Analyzing Chapter 11 of Thomas C Foster's 'How to Read Literature Like a Professor'

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1. In chapter eleven of his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster examines violence in literature, and particularly the way violence functions on multiple levels. Foster identifies two different kinds of violence in literature, and discusses how those two different kinds create different literal and literary meanings. By examining Foster's categories of violence in more detail, one can see how violence in literature serves as an important link between the internal events of a story and the story itself. The most useful quote for understanding the chapter "...More Than It's Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence" comes when Foster transitions from talking about "character-on-character violence" to "violence without agency, where writers simply dispose of their characters" (Foster 95). Foster points out that: accidents do happen in real life, of course. So do illnesses. But when they happen in literature they're not really accidents. They're accidents only on the inside of the novel on the outside they're planned, plotted, and executed by somebody, with malice aforethought [,] with that "somebody" being the author (Foster 95). This reveals an important element of violence in literature, because it shows how violence, unlike other elements of a story, connects the internal events of the story to the story itself and ultimately the reader and author. When reading literature one of the goals is to understand the story beyond its literal meaning, and this

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