Questions to ask yourself before you turn in a response to literature…

Did I chronicle MY thoughts while I was reading?

Do I write using my own voice, but remember my audience? (Not too casual-IM language etc, but not trying to sound pretentious maybe by using sophisticated synonyms that Word gives me when I right click).

Does my writing sound natural? Does it flow in a way that reflects my thinking?

In chronicling my thoughts as I read, did I question why I thought what I thought?

Do I waste time summarizing what happened in the section? ( This might be VERY disappointing to my teacher and all of my English teachers at SWHS who have strived to improve my responses to literature.)

Did I divide my work into paragraphs?

Just because the page stopped, did I stop? Do your ideas stop because you run out of room on the page????

Did I support my reaction with examples and or key lines?

Speaking of key lines, If I used a key line did I introduce it and put it in context, put it in quotations, cite the page number, and then discuss the actual words in the key line WITHOUT using phrases like “this shows,” “ this illustrates,” or other similarly cliché phrases?

Do I question the text AND then explore the possible answers to my questions even if I don’t agree with them?

Do I connect my responses to the ideas we have been discussing class?

Do I use notes / ideas from class discussions to further my thinking when I read the next section of the text?

Do I connect with the text in a meaningful way? In doing this, do I imagine what I would do in various characters’ situations?

Do I include a variety of connections (text to self, text to world, text to text)?

Are these connection meaningful or do they read like this: “I like this book because the father wants to be a great man and I look up to great men like Abraham Lincoln.” You may laugh, but I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t read these sorts of things in essays.

Are my reactions general or literal? OR do I look for meaning beyond what is printed on the page?

Do I address figurative language, motifs, allusions, symbols, and themes?

Do I think about the author’s choices?

  • Why might he/she use particular words? Why is the text crafted or organized in a particular way? Why did he choose to make his characters do or think the things that they do?

If relevant, do I think about the historical perspective of both the story and the author and the implications that might have for the insights that the text presents?