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Notes by Marti Nelson 1. Every Trip is a Quest (except when it’s not): a. A quester b. A place to go c. A stated reason to go there d. Challenges and trials e. The real reason to go—always self-knowledge 2. Nice to Eat With You: Acts of Communion a. Whenever people eat or drink together, it’s communion b. Not usually religious c. An act of sharing and peace d. A failed meal carries negative connotations 3. Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires a. Literal Vampirism: Nasty old man, attractive but evil, violates a young woman, leaves his mark, takes her innocence b. Sexual implications—a trait of 19th century literature to address sex indirectly c. Symbolic Vampirism: selfishness, exploitation, refusal to respect the autonomy of other people, using people to get what we want, placing our desires, particularly ugly ones, above the needs of another. 4. If It’s Square, It’s a Sonnet 5. Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before? a. There is no such thing as a wholly original work of literature—stories grow out of other stories, poems out of other poems. b. There is only one story—of humanity and human nature, endlessly repeated c. “Intertexuality”—recognizing the connections between one story and another deepens our appreciation and experience, brings multiple layers of meaning to the text, which we may not be conscious of. The more consciously aware we are, the more alive the text becomes to us. d. If you don’t recognize the correspondences, it’s ok. If a story is no good, being based on Hamlet won’t save it. 6. When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare… a. Writers use what is common in a culture as a kind of shorthand. Shakespeare is pervasive, so he is frequently echoed. b. See plays as a pattern, either in plot or theme or both. Examples: i. Hamlet: heroic character, revenge, indecision, melancholy nature ii. Henry IV—a young man who must grow up to become king, take on his responsibilities iii. Othello—jealousy iv. Merchant of Venice—justice vs. mercy v. King Lear—aging parent, greedy children, a wise fool 7. …Or the Bible a. Before the mid 20th century, writers could count on people being very familiar with Biblical stories, a common touchstone a writer can tap
b. Christ figures (a later chapter): in 20th century. the long sleep an avoidance of growing up and becoming a married woman. symbolically. Evil Stepmothers. saved by. Hansel and Gretel: lost children trying to find their way home b. Alice in Wonderland. Prince Charming heroes who rescue women. David and Goliath—overcoming overwhelming odds iii. viii. 8. and a fall from innocence ii. Job: facing disasters not of the character’s making and not the character’s fault. the Cheshire Cat. The Apocalypse—Four Horseman of the Apocalypse usher in the end of the world. Queens. the White Rabbit. The Flood: rain as a form of destruction. guess who. Odyssey and Iliad i. Hector: The need to protect one’s family d. Cinderella: orphaned girl abused by adopted family saved through supernatural intervention and by marrying a prince f. who is a fraud e. the apple as symbolic of an object of temptation. Penelope (Odysseus’s wife)—the determination to remain faithful and to have faith iv. Why writers echo myth—because there’s only one story (see #4) c. Peter Pan: refusing to grow up. rainbow as a promise of restoration vi. lost boys. Men in an epic struggle over a woman ii. suffers as a result. the Wicked Witch of the West. Sleeping Beauty: a girl becoming a woman. Common Biblical stories with symbolic implications i. but remains steadfast v. a serpent who tempts men to do evil. Myth is a body of story that matters—the patterns present in mythology run deeply in the human psyche b. Snow White: Evil woman who brings death to an innocent—again. (20th c. a girl-nurturer/ c. Garden of Eden: women tempting men and causing their fall. the needle. Achilles—a small weakness in a strong man. the Red Queen. It’s Greek to Me a. iv. the need to maintain one’s dignity iii. h. saved by heroic/princely character g. a prince who fights evil on her behalf. Rumpelstilskin i. Biblical names often draw a connection between literary character and Biblical charcter. Jonah and the Whale—refusing to face a task and being “eaten” or overwhelmed by it anyway. facing the darkest parts of human nature or dealing with death . often used ironically vii. blood=womanhood. Hanseldee and Greteldum--using fairy tales and kid lit a. frequently switched—the women save the men—or used highly ironically) 9. the Wizard. The Wizard of Oz: entering a world that doesn’t work rationally or operates under different rules. Little Red Riding Hood: See Vampires d. The Underworld—an ultimate challenge.
