The Sisters Brothers
The writing may be informal but the content must be analytic; that is, you should be trying to figure out something, break it down or relate it to your own
experience in a way that helps you better understand either the text or your own life.
Your reading wiki should function as a site for thinking about “reading for meaning”; what you are really doing here is using writing as a form of inquiry. If you
do a thoughtful job, your wiki will be a source of questions to ask the authors when they come, and cumulatively a record of your learning and rich source of ideas for
the final exam. It is important to remember that there are many interpretation and many possible meanings – there is no single ‘right’ answer. Every text
investigates a number of issues and concerns. Most works of literature are concerned with what it means to be human: what makes us tick? how do we behave? why?
To get started, here are a number of writing prompts:
1. Try to articulate the question/problem you think that the author is trying to work out, and then try to figure out how that question/problem affects the
characters in the narrative.
2. Choose a passage or a poem you want to examine closely and respond closely. (This involves using specific examples, phrases and interpreting their possible
If you’re not sure where to start, here is a list of things to consider – but, don’t forget that the list is endless, so feel free to add your own considerations.
The more you think about the text and its meaning, the more ideas it will suggest to you – since this is one of the earmarks of good literature:
• What are the central conflicts?
• What do you think they mean?
• How do you think the author wants you to understand the character(s)? Is the character someone you like or not? What do you think the author is getting at
be creating characters like this? Do the characters help you to better understand the idea you think the author might be getting at by writing the story or poem?
• How is the novel structured – interrupted, not interrupted, sequential or jumbled in time and place? How does this suggest meaning in the story/poem?
• Questions of voice and tone – how does the voice in which the story is told suggest meaning? What tone does the story/poem take? How does that contribute to
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