How to Read Literature Like a Professor Summary & Study Guide

Thomas C. Foster
This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of How to Read Literature Like a Professor.
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How to Read Literature Like a Professor Summary & Study Guide Description

How to Read Literature Like a Professor Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.

“How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, Second Edition” is a work of nonfiction by Thomas C. Foster aimed at helping people to read more effectively, and to get a better experience out of reading. Foster is, himself, a professor of English at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he encounters various kinds of college students, that are of the regular age, and who are in their thirties and beyond returning for one reason or another. It is for them the book is primarily written, though the book has its fair share of viewers as young as those in high school, which Foster says he appreciates very much.

There are several key concepts and principles that Foster sets up for his guide to literature. Among these is that no work of literature is wholly original, because every work – intentionally or not –borrows from a previous work. But rather than being a negative thing, this is a very positive thing, for it can deepen a work and make it more relatable for the reader, for it speaks to previous experience, both in human nature and in literature. Another key concept to understanding literature is to look for symbols and symbolism in a text. For example, rain may have more to do with a cleansing of the soul than merely being a weather event. More often than not, things that seem like they should be symbols usually are. Foster encourages readers to always consider something a symbol, until it can be understood that it is, or is not.

Foster does state, however, that things are not always symbols. For example, a blind man might not be metaphorical for the inability to see the truth, but he also might just be a blind man walking down the street in passing. Likewise, the presence of symbolism or references to other literature should not detract the reader from understanding the overall plot or story. Even badly-written or formed stories can have symbolism, Foster cautions. But when it comes to reading, reading is a very personal thing, and belongs totally to the reader. It is up to the reader to draw conclusions, make judgments, and interpret in the end. Foster stresses that this process should be enjoyed, not agonized over.

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This section contains 385 words
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