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Humanities Libertexts

3.6: Author Analysis

  • Page ID
    7143
  • This is the third section of a long critical analysis. Writing about the author will include these patterns:

    Pattern 1: Biographical Information

    Pattern 2: Social Information

    Pattern 3: Literary Information

    First, read the prompts on the following pages. Notice that most of them call for information that you can't possibly know. You will have to look for that information in outside sources. Start with some links. Remember, most authors have web pages devoted to their work (some living have their own actual page). The following statement is critical:

    Note

    Record all sources, and you must get all of the following that is available for that source: who said it, where (in what source) it was said, and when it was said (see MLA documenting sources).

    Biographical Information

    Answer as many of the following prompts about your author as possible:

    Prompts

    1. How did the author's childhood and family interactions affect his writing?
    2. What in the author's life created or contributed to the author's opinion?
    3. How did the author's education affect his or her beliefs?
    4. How did the author's life experiences affect his or her beliefs?
    5. Did the author practice what he or she preached?
    6. How does the author define an issue?
    7. What was the author's background?
    8. Who or what does the author compare the central issue with?
    9. How does the author classify events, things, or issues?
    10. What were the author's opinions on related and unrelated topics?

    Generally, you will find much information about authors. Ask your instructor, a librarian, or writing center personnel about where to find such information if you need some help.

    Social Information

    Answer as many of the following prompts about your author as possible:

    Prompts

    1. What social situations does this work describe or address?
    2. What is the author's attitude toward men and women?
    3. What social events in childhood affected the author's thinking?
    4. What types or type of group did he or she belong to?
    5. What was acceptable and unacceptable in the society?
    6. What effects do social institutions have on the writing? (marriage, children, parenting, government, church)
    7. What specific social areas did he or she address?
    8. Should society act like this? And why do we?
    9. Are we a product of our social surroundings?
    10. What solutions are suggested?

    Literary Information

    Note

    The following prompts apply primarily to authors of LITERARY selections; these questions do NOT generally apply to non-fiction or academic articles.

    Answer as many of the following prompts about your author as possible:

    Prompts

    1. Who is the author's audience?
    2. Who is being written for?
    3. What is the author's attitude toward men?
    4. What is the author's attitude toward women?
    5. Did the gender of the author have an effect on this work?
    6. Is the author's attitude toward the "non-audience" gender-biased?
    7. What male conventions exist in the text?
    8. What activities, emotions, values are privileged in this text?
    9. Does the reader react to the work depending on the gender of the author?
    10. Does the author condescend?
    11. Does the author feel it is necessary to "explain" his or her more profound thoughts?
    12. Does the author assume his or her reader will automatically disagree?
    13. Does the author pretend to a relevance, an attitude, or an awareness he or she does not possess?
    14. Is there pressure from the author for the reader to conform to the author's social standards?
    15. Does the writer feel he or she is excluded justly or unjustly because of social, racial, or ethical discrimination?
    16. Is there a physical, emotional, or intellectual deviation from the normal severe enough to have colored the author's view?
    17. Are the deviations severe enough to have made the author's viewpoint distinctively different from others?
    18. Has an emotional or physical trauma resulted in an altered viewpoint?
    19. Does the presence of physical or emotional trauma-oriented disturbance validate or invalidate the author's work for the general public?
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