Don't Read with Your Eyes

How to Read Literature Like a Proffesor Chapter 25

Andrew Kormanek

3rd Block

Chapter 25

How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Summary of Chapter

The chapter Don't Read with Your Eyes is about how reading from a different perspective can help you understand the book better.

What Thomas Foster Says

"What I really mean is, don't read only from your own fixed position in the Year of Our Lord two thousand and some." (Foster 228)

The Setting can affect the way you should view the story

Time Period

-When you are reading it is important to view the story as in you are in the same time period

-In the time period the story takes place in, the people may do things different then we do today so it may seem out of the ordinary

Geography of the Story

-The geographical location in the story may be different then the location you are in

-People in different geographical locations do different things

-For example, someone who lives out in the middle of the forest may have to hunt for their food while we just have to go buy something at the supermarket to eat

The Dead

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-The book takes place in Dublin, Ireland in the 1800s. In the story, the family has dinner on the sixth of January and has celery, American apples, oranges for a side which is not a big deal for us. For them it is because none of these things grow there in the winter (oranges don't even grow there at all)

-The point is that if we didn't read from the perspective in the book, we wouldn't think that the celery, apples, and oranges were a big deal, but from the books perspective it is

Sonny's Blues

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-The character in the book Sonny, is a recovering alcoholic

-His brother knows it but offers him a drink anyway

-Today we may think that is not such a good idea but back then they didn't know any better to not give a recovering alcoholic a drink. That is another example on why you should read from the same time and situation as the book

How Situation should be a factor on how you view the story

-A certain situation in a story can cause a character to do something

-What they do may seem weird for us but if you actually put yourself in that situation then it may not be so weird anymore

Kaffir Boy

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-In the text, Mark is put in many different situations

-One situation that always arises in the story is the need to find food

-In one part of the story Mark and his sister go out with their mother on a search for food

-They search in a garbage dump for anything that is edible

-For us that seems crazy but for people in his situation it is not really out of the ordinary as the book said they did it a lot

Too Much of the Author's Viewpoint Can Lead to Difficulties

As I stated earlier, it is good to veiw the book from a different perspective. But doing that too much can lead to difficulties while reading the book.

-The author may be biased towards something or racist

-You should read not only from the author's view but your own as you can confirm if something is morally correct

The Merchant of Venice

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-The main character in the book, Shylock is Jewish. All of the Jews in the story are presented as money hungry, cruel, and dishonest.

-This then made people think that Shakespeare was anti-semetic

-This means that if you are reading from Shakespeares views, it is also good to read from a non anti-semetic view so you can get both sides of the story and understand it better


Time Period

-Research about the typical things people did in the time period the book takes place in and how they are different from stuff we do today


-Research about the geographical location the book takes place in and how the people do things different then we do


-Research about the author, find out things like where they grew up, where they live, and if they are biased towards anything

Summary of concepts

It is important to get every view from the story from the author's, to the character's in the book, to your own. It is also important to have alittle knowledge about the author and the setting. By doing all of these things, it will help you understand the book better.


-Get into groups of 2 or 3

-Read the excerpt

-explain how reading the excerpt from our time now is different from reading the excerpt from the time the story took place in

The Story takes place in the 1930's where racism and discrimination was common against African Americans


Baldwin, James. Sonny's Blues. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 1993. Print.

Foster, Thomas. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. Print.

Joyce, James. Dubliners. New York: Modern Library, 1926. Print.

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central Pub., 1982. Print.

Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy. New York: Macmillan, 1986. Print.

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1914. Print.