In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster teaches readers the meanings behind commonly used symbols, themes, and motifs. Many readers of all ages use this book as a guide to understanding messages and deeper meanings hidden in novels. The deeper literary meanings of various symbols in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are explained in How to Read Literature Like a Professor. By using Foster’s book, readers can better understand the symbols in The Handmaid’s Tale. In Atwood’s novel, symbolisms of sex, flowers, and color add to the development of the novel and the deeper meaning of the plot. In The Handmaid’s Tale, color is often mentioned while describing clothing. Each individual in Gilead wears a certain colored uniform that is symbolic of their role in …show more content…
The Commander and the Aunts claim that women are better protected in Gilead, where they are treated with respect and kept safe from violence. However, while Gilead claims to suppress sexual violence, it actually institutionalizes it. An example is Jezebel’s, the club that provides the Commanders with prostitutes to service the male elite. Another example is the Ceremony that compels Handmaids to have sex with their Commanders. Foster suggests, “...sex can be pleasure, sacrifice, submission, rebellion, resignation, supplication, domination, enlightenment, the whole works” (158). The Handmaids must submit to their Commanders as they hold the dominant role. The Handmaids are also sacrificing their bodies and fertility to their Commander and his wife in order to give them a child. They have all been renamed with names that signify the Commanders they serve: Offred, Ofglen, Ofcharles, Ofwarren, etc. These names show the Commanders’ possession of the Handmaids. In The Handmaid’s Tale, sex symbolizes the Handmaid’s sacrifice and submission and the Commanders domination and control over the Handmaids in
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor is a very well thought out book that would be great for most students to read before taking on a professional and a more eloquent piece of literature. Foster asserts that books are constructed in a meaningful way beyond the plot, and I agree with him to a certain extent. Yes, a majority of books have meanings beyond their plots, however, there are some basic books that were written just to tell a simple and entertaining story, for example, some children's books. Although, any person in the world could take the most simplistic story and digest it so that it has an ulterior meaning than what the author intended. Overall, I do agree with Foster in the assertion that books are constructed
In society, symbols are extremely prominent, yet they seem to operate as a product of pure laziness. For example, “red” is a symbol for hot or stop, but the words are rarely ever spelled for a person to read. However, this is not similar to symbolism in literature. Authors use symbolism to challenge the reader’s critical thinking skills, which is the polar opposite of society’s use. In both passages from The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby, their respective authors use similar and contrasting symbolism, which enhance their overarching themes, as well as the reader’s critical thinking skills.
Being an expert in literature may seem like a rigorous task to complete, but when you put passion into the work anything is possible. In How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster it gives tips on how to analyze all types of reading like a expert. While learning how to be an expert in literature you possess skills along the way. In order to be an expert in literature you have to keep an open mind, practice, and know everything has a deeper meaning.
Symbolism in American Literature In American Literature or any type of literature, the author may use symbols to represent a distinct concept. Types of symbols could include: colors, water, fire, seasons, etc. In this paper symbolism will be pulled from Into the wild by Jon Krakauer, The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. These three works of literature are all influenced by the concept explained in How to read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. Into the wild, Krakauer’s nonfiction, biography is about a young traveler, Chris McCandless, who sets out on an adventure to pursue his dreams by hitchhiking to Alaska.
During the training, Janine testifies about how she was gang-raped at fourteen and had an abortion. “Whose fault as it? Aunt Helena says, holding up one plump finger. Her fault, her fault, her fault, we chant in unison.” The Handmaids are taught that a rape is the victim’s fault rather
Nearly everything in the world stands for something greater than itself. Every plant, animal, gesture, and word holds a meaning under its surface. They may not always be deep or intricate, but there is no avoiding symbols, especially in modern days. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood folds symbol after symbol into its many creases. The most frequently occurring symbolism throughout the novel is the dedicated description of color.
Furthermore, based on Jonas’s age the “stirrings” is just the beginning of puberty. A theory to why the community instructs any kids who begin to have stirrings to take pill to “cure” it is that puberty could ruin their “perfect” society. 2. What is a symbol? Provide 3 examples of symbols within the novel and 3 separate quotes to back this up.
In this society, men have more power than women; however, Atwood uses the narrator’s point of view to portray her argument that gender should not be the determining factor in the balance of power. In Gilead, the futuristic setting of the dystopian society, the government and church are one in another, making laws and regulations to oppress women and stating that it’s the ’word of god’. Along with many biblical allusions, Atwood shows us how the men in power would discourage women, using them for reproduction and housework, a literal slave to these men to do what they want, whenever they wanted it done. Women were forced into having meaningless sex with men they have no connection, and usually no interest in, because the government (men) wants
Handmaids are fertile women who are to be impregnated by the Commander or Angel they are assigned to.
Symbolism in “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Symbolism is a figure of speech that is used when an author wants to create a certain mood or emotion in a work of literature. It is the use of an object, person, situation or word to represent something else, like an idea, in literature. Many writers use symbolism in their works and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was a 19th century American novelist and Dark Romantic, is not an exception. His works usually represent the dark and evil side of human nature and are filled with symbolism from bible, nature, etc.
The poet, Lascelles Abercrombie once said, “There is only one thing which can master the perplexed stuff of epic material into unity; and that is, an ability to see in particular human experience some significant symbolism of man 's general destiny.”. He talked about how powerful of a tool symbolism is and how it is the only thing that can truly define a highly complex ‘destiny’ or series of events. Symbolism is something that is found throughout Harper Lee’s book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee shows the reader that racism is a product of society,she portrays the matter through her symbolism of the mad dog, the birds and the bugs.
The Handmaid 's Tale is one of Margaret Atwood most famous novels written during the spring of 1984, when the Berlin wall was still standing. Atwood creates a dystopia, which mostly consists of gender gap and oppression. The Handmaid 's Tale effectively portrays the United States as the modern-day totalitarian society of Gilead, which was illustrated as perfect by using the book of Genesis. Although the authors ideas are inherently and completely fictional, several concepts throughout his book have common links to the past and present society which the author herself calls a speculative fiction. The author uses a totalitarian system which includes aspects of Soviet system, to describe, deprivation, repression and terror with the use of
The novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a story about a society set in a future world where women’s rights have been revoked. Many values change with this new regime of controlled women and strict laws. Despite the changes in the world it maintains many conservative, religious beliefs while also containing liberal, feminist beliefs simultaneously. Society in the futuristic world of Gilead is structured heavily off of readings from the Bible and traditional views of gender that have been in place for a long time. An example of the Bible being an important part of society is the idea of the Handmaids came from a passage in the Bible about two women, Rachel and Leah.
The Playboy Bunnies are adorned in pink because it invokes a sense of youth and innocence. Pink is the standard color used for decorating girls’ rooms from a young age; thus, the onlooker sees the Playboy model as young and very feminine. By leaving the Playboy Bunny in this pink outfit, the photographer traps the model in this illusion of innocence. All of the Handmaids’ clothes are red, “the color of blood, which defines [them]”(Atwood 8). Red is the color of menstruation, underscoring the Handmaids’ main duty of procreation.