Read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster (ISBN-13: 978-0062301673 ISBN-10: 9780062301673). As you read, How to Read Literature, make a list of 3 to 5 statements that reflect the important points Foster makes in each chapter. Label each section with its chapter name, and try to capture the lesson that Foster wants readers to take from his chapters. You will turn this outline in on the first day of school as proof of completion of the reading, but you will also use it for the following assignment.
Read Toni Morrison’s Beloved and complete three of the five assignments below. These short writing assignments (approximately 1 page) will let you practice what you learned from Foster’s novel and develop your literary analysis skills applying them to Beloved. Please type these assignments and bring in hard copies on the first day of school. We will be working extensively with Beloved in the first quarter, so it is advised to purchase the novel.
Assignment 1: From the Introduction: How’d He Do That?
How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature? How does the recognition of patterns make it easier to read complicated literature? Discuss how Beloved is enhanced by understanding symbol or pattern.
Assignment 2: From Chapter 1: Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not.).
List the five aspects of the QUEST and then apply them to Morrison’s novel in the form used on pages 3-5. Consider the quest from character and author perspectives.
Assignment 3: From Chapter 12: Is That a Symbol?
Choose a symbol from Beloved and discuss exactly why it is symbolic, what it represents, and how it connects to a particular character and character development throughout the novel.
Assignment 4: From Chapter 13: It’s All Political.
Assume that Foster is right and “it is all political.” Use his criteria to show that Beloved is a political novel.
Assignment 5: From Chapter 19: Geography Matters . . .
Discuss at least four different aspects of Morrison’s novel that Foster would classify under “geography.”
(Optional but Recommended) If you have little knowledge of Greek/Roman mythology, obtain a copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and familiarize yourself with the Greek and Roman gods, goddesses, and myths covered. Many works of literature assume knowledge of this subject. Also, be sure to look up any biblical allusions while reading Beloved. Biblical allusions are pervasive in literature.
The following terms will be part of our vocabulary throughout the year. You will be quizzed on these terms from time to time, so it would behoove you to refresh your memory and learn the terms you do not know.
Literary Terms — Drama/Fiction
- Antagonist (the most significant character or force that opposes the protagonist)/Protagonist (the central character of the story who initiates the main action of the story)
- Catharsis (a purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience)
- Character (dynamic, flat, round, static, stock)
- Comic relief
- Deus ex machina (literally, “a god from a machine” – the phrase now refers to any forced or improbable device in plot resolution)
- Epistolary Novel
- Frame Tale
- Hubris (overweening pride, outrageous behavior,
or the insolence that leads to ruin)
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Plot (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Denouement)
- Tragic Flaw
- Unreliable Narrator/reliable narrator
Literary Terms — Common elements
dramatic (the reader/audience knows information characters do not)
verbal (the meaning intended by the speaker differs from the meaning understood by at least one other character – note: sarcasm is a subtype of verbal irony, not the same thing)
situational (or cosmic) (where fate or destiny appears to play a cruel joke on human hopes)
Literary Terms – Poetry
- Blank verse
- Dramatic monologue
- End-stopped line/enjambment
- Free verse
- In medias res (literally, “in the middle of things” – a narrative device of beginning a story midway in the events it depicts, usually at an exciting or significant moment)
exact (a full rhyme in which the sounds following the initial letters of the words are identical in sound (follow & hollow, go & slow)
slant (a rhyme in which the final consonant sounds are the same but the vowel sounds are different (letter & litter, bone & bean)
eye (or visual) (rhyme in which the spelling of the words appears alike but the pronunciations differ (laughter & daughter, idea & flea)
- Sonnet (English & Italian)