Oxymoron? Who Cares!

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Finally! Foster gives us a chapter that is actually useful. He goes beyond the obvious and teaches us something. In case you didn't read it, I'm talking about chapter 8. Now, Foster actually makes a slight mistake here, but I'll let it pass since it's the first chapter of his that I actually think is informative.

Foster stops trying to address us as readers of literature and momentarily addresses us as writers of literature. This subtle difference really comes in handy as he explains how to relate writing to other works of literature in the modern era. Foster takes great care here to do two things. First, he uses numerous examples, not just one. He makes it a specific point to explain himself over and over, rather than only once. And second, he uses examples that all of his readers will be familiar with. By choosing fairy tales and childrens' stories he ensures that we will understand his point.

This is even more helpful because he is actually doing exactly what he is explaining. He is explaining about how to relate literature to older works of literature and, in doing so, uses the very same strategies to relate his own piece of literature in ways that will help us out.

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3 Comments

Alicia Campbell said:

Carlos, I am glad you took note of this difference. I also found this particular chapter to be very useful. In reading Foster thus far, I found his ideas to be true and obvious, in some cases, as you pointed out; however, I had a hard time making sense of a few of his ideas when he referenced works of literature that I have not read to support them. I am sure if I encountered this difficulty, others have as well. So when Foster referenced fairy tales and children's stories, I was enlightened that much more. I, too, found Foster to be very effective in proving his point and teaching us something by making use of these examples, with which so many, if not all of us are familiar.

Good points, all. In the past, the average educated reader would have known a lot about classical Greek culture, as well as other subject areas typical of the time period and culture (Puritans would have known the bible, anyone in England would know about the history of the monarchy, etc.).

Annamarie Houston said:

I have to say that I didn't notice this as I read chapter 8. Maybe I just wasn't looking at it close enough. But now that I reread the chapter, it all makes sense and he does use very recognizable examples that everyone should and probably does know. Thanks for the insight!

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