Don't Read With Your Eyes

How to Read Literature Like A Professor (Chapter 25)

Presentation By: Jenna Kinker

Lake Norman High School

Ms. Harris

English II Honors

November 26, 2013

What is the chapter about? Why do we have to learn it?

In this chapter we learn in order to fully grasp the book, you cannot just read with your own eyes. You have to put yourself in the position of different characters and understand what the story is like from their viewpoint.

Concept #1- Perspective

  • Your perspective is the way you see something.
  • Be open to understand historical moments in the story.
  • Adopt the writer and his perspective in order to understand the authors point but do not abandon your own perspective.
  • Moments in the story to remember are, social, historical, cultural, and personal background.

Example of this Concept:

“I can see us, living in the woods, her wearing that A, me with a S maybe, S for silent, S for stupid, for scared. S for silly. For shame.”

- Although this violent act was no fault of hers, she sees herself as being the responsible one. She thinks she was stupid,silly, and now she is scared and ashamed.

Concept #2-Deconstruction

  • Questions traditional assumptions.
  • Question EVERYTHING in the literary text.
  • Shows that the story is imposed and reduced by the values and prejudices of its time.
  • Suggests that we can never exactly say what we mean.
  • Text of a literary work can have more than one meaning to the reader.

Example of this Concept:


1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with you in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.

- Everyone makes assumptions that high school is going to be a fun experience, but Melinda states above that all these things are lies.

Concept #3-Understanding the Story

  • Comprehend the story through the characters.
  • Read between the lines.
  • You must understand the mindset of the characters.
  • Abandon your own opinions.
  • Readers must adopt the worldview the work assumes of its audience or we will misinterpret themes, ideas,and plot points.
  • "If you're going to understand the story, you have to read through eyes that are not your own"( Foster)

Example of this Concept:

“IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding.”

- In order to understand why Melinda does not speak throughout the story, you must have a clear understanding about the violent event that took place at the beginning of the story.

Concept #4- Last Chance For Change

  • Can this person be saved?
  • Does the character want to be changed?
  • Redemption (Is it possible for the character to be redeemed?)
  • Students need to know that you can transform and be something different.

Example of this Concept:

“I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears?”

-Although this violent act has happened to Melinda, she knows she can work through anything and be redeemed.

Overview of Chapter:

If you want to learn how not to read with your eyes only, you must read from the viewpoint of the character, question what you read, read between the lines, and see whether or not the character can be saved and that there is a chance to change them.

Learning Strategy: Think Pair Share

1. Get into partners or groups of three.

2.Read the passage.
3. Think on your own about the following questions....

  • What do you think the characters perspective is?
  • Based on this passage, do you know what the characters are going through?
  • Can the character change and be saved?
4.Talk with your partners about what you think the answers are.
5. Share with the class!

Works Cited:

  • Anderson, Laurie H. Speak. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999. Print

  • Bennett, Colleen E. Book Review: How to Read Literature Like a Professor. Colleen E Bennett. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

  • Foster, Thomas C.. How to Read Literature Like a Professor.New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2003. Print.

  • Keen, Amanda. "Review: The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks." The Lit Bitch. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

  • Nelson, Marti. "Internet notes on How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster." For the Average Lazy Teen. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013

  • Sparks, Nicholas. The Wedding. New York: Warner Books, 2003. Print

  • Warkenthein, Molly. "Junior Honors English: How to Read Literature Like a Professor chapters 23-25." Junior Honors English. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.