First, really quick, we’ll have our violence folks present. As they all told us (thanks everyone), Foster basically says there are two types of violence:
• Character vs. Character violence
• Violence the author inflicts on characters (accidents, murders, etc.)
For both types of violence, there is MEANINGFUL violence (carries symbolic weight) and MEANINGLESS violence (like a dead body in a murder mystery).
For either type of violence, when you see it in something you’re reading, consider these questions:
- What does this TYPE of misfortune mean thematically, symbolically, metaphorically?
- What famous/mythic death or violence does this esemble?
- Wthy THIS violence and not some other
NOTE: When a violent act in literature is an intimate activity, that’s especially meaningful. Of course we don’t mean “intimate” in a positive way, but in a literal way: it involves blood and spit and skin-on-skin contact and fragments of someone’s tooth or fingernail. There are very few other places/times in our lives we are that close to another person!