Annotations and Quotation Analysis for
How to Read Literature Like a Professor and The Alchemist
(Summer Reading- AP Literature in THREE PARTS)
AP Literature – Your annotations should be organized by chapter. Each chapter is listed here for you with their own unique questions/prompts to guide your annotations. Follow each one carefully and answer completely (approximately 1 paragraph for each chapter).
Introduction: How’d He Do That?
How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature? How does the recognition of patterns make it easier to read complicated literature? Discuss a time when your appreciation of a literary work was enhanced by understanding symbol or pattern.
Chapter 1 -- Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not)
List the five aspects of the QUEST and then apply them to something you have read (or viewed) in the form used on pages 4-5.
Chapter 2 -- Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion
Choose a meal from a literary work and apply the ideas of Chapter 2 to this literary depiction.
Chapter 3: --Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires
What are the essentials of the Vampire story? Apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.
Chapter 4 -- Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
Define intertextuality. Discuss three examples that have helped you in reading specific works.
Chapter 5 -- When in Doubt, It’s from Shakespeare...
Discuss a work that you are familiar with that alludes to or reflects Shakespeare. Show how the author uses this connection thematically. Read pages 44-46 carefully. In these pages, Foster shows how Fugard reflects Shakespeare through both plot and theme. In your discussion, focus on theme.
Chapter 6 -- ...Or the Bible
Read “Araby” here
. Then, discuss Biblical allusions that Foster does not mention. Look at the example of the “two great jars.” Be creative and imaginative in these connections.
Chapter 7 -- Hanseldee and Greteldum
Think of a work of literature (including film) that reflects a fairy tale. Discuss the parallels. Does it create irony or deepen appreciation?
Chapter 8 -- It’s Greek to Me
Write a free verse poem derived or inspired by characters or situations from Greek mythology. Be prepared to share your poem with the class. Greek mythology available online.
Chapter 9 -- It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow
Discuss the importance of weather in a specific literary work, not in terms of plot.
Chapter 10 -- Never Stand Next to the Hero
Explain the difference between round and flat characters. Give three examples in literature or in a movie where the title of this chapter applies and how.
Interlude -- Does He Mean That
Chapter 11 --...More Than It’s Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence
Present examples of the two kinds of violence found in literature (including film). Show how the effects are different.
Chapter 12 -- Is That a Symbol?
Use the process described on page 113 and investigate the symbolism of the fence in “Araby.” (Mangan’s sister stands behind it.)
Chapter 13 -- It’s All Political
Assume that Foster is right and “it is all political.” Use his criteria to show that one of the major works assigned to you in a previuous year is political.
Chapter 14 -- Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too
Apply the criteria on page 126-129 to a major character in a significant literary work. Try to choose a character that will have many matches. This is a particularly apt tool for analyzing film -- for example, Star Wars, Cool Hand Luke, Excalibur, Malcolm X, Braveheart, Spartacus, Gladiato,r and Ben-Hur.
Chapter 15 -- Flights of Fancy
Select a literary work in which flight signifies escape or freedom. Explain in detail.
Chapter 16 -- It’s All About Sex...
Chapter 17 -- ...Except the Sex
The key idea from this chapter is that “scenes in which sex is coded rather than explicit can work at multiple levels and sometimes be more intense that literal depictions” (149). In other words, sex is often suggested with much more art and effort than it is described, and, if the author is doing his job, it reflects and creates theme or character. In a MATURE and ACADEMIC fashion, choose a novel or movie in which sex is suggested, but not described, and discuss how the relationship is suggested and how this implication affects the theme or develops characterization.
Chapter 18 -- If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism
Think of a “baptism scene” from a significant literary work. How was the character different after the experience? Discuss.
Chapter 19 -- Geography Matters...
Discuss at least four different aspects of a specific literary work that Foster would classify under “geography.”
Chapter 20 -- ...So Does Season
Find a poem that mentions a specific season. Then discuss how the poet uses the season in a meaningful, traditional, or unusual way. (Submit a copy of the poem with your analysis.)
