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Tools For Analysis from Foster
Terms in this set (28)
Chapter 1: Trips and Quests
What is the real reason for trips?
If a character is going on a trip, it turns into a quest where they gain self knowledge.
Chapter 2: Nice to Eat With You
What do communicable meals reveal within a book?
Whenever characters eat together it has the purpose of showing characters getting along and/or not getting along.
Chapter 3: Nice to Eat You
What does vampirism represent both physically and mentally?
Vampirism is about selfishness, exploitation, and a disrespect for other people's autonomy
Chapter 4: Now Where Have I Seen Her Before?
What does the unoriginality of stories reveal about the mind?
Being that no story is wholly original, it reveals that the mind recalls memories and inspirations either consciously or unconsciously.
Chapter 5: When in Doubt, It's from Shakespeare...
What is the significance of Shakespeare?
Shakespeare is everywhere. He is a figure that allows writers to struggle against each other with their texts.
Chapter 6: ...Or the Bible
To what extend is the Bible used in literature today and how is it used?
Literature takes greatly from the Bible because of the stories being relatable to today. It is often used in allusions to further emphasize the similarity between the Bible and the common era.
Chapter 7: Hanseldee and Greteldum
What is the relationship between time and the relevance of literary works?
In order for an allusion to stay relevant in a piece of literary, you must allude to a work that transcends the test of time.
Chapter 8: It's Greek to Me
What does Foster mean by the term of myth?
A myth is a story that explains ourselves TO ourselves in a way that physics, philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, etc cannot.
Chapter 9: It's More than just rain or snow
What does rain and winter symbolize?
Rain symbolizes Noah and drowning, but doesn't necessarily have to. Rain is restorative in a way that it cleanses characters. After rain, a rainbow symbolizes divine promise.
Chapter 10: Never Stand Next To The Hero
What is the purpose of side characters dying?
Main characters can't die, however, when people around them die it inspires character growth. The death of side characters are there to bring the main character to the finishing of their quest or journey.
Interlude: Does he mean that
Are there commonly coincidences within literature?
No. Writers purposefully allude to everything readers say and do. Writing takes time and thought, so coincidences are unlikely.
Chapter 11: More than it's gonna hurt you: concerning violence
What are the two categories of violence in literature
1. Specific injury that characters do to one another to themselves; where the characters are responsible
2. Narrative violence that harms the characters in general; where the authors are responsible and use it for plot development
Chapter 12: Is that a symbol
Do symbols have one set in stone meaning? What are ways to identify symbols?
Symbols don't ever mean one specific thing. There is a range of options for what they stand for, and a symbols meaning is all subjective.
Chapter 13: It's all political
Is political writing always a bad thing?
Political writings don't age well and generally aren't good in their own era/age. However, political writing takes realities in the world as well as tackles human problems, which is good.
Chapter 14: Yes, She's a Christ Figure, Too
What are some characteristics to look out for when identifying a Christ figure?
Christ characters don't have to be good people in a biblical sense. However, we live in a Christian society, so literature inevitably references the Bible.
Chapter 15: Flights of Fancy
What does falling represent?
Falling represents rebirth because souls are often relates to flight. Flight represents freedom and relates to the spiritual aspect of human life. Flight represents a return to home, or possibly an escape.
Chapter 16: It's All About Sex
What are some examples of symbols for sex? Why use symbols?
Limitations and censorship allow for the imagination in literature and film when it comes to sex. For example, the holy grail waiting to be filled, a train entering a tunnel, and many more. They use symbols in order to leave room for imagination and for people to interpret what happened in their own way.
Chapter 17: Except Sex
Do authors write about sex literally or figuratively? Why?
Writing about sex is often hard and unrewarding, which is why authors rarely write about it. However, when they do it is also meant to mean something else.
Chapter 18: If She Comes UP, It's Baptism
What is the relationship between drowning and baptism?
How a character drowns or how a character survives from drowning symbolizes different things. Characters who almost down are often "reborn" after survival, which holds the same meaning as baptism. Nearly drowning causes a character relevation, a rebirth; similarly, baptism is the rebirth into a new life of Christ.
Chapter 19: Geography Matters...
Is geography only about the place?
Geography and location generally plays a plot role, but can also be a metaphor. For example, characters going south represents them going to have fun and run amok. Additionally, geography is more than just a place, but the people in it as well. How the place forms reflects on the people there.
Chapter 20: ...So Does Season
What do the four seasons symbolize? How do they impact the story and why does it matter?
Spring - youth
Summer - adulthood
Fall - decline
Winter - death
Autumns are harvest: learning you're worn and older. Winter brings about sleep and hibernation, or perhaps the eternal sleep (death).
Chapter 21: Marked for Greatness
What do physical impairments means on a character?
In old time, physical deformity was seen as a distance to God, and the symbolism for it has carried on despite the change in views. Physical impairments mean something on a character, usually a moral deformity to match the physical one.
Chapter 22: He's Blind For a Reason, you know
What purpose do blind characters serve? Would you say they have other means of seeing?
Blind people are difficult to incorporate into a story, so when they are present they are extremely important. They usually represent sight in a sense different than that of it with the eyes (ex: the prophet form Oedipus Rex Tiresisas)
Chapter 23: It's never just heart disease...and rarely just illness
What does heart disease often represent?
Heart disease is extremely metaphorical and often relates to emotion. For example, characters can die of a broken heart at the loss of a loved one.
Chapter 24: don't read with your eyes
What are last-chance-for-change stories?
Last-chance-for-change stories are when a character has grown old and is given one last chance to educate themselves.
Chapter 25: It's my symbol and I'll cry if I want to
How should you analyze uncommon figurative elements?
You should figure them out and use knowledge of other symbols to relate to it.
Chapter 26: Is he serious? And other ironies
How is irony effective?
When a symbol that is commonly used one way is used in a completely different way it gives readers a greater impression.
How do you know if your analysis is right?
If you read carefully and the signs are there, chances are the symbols are true. The authors wants are irrelevant, and the reader should base their understanding off the text, not off the author's argument.
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