Quest Elements In 'How To Read Literature Like A Professor'

1357 Words6 Pages

Samantha Gonzalez
Ms. Turnquist
English 9 Honors Period 6
8 November 2015
The Impact of a Quest During life, one of the most difficult tasks one is faced with is acquiring self-knowledge; this can sometimes be confused with the person one wants to be and strives to be, as opposed to learning who they truly are. The five quest elements in Thomas C. Foster’s book How to Read Literature Like a Professor includes a quester, a place to go, a stated reason to go, challenges and trials, and the real reason to go; which in this step ultimately results in gaining self-knowledge (4-5). Sammy, the main character from the short story A&P written by John Updike, and Rainsford, the main character from The Most Dangerous Game written by Richard Connell, …show more content…

Although Sammy’s quest only involved him going to work and quitting his job after a couple of girls in bikini’s walked into A&P, this short story is still considered a quest, because it has all the quest elements. After several challenges and trials along the way of both quests, Sammy and Rainsford gained self-knowledge through the challenges of conformity, decision making, and character growth. Conformity, a challenge one faces at many points in their life, may shape people for the better, but often times it shapes them for the worse. Moreover, Rollo May emphasizes that, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.” which applies to the challenges both Sammy and Rainsford endure ("Rollo May." Sammy, who is nineteen years old, quits his job when he sees …show more content…

Likewise in John Updike’s short story he writes, “Stokesie’s married, with two babies chalked up on his fuselage already, but as far as I can tell that’s the only difference. He’s twenty-two, and I was nineteen this April…” this passage shows that even though Sammy did not conform he did justify his behavior towards the attractive girls ("A&P - John Updike." A&P - John Updike). Although Rainsford did conform and he knew what he did was wrong; he slept soundly and did not try to justify his actions. Conformity is also associated with decision making, because when faced with conformity one has to decide to stand up for what you believe or comply. In day to day life people constantly make decisions left and right, though this exchange is so common many struggle with it. In “The Most Dangerous Game” before embarking on the hunting game, Rainsford and Zaroff have a conversation in which Rainsford says, “No, General…I will not hunt…” and Zaroff responds, “As you wish, my friend…But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan’s.”, thus making Rainsford reluctantly change his mind to hunt (Connell

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