Symbolism In How To Read Literature Like A Professor By Thomas Foster

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“There is only one story. Ever. One. It’s been going on and it’s everywhere around us and every story you’ve ever read or heard or watched is part of it.” This is what Thomas Foster extolled in his book, How To Read Literature Like A Professor. Foster reveals to the audience that every story anyone has ever known is all part of one larger, more universal story, and this story has several universal concepts that reoccur in each of it’s developments. He explains to us how minor details can actually be major symbols. Things including how a literary blind man is blind for a reason, almost everything is political, even the smallest of trips in any story is a quest, and almost every story can be traced back to something biblical or even Shakespearean. …show more content…
In Foster’s Book, he insists “ If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism.” In this chapter, Foster discusses how someone entering water can be highly symbolic, especially symbolic of a sort of baptism. He alludes to Judith Guest’s Ordinary People (1976), and uses this story as an example. To be brief, two brothers go sailing on a lake, the boat sinks, the strong superior brother drowns and dies, but the inferior, disliked, weak, and worthless brother lives. All in all, the weaker brother went in that water one person, small, timid, anxious, and emerged from the water reborn as a new person; A person who is stronger mentally, and psychologically. This concept appears in the latter part of Fahrenheit 451, when Guy Montag floats along the river after escaping the government’s enforcement. Montag strips from his clothes, washes off his old scent, and wades downstream in the river, leaving his old self behind. A very emotional, …show more content…
Foster explains how water can be a symbol of many things, but nearly always it is a symbol of cleansing, and rebirth. He shows how whenever a character is drenched in water, or drowns but lives on, metaphorical baptism has occurred. Fahrenheit 451’s Montag experiences a rebirth as he wades along a river in the black of night, filled with a sense of freedom and peace. Also, Foster describes the significance of any meal in literature, whether big, small, real or metaphorical. He demonstrates how an act of communion is a personal experience, and how it can change a character’s point of view and moral standing. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet finally overcome their animosity for one another during a large meal and ball. They then proceed to engage in a dance, which can be considered an act of communion as well. Each of these concepts goes to show how easily symbolism can be overlooked in any literature, and if the audience can pay closer attention to the finer details, so much more juice can be extracted from any work of

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