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How To Read Literature Like A Professor: Chapter 10 & 12

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Tulcy Patel

on 17 August 2015

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Transcript of How To Read Literature Like A Professor: Chapter 10 & 12

Examples from Literature
Sarah Benewith, Yaqub Elmi, Toral Patel, Tulcy Patel
Chapter 10: It's More Than Just Rain or Snow
Chapter 12: Is That a Symbol?

From "How To Read Literature Like A Professor"
AP Literature - 2nd Hour

Chapter 10: It's More Than Just Rain or Snow
Chapter 12: Is That A Symbol?
All elements with a purpose
Importance of weather
Past history
"Weather is never just weather."
Basic understanding of water
Purpose of:
Main Thesis
There are many possibilities for weather that are of importance to the plot of a specific piece, whether it creates a positive or negative impact upon the atmospheric entirety of the story.
Major Assertions/Main Points
Blast from the past:
Rain used as a cornerstone
Powerful force to both appreciate and fear
Plot devices:
Spiritual cleansing/Restorative
Negative: Removal/Destructive
#1: Rain
#2: Rain + Sun
= Rainbows!
Divine promise
#3: Fog
Murky thoughts
#4: Snow
Clean, "fresh sheet", warm, playful
Suffocating, uninviting, hidden
Focus Questions:
1. Does every story and piece need a setting?

2. Is weather a part of setting?

3. Is weather necessary to be a part of the setting in pieces?
Quick Discussion:
1. Which is more effective: weather with positive or negative influences? Why?

2. In your opinion, which element of weather has the greatest impact on a piece?
Focus Questions:
1. What is the difference between a symbol and an allegory?

2. How can a symbol involve various meanings?

3. How does reading impact what a reader thinks a symbol means?
Main Thesis
Major Assertions/Main Points
Foster explains how symbols can have several meanings while others are limited to one significant meaning. In addition, he also mentions how the meaning of a symbol is determined by how the reader interprets and engages the text.
#1: Symbols may have a limited range of what they mean or a symbol can be open to be interpreted to mean many things.

#2: An allegory is a symbol that has only one meaning

#3: If the reader thinks it means something and they question, experience, and have preexisting knowledge on it, then it must mean that.

#4: Symbols can be objects, images, actions, characters, or events.
Major Assertions/Main Points CONT.
Chapter 10 Example 1:
The Great Gatsby
Chapter 10 Example 2:
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Chapter 10 Example 3:
The Odyssey
Chapter 12 Example 1:
The Crucible
Chapter 12 Example 3:
Don Quixote
Chapter 12 Example 2:
Moby Dick
The weather in the novel is never just weather, it reflects the emotions of the characters..
There is a period of rainfall that lasts five years without end, it begins right after a company massacres thousands of its workers.
This is symbolic of a cleansing of the industrial era of the novel's town, Macondo.
It also alludes to the biblical flood that cleanses the earth of its sins witnessed by Noah
“It rained for four years, eleven months, and two days.” (pg 301)
Weather patterns propel Odysseus through the plot and are representative of divine intervention.
The play is an allegory; the author meant for it to be interpreted in one, specific way.
The whale, Moby Dick, is a symbol that is interpreted differently by different readers (and characters).
Cervantes includes many symbols, like horses, books, money, and helmets. Helmets in particular can be interpreted differently from person to person.
Daisy and Gatsby are reunited during a storm, representing the initial sad and awkward tone of their meeting.
When the sun comes out, they have restarted their love.
It is the hottest day of summer when Gatsby and Tom's tensions are at their highest.
"The next day was broiling, certainly... the warmest day of summer," (pg 114)
The weather is used as a symbol, often a biblical allusion.
Poseidon often alters the wind to gain control over Odysseus.
"The winds tossed [the raft] on the great sea, now here, now there," (5.326)
Odysseus resists the storm, showing his resistance of certain gods, and washes up on land with the help of Athena. This serves as a plot advancement, since he then encounters Nausicaa and gets directions to the palace.
"The god... held back the waves... so bringing him safely to the river mouth," (5.451)
The events in the play are allegorical for McCarthyism, the practice of accusing people of being communist with no evidence. McCarthy's accusations were widely supported in the 1940s-50s, but his downfall was quick.
In the play, Abigail and her friends make accusations of witchcraft against many townspeople without any real evidence. Like McCarthy, they do this to gain power.
Also like McCarthy, the downfall of Abigail is harsh; she has to leave town. Both become hated.
The crew members see the whale as a goal to work towards, a distraction from their dangerous jobs.
Ahab sees the whale as a symbol of all the evil in the world.
Readers may interpret Moby Dick these ways, or in their own ways, like the whale being symbolic of God, an unattainable goal, or the purity of nature that capitalists destroy.
"How may unlettered Ishmael hope to read the awful Chaldee of the Sperm Whale’s brow? " (79.6)
Don Quixote sees a helmet as a symbol of chivalry and knighthood, it represents the old ways that he is stuck in.
On the other hand, the helmet blocks his vision, literally and figuratively. He can only see in tunnel-vision, so his worldview is very narrow.
They represent his tendency to choose imagination over reality; however, the helmet does keep his delusions intact.
"Instead of a complete helmet, there was only a single head-piece," (1.9)
Chapter 10 : Modern Media Example # 1
Symbols can involve a range of possible meanings and interpretations while it can also have a limited range; the meaning can be influenced by elements chosen to be emphasized by the writer or by questions, experiences, and preexisting knowledge the readers hold.
Thor (2011)
The Rain Scene
Who is Thor: Thor is a god from the world Asgard. In this world, he is a king with an extremely powerful hammer that grants him the power to control thunder. This hammer also symbolizes his worthiness and strength
Rain Scene : Thor loses his hammer in the middle of the movie. He finds his hammer during a rainy night and tries to pick it. However, he cannot due to his unworthiness.
Meaning: The rain in the scene means many different things. It foreshadows Thor's failures and his unworthiness after many events throughout the movie. Additionally, it adds to the sadness he feels for losing the ability to pick up and use his hammer.
Chapter 10: Media Example #2
The Lion King
The Rain Scene
+The scene depicts new life by using the rain to wash away the Wildebeest skull (which is a symbol of Simba’s guilt for his father’s death) and put out the raging fire.
Chapter 12: Media Example #2
The Trophy
+ In this show, students, training to be lawyers, killed and/or hide the body to protect their lives and reputation
+ Symbolic Item: A trophy is given to the students by the teacher to get them out of taking a test.
+ Symbolism: Power, Success, Fame, Excuse, Selfishness
Chapter 12: Media Example #2
The Painting
+Bond is a famous spy
+ He sits next to a painting of a broken warship. It symbolizes his worthlessness and brokenness due to a failed mission. Bond feels useless because he can't do his job anymore.
+ Additionally, the painting may symbolism how he lost a battle and not the war.
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