Questions About Literature

Think about how babies learn.

First, they put things in their mouths and decide if it's bad or good, icky or yummy. They learn words by imitating the sounds they hear. When we ask them questions, they "answer" us: "Where's your nose?" They point. Then, they start all the questions. Why? Why? Why? Even as babies we want to know why? How?


"There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before."

Willa Cather,
O Pioneers

Reader Response Questions

Some of these questions are from You Gotta Be the Book by Jeffrey Wilhelm

Remember, you must use one of these questions as a foundation for forming your own opinion about your novel. This opinion (your thesis) needs proof. Show us why and how what you say is true by giving solid evidence from the book (prove your point).

  1. What is happening in your book right now and what do you imagine will happen next? Why do you think so? (Note: A two sentence summary to set the background is all that you need for this prompt. From then on, you should be arguing your thesis, proving your opinion about what will happen next. If you are writing 200 words just telling what's happening, that's a summary).
  2. How is the character like anyone you know or even like you?
  3. What information did the author leave out? What's happening behind the words or scenes? How did you make things more complete?
  4. What other works have you read that are similar in some way to this one? What sticks out as the most important connection between the two?
  5. Which of your friends should read this book? What do you think he or she would like about it? Why?
  6. Was there anything you didn't understand in this book? What was it and why didn't you understand it? What would help you make more sense of it?
  7. What idea was the author trying to explore in this work? How important is that idea?
  8. Who was telling the story? Does it make a difference? What if someone else were telling it?
  9. Do you agree with how the author sees the world?  In what ways?
  10. How do you feel about the way the story was told? Is there anything you enjoyed or were irritated with about the way the book is written?
  11. What do you feel is the most significant passage/word/event from the book? Why?
  12. Was the fictional world of your book realistic or easy to relate to? If not, what changes would you make in setting, plot, or character to make the book fit your ideas about life and the world.
  13. Would your mom or dad like this book? Why or why not? Give specific reasons, citing events, characters' actions, themes, etc. from the book to support your claim.
  14. Is there an object or place in your book that stands for something else? If so, that is a symbol. Why is that symbol important?
  15. Dramatic irony is when you know something a character doesn't know. What do you know that a character does not?


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