The second and third taboo topics I wanted you to think about are politics and religion. Don't they say that people should not bring up sex or politics or religion since these are touchy topics? But writers really do raise these topics, maybe because they are topics that touch a nerve. They are part of our sense of identity and reflect our values. Foster also has two other great chapters in his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, now referred to as HTRLLP, Chapter 13, "It's All Political" and Chapter 14, "Yes, She's A Christ Figure Too." Is Randle P. McMurphy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a Christ figure? How so? Is he an ironic one, if he is indeed a Christ figure? Why? Kesey's novel has many political overtones. His novel implies a point of view about the way our government treated Native Americans and affected their culture. He also raises questions about the way our society views and handles people who are different. Is his novel political? Make a comment or two on what you see in the novel or play you are reading. George Orwell's 1948 novel 1984 is obviously political in nature. If you are reading this novel, explore Thomas C. Foster's chapters on politics and sex (as you consider Winston's relationship with Julia). And what about Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried? His characters Jimmy Cross (what about that significant last name?!) Martha, Mary Ann, and the character Tim O'Brien who decides to head north toward Canada during the Vietnam War might be better understood after reading Foster's chapters on the taboo topics of sex, religion, and politics.
So add a comment or two about what you see as the significance of the summer reading authors' references to these taboo topics.