Analysis Of How To Read Literature Like A Professor, By Thomas C. Foster

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In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster claims that all literature stems from other literature and in fact all literature is a part of one large work. A large amount of authors borrow ideas from other literary works. Of course, the seemingly most obvious author to borrow from being William Shakespeare. On the contrary, Foster believes that most of the exceptional Shakespeare quotes are overused and referencing Shakespeare can lead to something which Foster calls the “high brow” effect which means that referring to Shakespeare can make the author seem pompous. Other authors and literary works can be borrowed from as well, but many are not as widely known or are well-known now but won’t be for long. Because of these limitations, many authors borrow from children’s literature when writing their stories. Children’s literature is recognizable and long lasting. Nathaniel Hawthorne an example of an author that takes references from Children’s literature. He displays this with his novel, The Scarlett Letter which contains a connection to Hansel and Gretel.

At first glance the Scarlett Letter may not seem similar to Hansel and Gretel at all. There may not be a witch, bread crumbs, or lost children; however, each of these aspects is present in the Scarlett Letter,
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Thomas C. Foster presents many valid points about the relationship between children’s fairy tales and other types of literature in his book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor. The Scarlett Letter is a great example of his ideas. The Scarlett Letter is also an example of Foster’s idea that literature that is inspired by other literature does not have to be exactly the same as the literature that it is inspired by. Instead, stories can contain distant connections or one obvious reference that can tie the two works
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