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How to Read Literature Like a Professor. Brett Bordonaro 3rd 9-28-2011. Ch. 25 Don’t Read with Your Eyes.

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how to read literature like a professor

How to Read Literature Like a Professor

Brett Bordonaro



ch 25 don t read with your eyes
Ch. 25 Don’t Read with Your Eyes
  • In the beginning of the chapter, the author talks about actually comprehending what you are reading. He states that when you read you need to not read the words with your own eyes, you need to actually read through the eyes of the character in the book you are reading. “So if your going to understand the ladies, and the meal, and the story, you have to read through eyes that are not your own, eyes that, while not those of Aunts Kate and Julia, can take in the meaning of the meal provided” (Thomas C. Foster 25).

The author states in the chapter a story about these women who prepare a meal and he talks about what the women had to do to prepare the meal. They had to provide a meal that was way beyond their means. The meal consisted of exotic and expensive produce that they had to feed to a large number of guests.“They have gone to considerable epiphany, the second most important day of the Christmas season, the day the Christ child was revealed to the wise men” (Thomas C. Foster 25).


It was not only a religious significance but an evening that the old ladies looked forward to all year long. “We cannot understand their anxiety over the success of this gathering unless we see how important it was in their lives” (Thomas C. Foster25 ).


The author also talks about another short story written by James Baldwin named “Sunny Blues”. The story deals with an uptight math teacher in Harlem during the 1950’s, who’s brother served time in prison for drug possession. There was extreme conflict between the brothers throughout the story. “It’s about redemption not recovery” (Thomas C. Foster 25).


Throughout the chapter the author wants us to look at the whole picture, not just the words you read. For example in the story of “Sonny Blues” , the author Baldwin suggests that the narrator of “Sonny Blues” has a chance to get to know his younger, troubled brother as he never has before. “The real issues of the story raises all concern the narrator/brother”(Thomas C. Foster 25). Sonny’s trouble is, interesting; but it is merely the hook that draws us in.


The rest of the chapter deals with stories such as Moby Dick, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Iliad, whose central theme deals with violence, blood sacrifices, looting, and multiple Gods, etc. “There are lots of useful lessons in The Iliad, but while it may at times read like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, we’ll miss most of them if we read it through the lens of our own popular culture” (Thomas C. Foster)


Like in the novel Great Expectations instead of reading with your eyes you need to actually read through the eyes of the young character named Pip. If you don’t actually read and comprehend what you are reading in the novel Great Expectations you will not get the true meaning of what the author is trying to convey.

  • “My sister’s bringing up had made me sensitive, in the little world in which children have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice” (Dickens 8).

The chapter relates to everyday life by if you don’t actually sit back and look at things in your life then you will not really grasp the whole picture.

works cited
Works Cited
  • Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. New Your: Bantam Dell, 1986. Print
  • Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, Inc., 2003. Print.