Old friends, Shakespeare, and Symbolism

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"What a literature professor does.... he tells you when you get near mushrooms. Once you know that, though (and you generally are near them), you can hunt for mushrooms on your own." [Foster, 36]

While reading this, I felt like someone had shown me something I knew a long time, but it was never apparent to me.
In fact, while reading Gatsby for the third time I realized that the Notebook probably was developed from that story, at least the lovey-dovey parts (Allie and Noah were separated for years and so were Gatsby and Daisy. While they both loved each other the woman moved on and the man tried to forget because after trying to get a hold of her for so long (Noah's 364 letters and Gatsby's house parties,) nothing had happened until one day when they 'accidentally' stumble into someone who knows the person they were looking for..

"There is a kind of authority lent by something being almost universally known, where one has only to utter certain lines and people nod their heads in recognition."

I think I can speak for most of us developing writers, that we dream of someone quoting our works. However, Shakespeare has reached the level that people don't have to say "where was that from?" they just know. Shakespeare certainly has power over us amateurs as we strive as our life-long goal to be as well known as he.

"... snow, like death, is the great unifier, that it falls, in the beautiful closing image, 'upon all the living and the dead.' " [Foster, 81]

I think this is another thing no one really thinks about until it is spelled out for them. Snow, rain, sleet, sunshine, it all falls upon everyone whether we are alive or not.


Alyssa Sanow said:

Yes, many developing writers may dream of being quoted by other writers in the way that Shakespeare is today. If, however, we take into account the other claim that Foster makes, "there's no such thing as a wholly original work of literature," (29) do you really believe it's possible for any modern writer to reach the level of popularity of Shakespeare? I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "There's been nothing original since Shakespeare." If this is true, how is it possible that any modern writer will ever produce anything original enough to merit the same level of respect?

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