Interlude -- One Story
Write your own definition for archetype. Then identify an archetypal story and apply it to a literary work with which you are familiar.
Chapter 21 -- Marked for Greatness
Why do authors give characters in literature deformities? Figure out Harry Potter’s scar. If you aren’t familiar with Harry Potter, select another character with a physical imperfection and analyze its implications for characterization.
Chapter 22 -- He’s Blind for a Reason, You Know
If it is difficult to write a story with a blind character, why might an author include one? Explain what Foster calls the “Indiana Jones Principle.”
Chapter 23 -- It’s Never Just Heart Disease...
Why does Foster consider heart disease the best, most lyrical, most perfectly metaphorical illness? Recall two characters who died of a disease in a literary work. Consider how these deaths reflect the “principles governing the use of disease in literature” (215-217). Discuss the effectiveness of the death as related to plot, theme, or symbolism.
Chapter 24 -- Don’t Read with Your Eyes
After reading Chapter 24, choose a scene or episode from a novel, play or epic written before the twentieth century. Contrast how it could be viewed by a reader from the twenty-first century with how it might be viewed by a contemporary reader. Focus on specific assumptions that the author makes, assumptions that would not make it in this century.
Chapter 25 -- It’s My Symbol and I’ll Cry if I Want to
Discuss a poet or author who uses an odd word/phrase that might be over-looked for its symbolic meaning. Give some explanation here – both of the author and of the work/s in which the symbol appears.
Chapter 26 -- Is He Serious? And Other Ironies
Select an ironic literary work and explain the multivocal nature of the irony in the work.
Chapter 27 -- A Test Case
Read “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield, the short story starting on page 262. Complete the exercise on pages 282-283, following the directions exactly. Then compare your writing with the three examples. How did you do? What does the essay that follows comparing Laura with Persephone add to your appreciation of Mansfield’s story?
Choose a motif not discussed in this book (as the horse reference on page 304) and note its appearance in three or four different works. What does this idea seem to signify?
Directions: Choose and answer THREE of the six prompts below, and apply your understanding of select themes from How to Read Literature Like a Professor (HtRLLaP) to the themes and elements in The Alchemist. Each response should be handwritten and approximately 250 – 400 words in length.
1) HtRLLaP Chapter 1 – “Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It’s Not)”
2) HtRLLaP Chapter 7 – “…Or the Bible”
- Apply the five aspects of The Quest to the narrator’s journeys in The Alchemist. You may choose to focus on any single aspect of his movement, or look at the entirety of his journey as his quest.
3) HtRLLaP Chapter 10 – “It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow”
- Choose a scene or symbol in The Alchemist that you believe is a biblical reference and describe/compare the similarities in detail.
4) HtRLLaP Chapter 12 – “Is That a Symbol?”
- According to Foster, “…weather is never just weather. It’s never just rain” (44). Discuss at least THREE different aspects of weather in The Alchemist and how they are used to develop plot, mood, etc.
5) HtRLLaP Chapter 19 – “Geography Matters…”
- Using Foster’s process of deciphering symbols, investigate the symbolism Coelho uses in The Alchemist.
- Focus on two or three symbols and give a detailed analysis of each.
6) HtRLLaP Chapter 25 – “Don’t Read with Your Eyes”
- Discuss at least FOUR different aspects of geography in The Alchemist and how they impact the themes and events of the novel. (Note: Foster’s definition of “geography” is very broad; take this into consideration when developing your response.)
- Choose a scene and discuss the importance of understanding it from the perspective of the time in which the novel is set. What assumptions does the author make that would not necessarily be assumptions of a reader from 2017?
Poetry: Read/review the graphic organizer below on HOW to analyze a poem. Then, use the following blank graphic organizer to analyze the poem “Eating Poetry” by Mark Strand (attached).
Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude, Shift, Title, Theme
Literary Analysis Made Easy
T- Title: Think about the title, and draw some conclusions as to its meaning before reading the poem
P- Paraphrase: Translate the poem into your own words (literal and denotation) – For short poems, paraphrase line by line. For longer poems, summarize stanza by stanza. [Reminder: Watch for syntactical units (complete sentences) rather than line by line. Complete thoughts will end with punctuation.]
