Confusion, Self knowledge, and Irony

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First I'd like to say that this book is terribly difficult to get into. Though it is not a hard read, and I actually am interested in learning how to read better. However, my mind doesn't want to read about reading better, so my responses may be wrong, far fetched, but I'm trying.

Intro
"A moment occurs in this exchange between professor and student when each of us adopts a look. My look says, "What, you don't get it?" Theirs says, "We don't get it. And we think you're making it up." We're having a communication problem. Basically, we've all read the same story, but we haven't used the same analytical apparatus."

I believe this is a great intro considering the name of the book. I think that every student and English professor has been in this uncomfortable situation. While reading Tale of Two Cities in my 10th grade honors class, my teacher just kept stretching the cyclical nature of time. I did not understand that book because I did not have the knowledge that I do now, though only a few years more.


Chapter one
"They don't know enough about the only subject that really matters: themselves. The real reason for a quest is always self- knowledge. That's why the questers are so often young, inexperienced, immature, sheltered. Forty-five-year-old men either have self-knowledge or they're never going to get it, while your average sixteen-to-seventeen-year-old kid is likely to have a long way to go in the self-knowledge department."

I think this is a sort-of fact that we always over-looked but is common knowledge. In my mind, I always though a quest was to achieve something, a short-term goal, but not something as complex as self-knowledge.

Chapter two
"Not until her death can her children assemble around a table at the restaurant and achieve dinner; at that point, of course, the body and blood they symbolically share are hers. Her life---and her death---become part of their common experience."

This chapter was very interesting to me because it took the word "communion" and brought it to our minds in more than just a religious way. Foster described communion as a coming together, so that death can be a communional practice, and he even went as far as to say that sexual encounters are "communion.
Reading this as a Catholic, I was kind of insulted. though I see his viewpoint, the word Communion has always just been understood.

The quote above explains that her family was always so busy that they never even got to settle down and spend time together until it was too late, until she was gone.

Chapter three
"In those works that continue to haunt us, however, the figure of the cannibal, the vampire, the succubus, the spook announces itself again and again where someone grows in strength by weakening someone else... "My guess that is as long as the people act toward their fellows in exploitative and selfish ways, the vampire will be with us." "

This quote is interesting to me because even since I was younger everyone told me that bullies just make fun of others to make themselves feel better, to give them power. If you think about this, it is true. The people choose whichever side they like and sometimes you are backed up, but usually the bully always has more people on his/her side because the people with him don't want to be made fun of either. They are afraid of the humiliation that he is giving to you. This passage is saying that the evil spirits would appear to mess the bully's day up as to say, you get what give.

At least, that's how I see it.

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