Mortimer Adler “How to Mark a Book”

Mortimer Adler “How to Mark a Book”

The most effective strategy that Mortimer Adler entitles in his essay “How to Mark a Book” is the comparing of similarities between objects and ideas that are not usually associated with each other, otherwise known as an analogy. Adler begins his essay by stating that “Full ownership [of a book] comes only when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it is by writing in it.”(42). Adler is explaining to the reader that you must take the time to let yourself become entrapped in the book. He infers that you can only attain the eternal meaning of a book by making notes of what you read. He continues to declare that marking in a book is necessary by using this metaphor: “You buy a beefsteak and transfer it from the butcher’s ice-box to your own. But you do not own the beefsteak in the most important sense until you consume it and get it into your bloodstream.”(43)This quote is very important in Adler’s analytical strategy to inform the reader of the importance of owning a book because in this metaphor Adler gives vivid details of how a book should be ingested. By comparing a book to a beefsteak the reader gets a clarified example of how important it is to obtain all the details of what you read. Adler goes on to remark on how “the soul of a book can be separated from its body.”(43) Here Alder gives books life like qualities by inferring that books have souls. Adler uses this analogy to be sure that the reader understands that a book is more then just pages of paper covered in words, but it is key to someone’s thoughts and feelings. Mortimer Adler’s analytical strategy seems to be the most effective throughout his writing. By using many different metaphors and similes he helps to explain to the reader his points of marking a book….


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