In close intelligent reading we need to do a great deal more than simply follow and judge immediately what characters do.
In many of the stories we read, for example, characters do things which, by modern standards, are odd, abhorrent, sexist, self-destructive, incomprehensible, or lunatic.
Your efforts will definitely show in the end results.
[This text, which has been prepared by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC, is in the public domain and may be used, in whole or in part, without permission and without charge, released May 2000] Some courses, particularly in Liberal Studies, Philosophy, and English, require argumentative essays about literature; that is, the assignments will call for an evaluative response in the form of an essay about another book.
This process of getting sympathetically involved in the fictional world is, of course, one of the major pleasures of reading stories.
Hence, our first entry into an intelligent appreciation of a fictional narrative will usually be a reaction to the characters.Reading Stories Once we begin to sense that the book we are reading is mainly a fictional narrative (i.e., a story), then, if our imagination is at all engaged with the world of the fiction, we will find ourselves to some extent in the position of a judge.We will be following the actions of certain people in particular places and situations, and we will almost certainly develop a distribution of sympathy for the characters (some we like, some we do not like).This type of essay defines a specific problem and presents a solution and convinces the reader that there is no other way the problem can be fixed.This type of essay is usually used to sell a specific product or service.Engaging in discussions and arguments about books (and other works) is a very common form of human interaction, something we routinely carry out for pleasure in our coffee and pub conversations or read about in the newspapers.It stems from a human desire to engage our imaginations in other people's visions of the world, to discuss them with others, and to evaluate them, especially in conversations.This task is difficult to carry out if you are not entirely clear what the essay is supposed to do.This section focuses, first, on that issue and, secondly, on various ways you can address the question of organizing a suitable argument.In order to judge the characters fairly (and, in the process to extend our own imaginative powers), we need to understand them.And that will require a good deal more than simply translating them from the text into our immediate world and applying criteria from the world around us.