Reading Questions

We talked about these questions in class last week. It’s a good idea to keep them in mind as you read for this course (or any course). They’ll help you get a handle on the motives of the writers–and help you think more about your own motives when you write. Sometimes I’ll ask you to think about these questions explicitly, but you should try to have them in the back of your mind when you read anything for the course.

How would you describe the writer’s audience?

What are the writer’s motives with regard to this audience?

Where would you position yourself relative to that audience?

How would you evaluate the writer’s success relative to the goals you mentioned?

What’s your favorite element of the text? Your least favorite?

Did the text challenge or change the way you think in any way?


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2 Responses to Reading Questions

  1. Jason Tougaw says:

    It depends on the text. Most novels are aimed a general readership: anybody who’s interested. Usually, a work of literary criticism is aimed at a narrower one: students of literature, literature professors, etc.; an article in a scientific journal is aimed at scientists, usually in a particular field. But a neurobiologist might write a book translating research for a wider audience. None of this is absolute, of course. There’s no single right answer. But it’s a good question to consider.

  2. charm2 says:

    I’m trying to own describing the writer’s audience.
    Is the intended audience who I imagine the writer had in mind when writing the piece? I can imagine a writer’s motives but grasping the audience a bit transitory.

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