Read Literature Like a Professor.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor?

Interpreting Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays is undoubtedly a fun task to do. Every book lover wants to read the early modern English and get a glimpse of medieval era walking the story with action-driven characters. Drama and Vocabulary are the best part of English Literature. It must have been super exciting to be there in the Shakespearean era. Alas! We missed being in that era but can surely live the feel by reading literature of yesteryear.

When reading a classic literature novel you might find strong themes placed in between lessons. If you Google your way back to the time period the book was written it, guess what you’ll find? Do you know that literary texts are much influenced by the political conditions, the social circumstances of the place, and its people? Connections between history and the literature written in that period are so amazing. Writers included political activities and other major events of those times to portray the actual reality of the period. So, in a way, you can study a little bit of history through literature. Isn’t that cool!

Likewise, if you stumble upon a book a few years later from now, originally written in 2020. You might find references and connections to the deadly Corona virus or other significant events of 2020 that forced an impact change.

But literature is not just reading the text vaguely and writing answers in the examination. To read and understand literature as an enthusiastic reader, you should know how to read literature like a professor.

You don’t want to be reading like those grumpy professors who are better at sleeping in the class than teaching. But the ones who are insightful and understand the intricacies of literature, with qualities almost like Al-bus Dumbledore. He is the smartest professor at Hogwarts. Incredible, isn’t it?

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Let’s see what it takes to read literature like a professor.

  • An Eye for Details

A well-versed literature professor wouldn’t just read the lines but also read between them. He will put his heart and eyes to the novel and also might figure out the ending before-hand, all thanks to the little yet significant details students usually ignore.

Finding the nuances and catching the tone and mood of the writer makes reading literature a profound experience. Much of the psychology we learn for a successful life, such as understanding human behavior and humans, in general, comes invariably from reading good literature. So many benefits of being a literature lover!

Reading like a professor demands passionate indulgence in the story line, in the intentions of the characters, slight drift in moods, the introduction of another theme, and so on. To read literature well, you need to be focused on finding out the details that might slip away from the corner of your eye. You don’t need to know it all but enough to understand the purpose and idealization of the novel.

So the next time you are studying American literature, classic poems, and prose, Virginia Woolf’s essays or any novel from the vast array of English literature, try to find out the significant points and read with a little more focus than usual. Don’t worry; you’ll like it.

You will feel a rush of fulfillment coming to you once you put down the book. The details will help you get a good sense of what you read, it will show you how it resonates with the time period, and also what did your favorite character meant by that particular dialogue. With details comes a powerful understanding.

In reading literature, skimming is just a useless trick to learn quickly, but if you really want to read and amaze your tutors, catching the details is the key. Also, a bonus point – you can score better grades because now you will know the exact and precise answers to the questions asked. What can beat that?

  • Wake Up the Critic Inside You

Another essential thing to remember is to look at the text critically. No, you don’t want to tear open the pages and look for some critical information. You need to be able to judge the storyline, characters, and themes of the text. Judgments are appreciated quite a lot in the world of literature, unlike reality.

To read literature like a professor, you should be able to appreciate or analyze the text critically. Take notes of all the crucial aspects of the prose, its setting, characterization, plot, theme, conflict, and climax. When analyzing, you also get to answer the question – is the plot reasonable? What and which writing elements have the writer used in the story? Why is one character cleverer than all others?

It is fun to answer such questions, but remember to think about them from a critical point of view. Your answers should not be incomplete and shallow but must be supported with logical arguments. If you think character B is merely stupid not to have seen what’s coming for him, provide a reason for why do you think so? Studying literature is like entering into new worlds every day, make it fun and intellectual.

  • Enhance the Vocabulary

Almost like Shakespeare would say so! Professors tend to know plenty of words, their meanings, and their inferences. For you to become a voracious reader like them amp up your vocabulary. You can genuinely master your English vocabulary and make it easier to read text pieces.

Students tend to skim away the tricky paragraphs which have words complicated than Math. But just as Napoleon Hill said, “Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.” You must face your vocabulary fear head-on. Dramatic much? Well, we are talking about literature; dramatic is the least we can do.


Befriend useful vocabulary, understand their meanings well, and do not be afraid of big, complicated words. You might as well beat your professor by knowing more words than him, but the real game begins when you know the meaning and usage. Play smart and fair by learning your vocabulary wisely.

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