'And Rarely Just Illness' By Thomas C. Foster: Chapter Analysis

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Thought Block #1 In chapter 24 of How to Read Literature like a Professor, “…And Rarely Just Illness” by Thomas C. Foster, points out that not all illnesses are created equally. During the 19th century, cholera occurs but not as much as tuberculosis. One who has cholera allegedly has a bad reputation because they are ugly and horrible. One with tuberculosis essentially becomes attractive, unlike cholera, “the skin becomes almost translucent, the eye sockets dark, so that the sufferer takes on the appearance of a martyr in medieval paintings” (Foster 216). In “Women in Love” by D.H. Lawrence, Rupert Birkin, the main character has tuberculosis but, Lawrence embeds this disease into Rupert’s personality using the words “’tubercular’, ‘delicate’, ‘fragile’, and ‘sensitive’” (Foster…show more content…
In Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Heathcliff returns from his three year “quest” to increase his social status so that he could marry Catherine but he soon discovers that Catherine married Edgar Linton. When Heathcliff returned Catherine becomes exultant but Edgar becomes uncomfortable and envious. Edgar has noticed that Heathcliff has become a polished gentlemen but has some barbarism in his eyes. Catherine and Nelly start to go to Wuthering Heights, where Heathcliff is staying, and Heathcliff also goes to Thrushcross Grange to return the favor. Catherine, tries to get the two most important men in life, Edgar and Heathcliff, to become friends but when that does not work out, she locks herself in her room for two days. She develops psychological insanity. In Foster’s book, a disease “should have some strong symbolic or metaphorical possibilities” (Foster 217). Catherine, she has a nervous breakdown from her the time she starves herself to the time she dies. Psychological insanity also means “insane” hence insanity and Catherine does not eat and all she ever talks about is death. Becoming an “insane” person means “in a state of mind from normal perception”

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