Summer Reading Assignment
How to Read Literature Like a Professor Revised Edition:
A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines
Thomas C. Foster In Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Red-Headed League," Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson both observe Jabez Wilson carefully, yet their differing interpretations of the same details reveal the difference between a "good reader” and a "bad reader." Watson can only describe what he sees; Holmes has the knowledge to interpret what he sees, to draw conclusions, and to solve the mystery. Understanding literature need no longer be a mystery. Thomas Foster's book will help transform you from a naïve, sometimes confused Watson to an insightful, literary Holmes. Professors and other informed readers see symbols, archetypes, and patterns because those things are there – if you have learned to look for them. As Foster says, you learn to recognize the literary conventions the "same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice" (xiv).
For this assignment, you will read the entire text and write many short responses. It would be wise to create a schedule wherein each day you read a chapter and complete the written assignment(s). These short writing assignments will allow you practice your literary analysis. Whenever asked for an example from literature, you may use short stories, novels, plays, or films. If your literary repertoire is sparse, use the Appendix of Foster’s text to jog your memory or to select additional works to explore. At the very least, watch some of the "Movies to Read". Introduction: How'd He Do That?
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)
In a single paragraph essay, share the five aspects of the QUEST and then apply them to something you have read or viewed.
Chapter 2: Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion
In a single paragraph essay, 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
In a single paragraph essay, explain what the essentials of the Vampire story are. Apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.
Chapter 5: Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
In a single paragraph essay, define intertextuality. Discuss 3 examples that have helped you read specific works.
Chapter 6: When in Doubt, It's from Shakespeare...
In a single paragraph essay, discuss a work, familiar to you, that alludes to or reflects Shakespeare. Show how the author uses this connection thematically. In your discussion, focus on theme.
Chapter 7: ...Or the Bible
In a single paragraph essay, discuss a work that Foster does not mention (but with which you are familiar) that alludes to or reflects the Bible. To start, you can look at the example of the "two great jars." Be creative and imaginative in these connections. If you cannot think of a literary work, consider reading “Araby” by James Joyce. You can find it online. Chapter 8: Hanseldee and Greteldum
Think of a work of literature that reflects a fairy tale. In a single paragraph essay, discuss the parallels between your choice of a text and the fairytale it reflects. Does it create irony or deepen appreciation? (Be careful that you do not discuss a movie that is a direct depiction of a fairytale in a modern setting.)
Chapter 9: It's Greek to Me
Write a free verse poem derived or inspired by characters or situations from Greek mythology. Include margin notes or footnotes to explain the mythological allusions/references in your writing. Be prepared to share your poem with the class.
Chapter 10: It's More than Just Rain or Snow
Read “Distillation” by Hugo Martinez-Serros and, in a single paragraph essay, discuss the importance of weather in this