HOW TO READ LITERATURE LIKE A PROFESSOR: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines | SUMMARY & Key Points with BONUS Critics Review - NOT ORIGINAL BOOK
Thomas Foster, in the introduction, gives the reader reasons why the book was written, and why it may be helpful to any literature reader. By pointing out cues that make a work of literature what it is this book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is an instructional guide that hopes to enrich the reading experience. The introduction summarizes these cues, and offers an account of the techniques of analysis and interpretation employed by professional students and professors of literature.
Foster begins the chapter by recalling a classroom experience where his students couldn't comprehend how and why he had reached a certain conclusion about a character in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1959). Foster's primary goal in referencing this play and its characters -- Walter Lee Young and Mr. Lindner -- is to show how many layers of meaning are often embedded in a text. While A Raisin in the Sun is set in 20th century Chicago, the plot and characters of this modernist American play contain traces of a German legend dating back to the 15th century.
However, this connection is not apparent to Foster's students, which is why they are surprised by their professor's drawn parallels to bargains with the devil and the Faust legend. By explaining the connections, Foster argues that his theory is not unfounded, demonstrating the complexity contained in a single literary work.
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