- Select an essay from chapter 11 and identify the author’s thesis. That is, what is the author’s claim or argument? How does the author develop the thesis? What reasons or types of evidence do they provide to support their claims? Which of their reasons do you find most compelling? How does the essay’s structure convey the author’s point?
- How would you describe the author’s persona? How does the writer create this persona? What is the essay’s tone? What words, phrases, or images contribute to the tone? How do the author’s persona and the essay’s tone contribute to the author’s purpose and/or the essay’s overall impact?
- How does the author’s argument relate to our world today? Do you agree or disagree (or both) with the author’s claim(s)? Why? What personal experiences have you had that support your position?
Knowing about the author can help you better understand the story as you read and analyze it. I want you to answer the following questions in essay format to start you off with a background before you read the story.
1. Summarize the facts of the author’s birth, family and social position, main gifts or handicaps, education, and entry into writing.
2. Describe briefly, with dates, the more important of the author’s earlier works, giving special attention to the work immediately preceding the story under study.
3. What specific circumstances led the author to write this story? To what extent did she/he depart from the sort of fiction she/he had written up to this point? What persons, events, or other autobiographical materials does this story reflect, and with what modifications? What account of her/his inspirations and problems with this story did the author provide through letters, prefaces, journals, and the like?
4. By focusing upon sample details of this story, show how this biographical information (questions 1 and 3) helps to explain the design of the work.
5. What main features of social tension or stability in his/her own times did the author treat in this story? (e. g, ideology, war, economics, technology, daily life, etc.)? Explain, using both this story and such outside sources as personal statements by the author, histories of the period, etc.
6. By focusing upon sample details of the story, show how this historical information (question 5) helps to explain the design of the story.
7. What authors, literary circles, or movements did the present author support, attack, imitate, join, or depart from? Why?