Choosing and Refining Topics

Essays Responding to or Interpreting Texts

Students are often asked to respond to or interpret essays, articles, books, stories, poems, and a variety of other texts. Sometimes your instructor will ask you to respond to one particular reading, other times you will have a choice of class readings, and still other times you will need to choose a reading on your own.

If you are given a choice of texts to respond to or to interpret, it is a good idea to choose one which is complex enough to hold your interest in the process of careful examination. It is not necessarily a problem if you do not completely understand a text on first reading it. What matters is that it challenges, intrigues, and/or evokes response from you in some way.

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Introduction