So, I hope you are getting started on Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor; indeed, I hope you take to heart his point in the Introduction that good readers 1) cultivate their memories by scrolling back in the mind's files to other stories that seems to resemble the book presently read, 2) recognize patterns such as the quest motif, also known as the hero's journey archetype, and 3) recognize symbols such as Holden Caulfield's red hunting cap, Lily Owens's bees coming into her bedroom in the summer of 1964, Christopher Boone's Maths A Levels test, or the young shepherd's flock of sheep in The Alchemist. Don't rely on a study guide to tell you what an object or event or setting suggests. What does it suggest to YOU? Have some reasons why and be brave enough to share your ideas in class. That's all it takes.
In previous blog posts, you can find quite a few ideas about hero's journey motif and other aspects of the odyssey or quest stories. Check them out.
As you read the Foster text, highlight key ideas that you can use as you first read (and maybe listen to the wonderful Ian McKellen's audio version of this work, which I highly recommend!) Homer's first 12 booksof The Odyssey (the Robert Fagles translation ONLY!), and, secondly, read the modern odyssey of your choice. I am looking forward to what you all thought about these books. This blog post is a good place to share with me and others in the class the title of the book you decide to read. When you are ready to choose your modern odyssey, add a comment to this blog thread in the form of a brief sentence stating what you chose to read and maybe what attracted you to the book. They are all good, so I hope we have a good selection of readers for each odyssey story. Like the little bee below, we will seek out the nectar in these books--the sweetness of human experience in all its sorrows and joys. Happy reading!