!! A Test Case What does the story signify-Clash between the social classes--- " Everybody gets the story" Birds and flight- Offers a critique of true class system, story of initiation into the adult world of sex and death, amusing examination of family dynamics, touching portrait of a child struggling to establish herself as an independent entity in the face of nearly overwhelming parental influence. Thanks for watching!!! -Not everything has to be a symbol.
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