What famous or mythic death does this one resemble? iii. Rainbow—God’s promise never to destroy the world again. allegorical. physical “fog”. drownings. hurricanes. but hard to generalize meaning d. bombings. Can only discuss possible meanings and interpretations e. playful 11. atmospherics iii. Romantic. mental. dysfunctional family Cassandra: refusing to hear the truth A wronged woman gone violent in her grief and madness—Aeneas and Dido or Jason and Medea i. pure. Why this sort of violence and not some other? 12. etc. g. But figuring out what is tricky. inhuman. plot device ii. biblical. Snow i. Rain i. Eliot. rain is clean—a form of purification. Violence is symbolic action. Questions to ask: i. rain is restorative—can bring a dying earth back to life iii. removing sin or a stain ii. It’s more than just rain or snow a. people can’t see clearly d. Is That a Symbol? a. etc ii. ethical. colds. hope. hit and run. baptism. Violence can be symbolic.. thematic. destructive as well—causes pneumonia. inhospitable. . death ii. Two categories of violence in literature i. f.Metamorphoses by Ovid—transformation (Kafka) Oedipus: family triangles. positively—clean. Accidents are not really accidents. Why? i. What does this type of misfortune represent thematically? ii. Ironic use—April is the cruelest month (T. Character caused—shootings. being blinded. Shakespearean. Drowning—one of our deepest fears b. Mother love—Demeter and Persephone 10. Symbolically i. negatively—cold. c. h. etc. democratic element—the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike c. stabbings. …More Than It’s Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence a. poisonings. stark. nothingness. Yes. Death and suffering for which the characters are not responsible. Noah and the flood iii. The Wasteland) v. fertility and life ii. transcendent. iv. a promise of peace between heaven and earth vi. b. misery factor—challenge characters iv.S. fog—almost always signals some sort of confusion.
where characters. believed to have walked on water x. self-sacrificing iv. Daedalus and Icarus b. or miracles. c. issues of justice and rights v. possibly tempted xii. put aside belief system. wine vi. Individualism and self-determination against the needs of society for conformity and stability. thirty-three years of age when last seen vii. believed to have had a confrontation with the devil. and head. ii. although not all equally devoted xvi. water. buried. came to redeem an unworthy world b. interactions between the sexes and among various racial and ethnic constituencies.b. often portrayed with arms outstretched ii. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost d. so most works have a political element in them b. creator of many aphorisms and parables xiv. Too a. good with loaves. very forgiving xvii. events. but also on emotional reactions. feet or donkeys preferred ix. Flights of Fancy a. If used ironically. but arose on the third day xv. Relations among classes iv. fishes. It’s All Political a. employed as a carpenter viii. Yes. 13. makes the character look smaller rather than greater 15. Characteristics of a Christ Figure: i.e. places have a one-on-one correspondence symbolically to other things. known to have spent time alone in the wilderness xi. last seen in the company of thieves xiii. side. 14. Actions. There is no one definite meaning unless it’s an allegory. good with children v. Pay attention to how you feel about a text. twelve at first. d. crucified. As a reader. i. known to use humble modes of transportation. in agony iii. How to figure it out? Symbols are built on associations readers have. Power structures iii. Flying was one of the temptations of Christ . had disciples. as well as objects and images. Issues: i. thematically has to do with redemption. She’s a Christ Figure. Why us Christ figures? Deepens our sense of a character’s sacrifice. Literature tends to be written by people interested in the problems of the world. (Animal Farm) c. wounds in hands. hope. feet. can be symbolic.
