Ch.8 Hanseldee Greteldum

How to Read Like a Professor

Presentation by: Karinna Montoya

English II

Lake Norman High School


a) Chapter 8 of How to Read like a Professor, the author explains how fairy tales have their own story line that is simple and easy to follow. Modern stories, movies, tv shows, and books connect to fairy tales because people already know the fairy tales characters and elements so authors may take small or big elements from fairy tales into their own so that readers know more about the character without having to tell the reader as much about the characters.

b) Whether it is a small or major detail, authors always end up taking something from old myths or the grim fairy tales. When readers notice this, it is easier for them to make connections between texts and becomes better at analyzing texts.

Concept #1- Literary borrowing

  • Literary borrowing is when an author takes from another story to create a reference for their own.
  • Stories always come from other stories and this is how stories grow into new ones, authors are always trying to improve their literature.
Literary borrowing is important to know because it helps understand the development of literature over time.

  • One of the sources that writers often use is the literary canon, it is master list of works with the names of those who's works gets studied in college courses. Most people pretend this list does not exist and other fight as to who is on this list and who is not.
Ex. In the book Beastly by Alex Finn, she takes the story of The Beauty and the Beast and turns it into her own by making the story be told by the Beasts point of view instead of Belle's. Since most of the old stories we heard were told by Belle's point of view, we already know how she feels so we already have background information on her. By making the story be told by the Beast we have a less biased opinion towards Belle because reader now get to hear the Beast's feelings and know more about him.

Concept #2 - Analogies and Parallelism

  • Parallelism is similarities of of situations within literary works. Characters who are parallel would be characters who are the exact opposite of one another, authors use parallel characters to emphasize each other.
ex. In Beastly, Kyle, the beast, is shallow and rich, he only cares about the physical features of people and doesn't really care much about others but himself. His parallel character would be Linda who is the girl he ends up falling in love with; she is poor, caring, and hard working.

-In literature authors often take small elements that readers have seen in other stories taking advantage of readers knowledge of the original story by employing signs we'll be able to recognize in their work. This creates parallelism providing a shortcut for the author so that they don't have to explain some of the background information.

  • Analogies are two things that are different compared with each other such as similes or metaphors. Authors may use analogies in the form that they may take a character from their story and compare it with a character from a fairy tale in order to make the character familiar to us. Other times, authors may take a character we are familiar with and change some of their aspects for emphasis.

- Analogies help readers gain comprehension of the story. Usually authors will take an idea the reader is used to and compares it with something new to add a twist into their story.

Ex. In Beastly, instead of taking Lindy's father and sugar coating him like in some versions of the Beauty and the Beast, Flinn just straight out makes him an alcoholic and druggie. In most stories Belle is given to the Beast in exchange for the fathers life because he has no option, but what Flinn did by making Lindy's father irresponsible was emphasize the love of two abandoned teenagers who found company in each other.

Concept # 3 Plot Structure

  • Plot structure is a literary element, it described the sequence of events in a story in the following order: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
- A plot structure is very important because it keeps a story in order with all thoughts organized; without a plot a story would be all over the place and wouldn't make sense.

- When an author takes the plot of a fairy tale they don't have to necessarily copy the whole thing, the author can turn it upside down if that is want. The point of borrowing another stories plot is to "make use of details or patterns, portions of some prior story to add depth and texture to your story, to bring out a theme" or, "to lend irony to a statement"(foster)

ex. Flinn follows the basic plot structure of the fairy tale The Beauty and The Beast as told by the Grimm Brothers but changes the time and location. Beastly is in modern time in New York while The Beauty and the Beast is several hundreds of years ago somewhere in Europe. Another things Flinn changed was the characters ages from adults to teenagers, this causes the way the book is written to change because now the characters are more emotional, insecure, and confused.

Concept #4 Kiddie Lit

  • Kiddie literature is basically the stories most kids grew up reading and listening to, such as The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon, Treasure Island, and all the other classic fairy tales that most of us know.
- Most of readers responses to stories come from impressions from past fairy tales. So when an author takes elements like analogies, parallels and plot structure from kiddie lit to develop their own story, they are more likely to get better responses from readers.

- Kiddie literature is important because it is the starting ground of stories, authors take literary devices from the classics and they make them more advanced to develop their own story.

  • So when authors are looking for a new idea for a story who do you they borrow from? well from kids literature. Reader tend to want to read and view things that they can make a connection with, a sense of familiarity. But if the story is too familiar then it would be boring and we wouldn't want to read it, that is why a story also needs a sense of strangeness. "If it manages both at once, strangeness and familiarity, it sets up vibration, harmonies to go with the melody of the main story line. And those harmonies are where a sense of depth, solidity, resonance comes from"(Foster). This means that the mixture of strangeness and familiarity can make a strong and interesting story.
  • Ex. Alex Finn took the story of the Beauty and the Beast that most of us heard or saw when we were little, most of probably saw the Disney version, so that readers could connect to it. Then to add the sense of strangeness, Finn added all the modern stuff like the rich weatherman dad, in the original story we don't really know much about the Beasts parents. Another modern twist in Beastly is the conversation in an online chat room between the Beast, a mermaid, and a frog.

The BIG idea

Regardless of the subject matter; books, movies, TV shows or movies, at the end of it you will end up coming back to one of the Brothers Grim fairy tales or another classic text. Authors borrow ideas from other stories to incorporate in theirs to add some sense of familiarity and knowledge. Whether the author takes the whole plot and makes some tweaks like in Beastly or the author takes a small idea like in The Hunger Games and makes it completely their own, if you look hard enough you will find something originating from the classics.

Cited Sources

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Toronto:

Scholastic, 2008. Print.

Flinn, Alex. Beastly. New York:

HarperTeen, 2007. Print.

McIlvain, Elizabeth Sky. "Literary Terms for English." Literary Terms.

N/A. 16 Mar. 2004. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

"The Hunger Games Summary and Analysis." The Hunger Games Study Guide :

The Story of Theseus and the Minotaur. GradeSaver LLC., 2013. Web.11 Nov. 2013.

Learning Strategy Activity

You will get a summaries of The Hunger Games and Theseus and the Minotaur. In several interviews, Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, has mentioned how the classic Greek myth inspired her book. After reading the summary write down at least 3 examples of what Collins took from the Greek story into hers. Next write down how the main characters; Katniss and Theseus, are similar.

This activity will help you see how authors, like Collins, borrow elements from classic stories for their own stories. The elements could be from the plot or characters.