Foster's helping me cheat.
As I read Chapter 18 of Foster's work, a quote that really didn't have much to do with baptism specifically caught my eye, and I thought I'd share it.
"'Always' and 'never' aren't good words in literary studies." (Foster, page 159)
When I read this quote I instantly agreed with Foster. I know I'm not supposed to go on a rampage about personal beliefs in my blogs or reflections, but I just have to say that being in the class and reading more books than I have before and analyzing and doing close readings has really made me realize that this quote is absolutely true. Foster has been giving us ways to analyze and interpret symbols and situations within dozens of novels, with a lot of examples, throughout his work. He hasn't been giving us things like "this ALWAYS means this," because, as he says, these aren't very good words to use when analyzing literature. I think that, as students, (or at least as people who are just learning to analyze literature), we sort of have this expectation that there is going to be one right answer. For me, the only thing I have really analyzed before this class was chord progressions in music theory class, and those ALWAYS are one thing. It's rare that they can be classified as more than one thing. So, when I start reading books and being told "this scene could indicate this, this, this, or this," I start to get a bit overwhelmed. I guess what Foster is trying to prove here is that his students have tendencies to use the words "always" and "never", and they shouldn't do that. He's trying to tell us that we shouldn't either, and I think that's very nice of him, considering that I've been using him to help me understand the other books I'm reading better. :)
So how about anyone else? Does anyone else actually USE the stuff you read in Foster to help you with this class? It seems to me that it's almost like a cheat sheet of analyzing literature. What tips has Foster given you that you've put into use throughout this course?