What represents home. Why? i. Can function on multiple levels iii. thin air. supplication. resurrection (Easter) c. rebellion. Sometimes the water is symbolic too—the prairie has been compared to an ocean. d. love. submission. It’s Baptism a. hence reborn. tunnels. images of fertility b. Female symbols: chalice. punishment . Geography can represent the human psyche (Heart of Darkness) d. etc. tunnels. such as sacrifice. raw encounter with the subconscious. Fall. Geography Matters… a. different life. If She Comes Up. 18. old age/death. domination. labyrinths. life. Spring. Going south=running amok and running amok means having a direct. return home. darkness. There’s also rebirth/baptism implied when a character is renamed. isolation. birds. reaping what we sow. life. Rain can by symbolic baptism as well—cleanses.. lack of growth. But drowning on purpose can also represent a form of rebirth. leaving an old one behind.e. …Except Sex. Winter=hibernation. oceans—can symbolically represent baptism. life. Winter=youth. another form of transformation. death. Usually not literal flying. rolling landscape. Rivers can also represent the River Styx. Baptism is symbolic death and rebirth as a new individual b. passing from life into death. f. High places: snow. coded sex avoided censorship ii. Symbolically: freedom. happiness. Spring=fertility. escape. adulthood. Drowning is symbolic baptism. Interrupted flight generally a bad thing e. walking in a blizzard across snow like walking on water. Can be more intense than literal descriptions 17. What represents wilderness. death 20. Fall=harvest. spirituality. …So Does Season a. Male symbols: blade. danger. both rewards and punishments d. enlightenment. and comes back a new person. ice.e. family. i. Irony trumps everything 16. jungles c. 19. Before mid 20th c. purity. middle age. people. love d. washes e. Holy Grail. heat. tall buildings c. etc. Low places: swamps. IF the character comes back up. symbolically reborn. Traveling on water—rivers. clear views. crossing a river from one existence to another (Beloved) f. When authors write directly about sex. b. fields. security? b. empty vessels waiting to be filled. young man sails away from a known world. bowls. they’re writing about something else. largeness of spirit. unpleasantness. the flight of the imagination.c. crowds. but might use images of flying. It’s All About Sex… a. fog. confusion? i. growth. c. the mythological river separating the world from the Underworld. e. Summer. dies out of one existence. death f. a choosing to enter a new.
political paralysis iii. cruelty. Hyde—the dual nature of humanity. but what is wrong with the culture that causes such damage d. You Know a. Faust—bargains with the devil in exchange for one’s soul iii. beautiful on the inside. hope. Christmas=childhood. Physical blindness mirrors psychological. intellectual. b. a. no matter how well-made or socially groomed. Dr. a monstrous Other exists. The physical deformity reflects the opposite of the truth. the communal aspect and philosophical possibilities of suffering on a large scale. intellectual (etc. b. darkness=blindness. cowardice. birth. lack of determination. Tuberculosis occurs frequently. Landscapes can be marked as well—The Wasteland by T. the blind see and sighted are blind c. something on a larger scale or something seriously amiss at the heart of things (Heart of Darkness) 24.. Heart disease=bad love. Marked for Greatness a. truth. etc. spiritual. Tuberculosis—a wasting disease ii. Frankenstein—monsters created through no fault of their own. often reflects not only the damage inside the individual. Quasimodo. family f. It’s Never Just Heart Disease. love. d. Eliot c. Jekyll and Mr. Physical marks or imperfections symbolically mirror moral. He’s Blind for a Reason. cholera does not because of the reasons below b. Physical imperfection.e. Malaria: means literally “bad air” with the attendant metaphorical possibilities. Irony trumps all “April is the cruelest month” from The Wasteland 21. Sometimes ironic. It should have strong symbolic or metaphorical possibilities i.. the isolation an despair created by wholesale destruction. loneliness. Monsters i. Physical paralysis can mirror moral. the real monster is the maker ii. disloyalty. Not all illnesses are created equal. Plague: divine wrath. Many times blindness is metaphorical. light=sight 23. moral. iv.) blindness b. a failure to see—reality. 22. when caused by social imperfection. It should be mysterious in origin d. Beauty and the Beast—ugly on the outside. or psychological scars or imperfections.S. that in each of us. emotional. . the puniness of humanity in the face of an indifferent natural world iv. …And Rarely Just Illness a. It should be picturesque c. social. Socially.
