How to Read Literature Like a Professor and House of the Spirits

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In “How to Read Literature Like a Professor,” Thomas C. Foster, the author, explains that geography is not a matter of rivers, valleys, mountains, plains, hills, swamps, etc. When looking at geography, Foster wants readers to see that there is an internal part of geography; the part that matters. “Geography is setting, but it’s also (or can be) psychology, attitude, finance, industry-anything that place can forge in the people who live there” (Foster pg 166). In “House of the Spirits,” by Isabel Allende, the city and the country side are the two main places where everything takes place. “Geography can define or even develop a character” (Foster pg 167). Starting from the beginning of the novel, Allende introduces Esteban Trueba, one of the main characters of the novel. Before Esteban Trueba goes off to Tres Marias, he worked in a desert up North as a miner in order to earn money for Rosa’s love. The desert is the first geographical landscape that constructs Esteban Trueba’s character. It shows that he is willing to go through lots of stuggle in order to achieve his goal. Once he found out the bad news of Rosa’s untimely death “he had a vision of anger spreading through him like a malignant tumor, sullying the best hours of his life” (Allende pg 36). Trueba decided to leave to the countryside after Rosa’s death. Heading south indicates that Trueba is “digging deep into his own subconscious,” (Foster pg 170) trying to escape the city and all the bad memories he has there. “Literary geography is typically about humans inhabiting spaces, and at the same time the spaces that inhabit humans” (Foster pg 166). In “The House of the Spirits” the space the characters inhabit is a South American country which the author never specifies which, but with Allende’s background, readers can infer that the country is Chile. South America in general is a third world country in

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