I read the Introduction and Chapter 1 out loud between another student and I, while doing this I found that certain parts of the book stood out to me more than others immediately. One of the those things was the “language of reading” as a student compared to reading as a professor. In the introduction it says how readers respond on an emotional level before anything else and, in comparison, how professors look directly at the questions “where did that effect come from?” “Whom does the character resemble?” “Where have I seen this situation before?” As a reader I do find myself connecting with the literature we read on an emotional level first. For example, when we were doing a close reading on The Star Spangled Banner my first reaction to the poem was anger and pride. I focused on how I felt rather on what made me feel that way. That’s one of the large connections I have made throughout the first week of class and by reading the introduction and first chapter of Foster’s book. I realized there are questions that I need to ask myself first to be able to truly analyze literature and do a proper close reading. Instead of focusing how angry I was while reading the Star Spangled Banner I should’ve been focused on how words such as “foul footsteps’ pollution” made me resent the enemy and feel pride in my homeland. Prior to this class and this book I never realized how truly off I was from the “language of reading” and how I’ve always been focusing on the right things but in the wrong way. Once I learn to ask those questions that professors do I’ll be able to see literary text through those same glasses as the professor.
via Foster, Intro.
5 thoughts on “Foster Intro and Chapter 1”
Looking at how a work makes you feel a certain way instead of what that work makes you feel requires a completely different way of thinking. It’ll be difficult to make that shift, but it’ll be well worth it, I feel.
Exactly, when I look at why a certain passage makes me feel the way I do I get a lot more out of the text and it is definitely more rewarding in the end!
I also talked about how I use my emotions a lot when doing a close reading. When finding something that makes us feel a certain emotion, you are right we need to figure out and focus on what made us feel that emotion. Do you think close readings will be easier for you now after reading the book?
I hope the book doesn’t make you feel like you have been doing anything wrong by responding emotionally. That’s very normal, and if I were a high school teacher I would employ methods that are designed to get teenagers to respond to texts at a level that is appropriate for the educational goals of high school. So rather than worry that you have been doing something wrong in the past, I hope this book introduces you to a whole set of new ways you can respond to, and find meaning in, literary texts. You are off to a good start.
I think there’s an importance to emotional response still, because it explains why the text is significant to us as humans. Our first level of understanding the text would be based on our emotions, and after all, writing is meant to explain the human condition. I think keeping the idea of the emotional response, but just pulling out the “I” from it will make it just as worthy as all other levels of analysis.