On "How to read literature like a professor" by Thomas C. Foster, what is his (the author's) thesis statement?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my mind, Foster's primary thesis is for students to grasp the role of intertextuality in literature.  Foster introduces this as a critical point in understanding both his main ideas, but in understanding the nature of reading college level work, in general.  The idea of grasping the intertextual nature of works read in college, and significant literature, in general is a challenging one to students.  Foster's work is designed to give students some background in being able to understand the position from which work operates, understanding symbols in literature, and in being able to assess how a particular work reflects the other works that come before it.  Foster's main idea is to be able to give a handbook to students in understanding "the great books" that are covered in the college reading curriculum.  I think that being able to start this process where students have "some idea" on what they are reading and to be able to react to this on an intellectual and emotional level is something that is vitally important to Foster's work.

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