quests. Satanic Verses .R. political and religious angles vii. Two men by the side of a road they never take and which never brings anything interesting their way. AIDS: the modern plague. The Unicorn Going After Cacciato Alice in Wonderland The Overcoat Genre novel novel novel movie movie novel SS SS novel play novel novel novella novel novel novel novels novel novel SS Author Thomas Pynchon Mark Twain J. Vampires and Ghosts 4. Irony doesn’t work for everyone. victims unknowing carriers of death. disproportionately hits young people. passed on to a spouse or baby. Difficult to warm to. 26. Irony trumps everything. Food as Communion 3. men’s exploitation of women vi. hard for some to recognize which causes all sorts of problems.R. and personal background. An opportunity to show courage and resilience and compassion (or lack of). c. poor. Quest Title The Crying of Lot 49 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Lord of the Rings Star Wars North by Northwest Tom Jones (excerpt) Cathedral Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant The Dead Dracula Hamlet A Christmas Carol Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Example: Waiting for Godot—journeys. We don’t have to accept the values of another culture to sympathetically step into a story and recognize the universal qualities present there. Find a reading perspective that allows for sympathy with the historical movement of the story. nknknl 27. Don’t Read with Your Eyes a. when the innocent suffer because of another’s immorality. etc. Intertextuality . historical. don’t read from your own fixed position in 2005.v. Hyde The Turn of the Screw Daisy Miller Tess of the Dubervilles Metamorphosis and Hunger Artist A Severed Head. Is He Serious? And Other Ironies a. Tolkein George Lucus Alfred Hitchcock Henry Fielding Raymond Carver Anne Tyler James Joyce Bram Stoker William Shakespeare Charles Dickens Robert Louis Stevenson Henry James Henry James Thomas Hardy Franz Kafka Iris Murdoch Tim O’Brien Lewis Carroll Nikolai Gogal 2. that understands the text as having been written against its own social. self-knowledge turned on its head. Test Case: A Reading of “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield Works referenced in How to Read Literature Like a Professor Chapter 1. b. b. cultural. Tendency to lie dormant for years. The generic fever that carries off a child 25. Venereal disease: reflects immorality OR innocence. You must enter the reality of the book. Look for it. Sonnets 5.
S.S. Auden William Carlos Williams Derek Walcott Joel and Ethan Coen James Joyce Thomas Hardy Toni Morrison Earnest Hemingway James Joyce T. H. Snow white. Forster Plato Hart Crane T. Prince Charming.M. Lawrence William Faulkner Toni Morrison John Bunyan E. Eliot Eudora Welty James Baldwin Quentin Tarantino John Steinbeck Angela Carter Robert Coover Angela Carter Toni Morrison W. Go Tell It on the Mountain Pulp Fiction East of Eden Alice in Wonderland. Lawrence D.S. Fairy Tales 9. Sonny’s Blues. Much Ado About Nothing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead A Thousand Acres The Lovesong of J. Eliot Athol Fugard James Joyce Toni Morrison Hemingway Geoffrey Chaucer John Donne T. Birches SS SS SS poem novel novel play play novel poem play SS novel novel poem poems poem SS SS movie novel T. Biblical Allusions 8. The Road Not Taken. Where Art Thou Ulysses The Three Strangers Song of Solomon A Farewell to Arms The Dead The Wasteland The Fish The Snow Man Out.S. The Gingerbread House The Bloody Chamber (collection of stories) Song of Solomon Musee des Beaux Arts Landscape with Fall of Icarus Omeros (based on Homer) O Brother. Symbolism The Overcoat II” Two Gallants Two More Gallants Beowulf Grendel Wise Children Hamlet. Coraghessan Boyle James Joyce William Trevor John Gardner Angela Carter William Shakespeare Tom Stoppard Jane Smiley T. Out… Beloved Women in Love The Fox Barn Burning Beloved Pilgrim’s Progress Passage to India Parable of the Cave (The Republic) The Bridge (poem sequence) The Wasteland Mowing. Alfred Prufrock Master Harold…and the boys numerous TV shows and movies Araby Beloved The Sun Also Rises Canterbury Tales Holy Sonnets The Wasteland Why I Live at the P. Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella. H. Weather 11. Shakespeare Allusions 7.6. Eliot Robert Frost SS SS novel poem poem novel movie novel SS novel novel SS poem poem poem poem novel novel novella SS novel allegory novel poem poem poems . Violence 12. Sleeping Beauty. Eliot Elizabeth Bishop Wallace Stevens Robert Frost Toni Morrison D.H. Greek Mythology 10.O. After Apple Picking.
