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Never Say Never

A word of warning: if I sometimes speak here and in the chapters to come as if a certain statements is always true, a certain condition always obtains, I apologize. 'Always' and 'never' are not words that have much meaning in literary study.
Foster (1-3, 5) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

I thoroughly enjoyed this particular statement made by Foster while reading How to Read Like a Professor. Isn't analytical writing more or less manipulating a series of words until they form a coherent argumentative sentence. And how can you do this without getting bashed over the head by the next "wise guy," as Foster puts it, if you use absolutes. Oddly enough, though, many writers, including both Foster and myself are often caught in this trap. In this case, I think it would be fun to be the "wise guy" by trying to think of successful novels that do not fit into Foster's quest theory. For example, Catcher in the Rye could be considered and anti-quest. Sure there's a protagonist who could be considered a quester but beyond that Holden has no place to go, has no one single stated reason to go, dwells on the challenges and trials society instead of his own, and although he is forced to go, he has no real motivation to go on any said quest.


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