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In his book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster brings out the importance of deep reading as a way of exploring and understanding the main themes brought out within a particular piece of writing. In his chapter “Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion,” for example, Foster utilizes the aspect of meal sharing to depict the existing relationship among people. The sharing of meals, according to the author is an act of communion or togetherness (Foster chapter 2). Similarly, Charlotte Bronte in her book, Jane Eyre, uses food and meals to symbolize certain issues evident in the novel. Jane is one person who avoided eating together with the others. Her lack of communion during meals when living with Mrs. Reed as well as at Thornfield is an indication of her low self-esteem and her lack of ability to socialize with others or express her feelings, ideas, and emotions. While living at her aunt’s, Mrs. Reed, Jane had been cautioned against eating with the other family members, an act that shows how isolated she was from the rest. This isolation is later to be evident even when Jane moves to Thornfield where she prefers to eat alone and ignores Mr. Rochester’s requests to dine with them (Bronte 154), a depiction of her difficulty in socialization.
Foster in the chapter “It’s More Than Rain and Snow,” talks of how the weather can be used to bring out different meanings (Foster Chapter 9). Bronte in her book also uses the weather as a symbol of the different situations in Jane’s life. When Jane talks about the cold preventing her from getting out of the house for her usual tasks (Bronte 1), she shows how burdened she is with pain and emotions, as well as how much she wants to escape from her life of suffering, but has no means to do that. In her description of the first experience at Lowood, Jane gives a deep analysis of the weather (Bronte 1). The start of the winter season marked her new life in school and beginning of her new life. On the other hand, her description of the intense cold represented her periods of hunger and suffering at Lowood, all which made her stronger over time.
Overall, by reading Charlotte Bronte’s book like a professor, one will most definitely recognize how the author clearly brings out the various themes of the novel in an interesting and remarkable way.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. London: Penguin, 2006. Print.
How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines. New York: Harper Perennial, 2014. Print.
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