C- Connotation: Examine the meaning beyond the literal. Observe any and all devices, focusing on how each device contributes to the meaning and/or the effect.
A - Attitude/Tone: Examine both the speaker’s and the poet’s attitudes.
1.Speaker’s attitude toward him/herself, other characters, and the subject of the poem
2.Attitudes of characters other than the poem’s speaker
3.Poet’s attitude toward speaker, other characters, subject, and finally, toward the reader
S - Shift: It is very seldom that a poem ends in the same figurative “place” it began. Poetry is a writer’s reflection of their “a-ha!” moment, and their understanding of the experience. Typically, this realization does not happen overnight, but progresses slowly. One way to help arrive at an understanding of a poem is to trace the changing feelings of the speaker from the beginning to the end. The discovery of the shift can be facilitated by watching for the following:
✓ Key words: but, yet, however, although
✓ Punctuation: dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis
✓ Changes in line or stanza length
✓ Changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning
✓ Changes in diction: slang to formal
✓ Occasion of poem (time and place)
✓ Stanza divisions
T - Title: Now that you’ve read the poem, re-examine the title and draw new conclusions.
T - Theme: Recognize the human experience, motivation, or condition suggested by the poem. First list what the poem is about (subjects); then determine what the poet is saying about each of those subjects (theme). Remember, the theme must be expressed as a complete sentence.
***REMINDER: Always show how poetic devices operate in conveying the effect and meaning of the passage or poem. Like any good argument, you must always support your claims with evidence: cite specific details from the text and explain them accurately!***
YOU WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING THE MEANING AND USES OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING POETIC DEVICES:
A repetition of identical or similar consonant sounds, typically at the beginning of words
A direct or indirect reference to something that is presumed to be common knowledge (ie. a well-
known book, play, event, myth, etc.)
Unclear or double meanings
Direct contrast of structurally parallel word groupings (ie. up – down, near – far, best – worst, etc.)
Speaker directs remarks to an absent/dead person, or non-human object
Repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds – “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.”
Repetition of the same or similar final consonant sound on accented syllables or in important words
(ie. ticktock, singsong)
Facts included or omitted to create effect or evoke response
Choice of words (denotative and connotative meanings)
Exaggerated statements (ie. I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse!)
Sensory details: visual, auditory, smell, touch, taste
Repetition of sounds within the same line
Opposite of the expected: verbal, situational, dramatic
Direct comparison of a principal term identified by a secondary term: “Chaos is a friend of mine.” –
Object is used to represent something to which it is closely related: “The pen (written word) is
mightier than the sword (military force).”
Use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning
Contradiction of terms (ie. jumbo shrimp, the sound of silence, pretty ugly)
Appears contradictory or opposed to common sense, but contains a degree of truth or validity
Author presents or describes concepts, animals, or inanimate objects by giving them human
attributes or emotions
A play on words - “Pencils could be made with erasers at both ends, but what would be the point?”
The repetition of vowel sounds in accented syllables and all succeeding syllables
A comparison using “like” or “as”
Anything that represents or stands for something else
The arrangement of words within sentences or of sentences within a paragraph
A part that represents the whole (ie. “Check out my new set of wheels!” – Wheels represent the
Ironic minimalizing of fact: understatement presents something as less significant than it is
Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude, Shift, Title, Theme
Literary Analysis Made Easy
Consider the title and make a prediction about what the poem is about.
Paraphrase: Translate the poem line by line into your own words on a literal level. Look for complete thoughts (sentences may be inverted) and look up unfamiliar words.
Connotation: Examine the poem for meaning beyond the literal. Look for figurative language, imagery, and sound elements.
Attitude/Tone: Notice the speaker’s tone and attitude. Humor? Sarcasm? Awe? Anger? Etc.
Shifts: Notice any shifts or changes in speaker or attitude. Look for key words, time change, punctuation.
Title: Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level.
Theme: Briefly state in your own words what the poem is about (subject), then what the poet is saying about the subject.
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.