Power analysis

o What was the social or political atmosphere when the text was written and how might it influence the text? Who is/was the author? What’s their story and how might it influence the text? What other texts have they written? Generally speaking, what’s the context of the story?
o You will not need to summarize the text.
o Include zero to two pieces of biographical information about the author (at most).

 Try to make a popular culture connection that may help us understand the text better. I’ve had students liken the Black Lives Matters movement to Emerson’s tenets or see similarities between Black Mirror and a Jeanette Winterson novel. I often describe Regionalist writing (like Charles Chesnutt and Sarah Orne Jewett) as being like shows like The Wire.

 Create 4-6 Discussion Questions that you’ll pose to the class. They should not be Yes or No questions. They should not be, “wait so she was dating that guy in the hat, right?” type of plot clarifying questions. Make your peers dig for answers.

Sample questions:
• How does the historical and/or social context of the story inform a reading of “______”?
• How does this text conform to or diverge from literary conventions of its genre?
• Is this a typical “American” story? (You’ll need to define American in this case.)
• Does the text engage with gender, race, sexuality, or class? How so? If it does not, why not?
• What is the structure of the story and how does this affect the telling of “______”? (as in, does the story start at the beginning or the end? Or in the middle of things?)
• What point of view is the story told in and how does this affect the telling of the story? Why would the author choose to tell the story from this point of view?
• What are the character motivations? What is making a character do this or that?
• How does this text relate to others we’ve read in class? (You can make this more specific to a particular text, passage or sentence).
• What does this text say about the intersection of X and Y?
• Which scenes are most evocative for you? Why and how?
• How does the title relate to the story?

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