Symbolism Of A Professor : Symbolism, The Heart, And Flight, By Thomas C. Foster

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Jake Wallis Mrs. Mary Smith AP Literature 20 September 2017 Symbolism in How to Read Like a Professor: Symbolism plays an important role in literature and thus is discussed throughout Thomas C. Foster’s How to read like a professor. Three major examples of symbolism discussed in the book are weather, the heart, and flight. Rain is just rain, and snow is just snow, or is it? Maybe in everyday life, however, in literature, there is so much more to the story. Foster provides many examples to demonstrate that weather is not just part of the setting. Going all the way to the Bible, rain is the driving force behind the story of Noah and his ark. God sent a downpour lasting 40 days and nights. He was angry and disappointed with the…show more content…
Thus, writers often use it to great effect as heart disease is so symbolically intertwined with emotional issues. In The Wench is Dead (1989) Foster points out that our main character has died from issues with the heart, but the root meaning of this is actually that he is dying because of “the pain and suffering, the loneliness and regret, of his sad-sack love life” which is symbolically connected to the heart, where emotions come from, and thus his ailments of the heart can be directly tied to these emotional problems (Foster 142). Problems with the heart do not have to deal with disease directly. Spanning back to the Greeks there are references to people having hard hearts. This, while not being something that can really happen, in literature is symbolically a whole different story. A hard heart, whether it be physical or just figurative in a novel, is always symbolic of a closed off, rock hard, uncaring heart. In “The Man of Adamant” (1837) a man feels like the world is so full of sinners that he decides he must live in a cave to isolate himself from all human contact. This symbolic hardening of his heart is paralleled when, due to calcium in the cave, at “the end of the story he turns to stone, or not him entirely, just his heart. The man whose heart was figurative stone at the outset has his heart turn to literal stone at the end. It’s Perfect” (Foster 142). What do a bird, a

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