How to Read Literature Like A Professor
Chapter 21: Marked for Greatness
In HTRLLAP Foster claims that, although literary styles and meanings have changed physical imperfection are still understood in symbolic terms. A character being different from the average population in a work of literature allows for many metaphorical possibilities. In Harry Potter, for example, Harry has a scar on his fore head that only he has. We know that Harry got the scar when Voldemort attempted to kill Harry, but was unsuccessful. The scar is full of possibilities to represent his character or to set him apart from the group. In the books Harry is describe as the chosen one, the one who will defeat Voldemort. His scar is physical proof of this fact. Harry was the only one to survive the killing curse and the only one to live through an attack by Voldemort. His scar is a constant reminder of what happened and connects him with Voldemort. His scar is a mark of greatness that physically represents he is the chosen one. In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the Creature's physical appearance also has symbolic meaning. Foster states that the Creature's creation represents the industrial revolution and how it endangers all knowledge from the Enlightenment. The Creature's physical appearance also represents his difference from the people characteristically. The Creature was not raised as a normal person, he had no mother and is just fundamentally different than everyone else. His physical appearance represents this fact, because he is different on the outside as well as the inside.
Chapter 22: He’s Blind for a Reason, You Know
In stories like Hercules and the Percy Jackson series there are blind characters that are able to see what others cannot. Oracles or Seers, depending on whether it is Greek or Roman mythology, are able to see things hidden from others. This is very surprising because they are in actuality blind. Although they are blind they have the ability to see the future as the gods present it. The oracles and seers reveal important plot to the protagonist before the main character experiences this event. However, the information provided to the protagonist is not the full story and in some cases the events that transpire seem very different from what was said. The information foreshadows the events that are to come, but only gives the reader a glimpse into the future, but leaves the outcome to the hero. In this case the character's ability also symbolizes their connection to the gods and their supernatural aspect.
Chapter 23: It’s Never Just Heart Disease... ...And Rarely Just Illness (Ch. 24)
In literary works illness has meaning beyond its use of killing off a character. Disease can be symbolic or used as a metaphor and often is. In The Fault in Our Stars, Augustus dies of cancer leaving Hazel alone to contemplate cancer and its workings. The symbolic meaning of the death has to do with fate and actions. The title of the work is a reference to a line in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, which also ties into the individuals actions and fate. Cancer is a mysterious disease, it is made up of our own cells that have turned on us and have begun to ravage our bodies. It is also picturesque in this sense, because it captivates us with its intricacy and the unusual nature of its growth. The disease has nothing to do with the actions of the patient; the disease is contracted simply by fate and the death that ensues is also because of fate. This theme is apparent throughout the work and also in the reference to the work of Shakespeare.
Chapter 25: Don’t Read with Your Eyes
Frankenstein was written in the early nineteenth century, a time when romanticism and Enlightenment were big in literary works. However, the industrial revolution was also becoming very prevalent in the lives of everyone around this time. It is important to understand the beliefs and what was happening at the time to be able to understand the story how it was intended. The creature represents the industrial revolution; it is a work of engineering and science, which pertain to the industrial revolution. New discoveries were being found that contradicted the ideas of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment and the ideas that came from it were the standards of beliefs at the time. Religion made the laws that ruled society and was the guideline for people's actions. It is important to view the work in this light to understand that Frankenstein's creature symbolizes the Industrial Revolution, and the people it is killing is the ideas of the Enlightenment. Science was changing the beliefs that came from the religious movement. For someone reading it through the eyes of a twenty first century teen it may seem like an awful work of horror. It only shows that ones desires and thirst for knowledge may end in disaster.