What are the main points of chapter 2 in the book, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" by Thomas C. Foster?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Two is about the symbolism of eating in literature. Foster's main point for the entire chapter is whenever people eat or drink together in literature, it is an act of communion. Essentially, eating & drinking becomes a shared, communal event, an act of coming together. The way in which the meal is described reveals the nature of that community. The example Foster uses in Chapter Two is from James Joyce's The Dead, and the military language reveals the hostile nature of those attending the party. Foster argues that the one thing everyone in the world shares is death. Because we will all die, it is our one unifier. So meals become our second unifier: our celebration of the other thing we share, life. Thus meals bring all societies together.