How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature?
Introduction: How’d He Do That?
How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature? How does the recognition of patterns make it easier to read complicated literature? Discuss a time when your appreciation of a literary work was enhanced by understanding symbol or pattern.
Chapter 1 — Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not)
List the five aspects of the QUEST and then apply them to something you have read (or viewed) in the form used on pages 4-5.
Chapter 2 — Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion
Choose a meal from a literary work and apply the ideas of Chapter 2 to this literary depiction.
Chapter 3: –Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires
What are the essentials of the Vampire story? Apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.
Chapter 4 — Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
Define intertextuality. Discuss three examples that have helped you in reading specific works.
Chapter 5 — When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare…
Discuss a work that you are familiar with that alludes to or reflects Shakespeare. Show how the author uses this connection thematically. Read pages 44-46 carefully. In these pages, Foster shows how Fugard reflects Shakespeare through both plot and theme. In your discussion, focus on theme.
Chapter 6 — …Or the Bible
Read Frankenstein. Discuss Biblical allusions that Foster does not mention. Be creative and imaginative in these connections.
Chapter 7 — Hanseldee and Greteldum
Think of a work of literature (including film) that reflects a fairy tale. Discuss the parallels. Does it create irony or deepen appreciation?
Chapter 8 — It’s Greek to Me
What mythological connections are present in Frankenstein and what’s the purpose of the additions. Greek mythology available online.
Chapter 9 — It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow
Discuss the importance of weather in a specific literary work, not in terms of plot.
Chapter 10 — Never Stand Next to the Hero
Explain the difference between round and flat characters. Give three examples in literature or in a movie where
the title of this chapter applies and how.
Interlude — Does He Mean That
Chapter 11 –…More Than It’s Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence
Present examples of the two kinds of violence found in literature (including film). Show how the effects are different.
Chapter 12 — Is That a Symbol?
Use the process described on page 113 and investigate a symbol present in Frankenstein.
Chapter 13 — It’s All Political
Assume that Foster is right and “it is all political.” Use his criteria to show that one of the major works assigned to you in a previous year is political.
Chapter 14 — Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too
Apply the criteria on page 26-129 to a major character in a significant literary work. Try to choose a character that will have many matches. This is a particularly apt tool for analyzing film — for example, Star Wars, Cool Hand Luke, Excalibur, Malcolm X, Braveheart, Spartacus, Gladiator and Ben-Hur.
Chapter 15 — Flights of Fancy
Select a literary work in which flight signifies escape or freedom. Explain in detail.
Chapter 16 — It’s All About Sex…
Chapter 17 — …Except the Sex
OK ..the sex chapters. The key idea from this chapter is that “scenes in which sex is coded rather than explicit can work at multiple levels and sometimes be more intense that literal depictions” (149). In other words, sex is often suggested with much more art and effort than it is described, and, if the author is doing his job, it reflects and creates theme or character. Choose a novel or movie in which sex is suggested, but not described, and discuss how the relationship is suggested and how this implication affects the theme or develops characterization.
Chapter 18 — If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism
Think of a “baptism scene” from a significant literary work. How was the character different after the experience? Discuss.
Chapter 19 — Geography Matters…
Discuss at least four different aspects of a specific literary work that Foster would classify under “geography.”
Chapter 20 — …So Does Season
Find a passage in Frankenstein that mentions a specific season. Then discuss how the author uses the season in a meaningful, traditional, or unusual way.
Interlude — One Story
Write your own definition for archetype. Then identify an archetypal story and apply it to a literary work with which you are familiar.
Chapter 21 — Marked for Greatness
Why do authors give characters in literature deformities? Figure out Harry Potter’s scar. If you aren’t familiar with Harry Potter, select another character with a physical imperfection and analyze its implications for characterization.
Chapter 22 — He’s Blind for a Reason, You Know
If it is difficult to write a story with a blind character, why might an author include one? Explain what Foster
calls the “Indiana Jones Principle.”
Chapter 23 — It’s Never Just Heart Disease…
Why does Foster consider heart disease the best, most lyrical, most perfectly metaphorical illness? Recall two characters who died of a disease in a literary work. Consider how these deaths reflect the “principles governing the use of disease in literature” (215-217). Discuss the effectiveness of the death as related to plot, theme, or symbolism.
Chapter 24 — Don’t Read with Your Eyes
After reading Chapter 24, choose a scene or episode from a novel, play or epic written before the twentieth century. Contrast how it could be viewed by a reader from the twenty-first century with how it might be viewed by a contemporary reader. Focus on specific assumptions that the author makes, assumptions that would not make it in this century.
Chapter 25 — It’s My Symbol and I’ll Cry if I Want to
Discuss a poet or author who uses an odd word/phrase that might be over-looked for its symbolic meaning? Give some explanation here – both of the author and of the work/s in which the symbol appears.
Chapter 26 — Is He Serious? And Other Ironies
Select an ironic literary work and explain the multivocal nature of the irony in the work.
Chapter 27 — A Test Case
Choose a chapter from Frankenstein and write a few paragraphs that analyzes the chapter in a manner that’s similar to the test case.
Choose a motif not discussed in this book (as the horse reference on page 304) and note its appearance in three or four different works. What does this idea seem to signify?