The first three chapters of How to read Literature like a Professor demonstrate multiple examples of how common situations that are interpreted as simple and denotative actually are symbols. Foster demonstrates how the misconception that the purpose of a journey is the its destination is false, the real reason being "self knowledge" acquired through the journey itself. Furthermore, he states that a meal shared with someone is most likely a communion, showing the trust the individuals participating have in each other. He further elaborates by explaining that sharing something as personal as eating is only reserved to people closest to him because hardly is anyone going to dine with a ...view middle of the document...
Furthermore, Foster states that there is no original work as they all gather inspiration from one another. He further elaborates that this web of inspired texts developed pattern that have become fundamental throughout the analysis of literature. Moreover, Foster then furthers this point by exemplifying the tremendous amount of modern work that has numerous similarities to Renaissance writers, particularly Shakespeare, and even how even the Bard's work is not completely original. Ultimately, it connects to the typical ending couplet of a traditional sonnet and how this was practiced especially by Shakespeare, maybe even initially by him.
Foster's bold statement that "there's only one story."(32) is used as a major attention grabber, effectively printed in bold. This is extremely powerful at gathering attention as it shocks the reader because of its numerous implications, which the author purposely fails to completely explain, forcing the audience to continue reading, hoping to find out. Since the author knows the readers recognize him as a professor, he is comfortable proclaiming an edict so flabbergasting because the reader will be less likely to dismiss it as ramblings.
Foster begins by building on his previous claims by elaborating that the diversification of the works of Shakespeare and the Bible lead to the establishment of more "original" works used for allusion due to the expansion of common literary knowledge. He further emphasizes allusions by asserting that myths are important cultural windows to the text's theme; moreover, Foster then acknowledges the Greek and Roman myths as another "original" works that are often referenced. Furthermore, he expresses that the weather in text is never just for setting, but is a symbol or foreshadowing factor that should not be overlooked. Weather such as rain has a long standing religious connotation such as God crying or the biblical flooding in Noah's story. He then assures us that whatever we conclude the author has hidden beneath the curtain of connotation, it is merely theoretical and there is no way to be sure. Foster reassures us that our assumptions are not baseless statements because authors hardly have “coincidences” in their text.
Foster exemplifies the symbolic meaning of weather when he says,"Rain mixes with sun to create rainbows." because as a freestanding sentence it inflicts thought upon the reader as its obscurity leads the readers to realize that the connotative dimensions of setting (79). The statement showcases the contrasting connotations of sun and rain and how its ambiguously combines to form the rainbow; how or why being a representation of a theme. "Rainbows" being definitely a symbol, but what it is symbolizing being hidden, is an excellent way of directly attacking the readers curiosity, increasing their interest.
Violence is presented as an ambiguous factor in novels that have varying effects and purposes. One of the effects presented is the removal of a...