What Makes You Special

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Chapters 21-23 in How to Read Literature Like a Professor all adhere to a general rule--abnormality is symptomatic. And Foster puts it out there very simply, "It has to do with being different, really" (194). Since I have the unfortunate disadvantage of being unfamiliar with nearly all of Foster's (book) references, for my own examples I will turn to movies.  As Foster is nodding down the list of limps and deformities, I envisioned movies like The Wizard of Oz, with the bad witch sporting that nasty facial mole, or The Last Unicorn (1982), with the none-to-attractive Mommy Fortuna: those, clearly, ugly on the inside and out sorts of villains. Forgive my PG-13 parallels, but I'm racking my brain to no avail at attempts to find a film or story with more subtle, or better, evidence of Foster's rule.  Oh! Wait, in Twilight, Bella is the only person whose thoughts Edward cannot hear; obvious reasons aside, this unintentional mental-block of hers pays off ten-fold in Breaking Dawn, (I'll be vague for anyone who hasn't read it) where it blossoms into a gift of defense. The fact that these--would be apparent--differences were less easy to recount than I imagined, to me clarifies how perfectly they can be overlooked. Like Foster said, "If writers want us--all of us--to notice something, they'd better put it out there where we'll find it" (205).

 

3 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

About Twilight, Bella is also much paler than everyone else in Phoenix and in Forks. She is nearly the same color as the vampires perhaps foreshadowing her fate. Her clumsy "disability" of course has reason to bring Edward to her. Not the most original idea, but it works.

April M. Minerd said:

Interesting, I hadn't thought anything of Bella's paleness before. Along with her being clumsy, I think Bella's averageness works to her advantage in the series; it's a consistent theme, and part of her characters apeal: a regular girl who meets extrodinary circumstances.

AndrewAdams said:

I feel like this is a rather simple point, but it helps us think more instead of just reading. Instead of just knowing the main character is different in some way because they are the main character, we can look at what makes them different. One example I can think of is the character of Slevin from the movie Lucky Number Slevin. His character is extremely witty and intelligent, and has what he calls ataraxia, which means peace of mind. He says "It's a condition characterized by freedom from worry or any other pre-occupation really. " Instead of just supposing he is normal, supposing he is not normal because of his characteristics makes it easier to see what will happen.

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