General Question Examples for Responses
- Describe a specific character. Is s/he static or dynamic (in other words does s/he remain the same or change throughout the story) and why? What is the significance of the characters' names? Is the character an archetype for a 'kind' of person (villian, hero, comic relief, etc.)?
- Where does this story take place? Why is this setting (time, place, social context) important to the plot (the basic events in the story)? How would the plot be different if the setting was modified?
- What is the narrative point of view? Is it first person (told form an 'I' point of view), second person (told from a 'you' point of view), or third person ('he, she, they' point of view--also omniscient, limited omniscient, editorial omniscient, neutral omniscient)? How does this point of view affect the story? How would the story be different if the point of view changed? Is there any twist on the point of view narration? Is the narrator reliable; why or why not?
- What are important themes (recurrent subject matter or central idea of the story i.e. freedom) in this reading and how are they represented? Why are these themes significant and worth discussing?
- Are there any recurring symbols you notice? What might they stand for? How does the symbol connect to the 'thing' it is standing in for?
- What literary devices are used (metaphors, similes, metonymy, allusions, flashbacks, foreshadowing, defamiliarization (making the common uncommon), irony, hyperbole/understatement, epiphany, personification, sensory imagery, diction (word usage), word play, tone, style, etc.)? How are they used, and why are they significant?
- Note anything else of interest that is significant in discussing the text. How is it pertinent to today? How does the story affect you personally (avoid simple "I like/don't like this story"-type discussions—try to make your statements and observations of significance)? Does the text shed light on the way women are viewed at that time? Does the text reveal important historical events, problems, or other considerations? Does the author's autobiography help with an interpretation? Are there interesting psychological insights of the text? Does the form of the story mirror its content in any way? How does your own frame of reference (gender, socio-economic standing, race, etc.) affect the way you read and interpret the story? What new ideas did you think of while reading this text?