Forster Joseph Conrad Theodore Roethke Seamus Heaney W. Richard III opening. The Fall of the House of Usher Rip Van Winkle Oedipus at Colonus A Room of One’s Own Mrs. Baptism 19. Stephen Vincent Benet Victor Hugo . Except Sex 18. Lawrence John Fowles Anthony Burgess Vladimir Nabokov Angela Carter Judith Guest Louise Erdrich Toni Morrison D. A Passage to India Heart of Darkness In Praise of Prairie Bogland In Praise of Limestone The Snows of Kilimanjaro Sonnet 73.S.H.H. Dalloway Old Man and the Sea Song of Solomon Nights at the Circus A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Satanic Verses Portrait of and Artist as a Young Man Wild Swans at Coole Birches North by Northwest Janus Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Seasons 21. Lawrence Iris Murdoch Earnest Hemingway Mark Twain Edgar Allen Poe Barbara Kingsolver Toni Morrison E. Bedazzled (movie). The Rocking-Horse Winner (SS) French Lieutenant’s Woman A Clockwork Orange Lolita Wise Children Ordinary People Love Medicine Song of Solomon. All About Sex 17.H.S. Beloved The Horse Dealer’s Daughter The Unicorn The Old Man and the Sea The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Fall of the House of Usher Bean Trees Song of Solomon A Room with a View.B. Yeats After Apple Picking The Wasteland Richard III Song of Solomon. Political Writing 14. play novel Charles Dickens Edgar Allen Poe Washington Irving Sophocles Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf Earnest Hemingway Toni Morrison Angela Carter Gabriel Garcia Marquez Salmon Rushdie James Joyce William Butler Yeats Robert Frost Alfred Hitchcock Ann Beattie D. Star Wars The Hunchback of Notre Dame novel SS SS play NF novel novella novel ? SS novel novel poem poem movie SS novel novel novel novel novel novel novel novel SS novel novel novel SS novel novel novel novel poem poem poem novel poem poem poem poem play novel play novel poem novel novel. Geography 20. Dr. Beloved Oedipus Rex The Sun Also Rises The Wasteland Frankenstein versions of Faust. In Memory of W. Physical Marks A Christmas Carol Masque of the Red Death. Auden Earnest Hemingway William Shakespeare W.H. Flight 16. Faustus.13. Eliot Mary Shelley Goethe. etc. Women in Love. Eliot William Shakespeare Toni Morrison Sophocles Earnest Hemingway T. Marlowe. The Devil and Daniel Webster. Christ Figures 15. Auden Robert Frost T.M.
A Test Case Sonny’s Blues SS James Baldwin The Merchant of Venice play William Shakespeare Waiting for Godot play Samuel Beckett A Farewell to Arms novel Earnest Hemingway The Importance of Being Earnest play Oscar Wilde Howard’s End novel E. Notes by Marti Nelson . Heart Disease 24. Forster A Clockwork Orange novel Anthony Burgess Writers who frequently take ironic stance: Franz Kafka.M. Coraghessan Boyle. Salman Rushdie Uses “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield as an application of the concepts found in this book. Samuel Beckett. Irony 27. Angela Carter. Illiness 25. Hyde Oedipus Rex Araby Waiting for Godot The Good Soldier The Man of Adamant Lord Jim Lolita The Sisters (Dubliners) Illness as Metaphor (literary criticsm) The Plague A Doll’s House The Hours The Masque of the Red Death The Dead novel play SS play novel SS novel novel SS NF novel play novel SS SS Robert Louis Stevenson Sophocles James Joyce Samuel Beckett Ford Madox Ford Nathaniel Hawthorne Joseph Conrad Vladimir Nabokov James Joyce Susan Sontag Albert Camus Henrik Ibsen Michael Cunningham Edgar Allen Poe James Joyce 26. Jekyll and Mr. James Joyce. T. Blindness 23. Don’t Read with Your Eyes Dr.22. Vladimir Nabokov.
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