English 101 JHU Reading and A

Please read the article and answer these questions, please explain your answers in depth using references and other things from the article.

What is the subject?

  • Does the subject bring up any personal associations? Is it a controversial one?


What is the thesis (the overall main point)?

  • How does the thesis interpret the subject? If asked, could you summarize the main idea?


Who is the intended audience?

  • What values and/or beliefs do they hold that the writer could appeal to?


What is the tone of the text?

  • What is your reaction to the text, emotional or rational (think of pathos)? Does this reaction change at all throughout the text?


What is the writer’s purpose?

  • To explain? Inform? Anger? Persuade? Amuse? Motivate? Sadden? Ridicule? Attack? Defend?
  • Is there more than one purpose? Does the purpose shift at all throughout the text?


What methods does the writer use to develop his/her ideas?

  • Narration? Description? Definition? Comparison? Analogy? Cause and Effect? Example?
  • Why does the writer use these methods? Do these methods help in his/her development of ideas?


What pattern does the author use for the arrangement of ideas?

  • Particular to general, broad to specific, spatial, chronological, alternating, or block?
  • Does the format enhance or detract from the content? Does it help the piece along or distract from it?


Does the writer use adequate transitions to make the text unified and coherent?

  • Do you think the transitions work well? In what ways do they work well?


Are there any patterns in the sentence structure that make the writer’s purpose clear to you?

  • What are these patterns like if there are some? Does the writer use any fragments or run-on sentences?


Is there any dialog and/or quotations used in the text?

  • To what effect? For what purpose is this dialog or quotations used?


In what way does the writer use diction?

  • Is the language emotionally evocative? Does the language change throughout the piece? How does the language contribute to the writer’s aim?


Is there anything unusual in the writer’s use of punctuation?

  • What punctuation or other techniques of emphasis (italics, capitals, underlining, ellipses, parentheses) does the writer use?
  • Is punctuation over- or under-used? Which marks does the writer use where, and to what effect?


Are there any repetitions of important terms throughout the text?

  • Are these repetitions effective, or do they detract from the text?


Does the writer present any particularly vivid images that stand out?

  • What is the effect of these images on the writer’s purpose?


Are there any tropes–similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, comparisons, contrasts, etc. that are employed by the writer?

  • When does he/she use them? For what reason(s)? Are those devices used to convey or enhance meaning?


Are there any other devices such as humor, wordplay, irony, sarcasm, understatement, or parody that are used in the text?

  • Is the effect comic relief? Pleasure? Hysteria? Ridicule?


Is there any information about the background of the writer?

  • Is the writer an acceptable authority on the subject? How do you know?

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