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How Vainly Men Themselves Amaze

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GUIDELINES TO INTERPRETING A STORY

1. Introduce the author and the title of the story. What is the story about? Try to answer in one sentence.

2. What is the genre of the story? (epistolary, a fragment from a novel, a play, a poem, a newspaper article, a short story, etc.) From whose point of view are the events presented? What type of narration is it? ( the text is wholly narrative, is a first person /a third person narration, the story is told from the point of view of.../perceived through the eyes of.../combines narration with description and elements of dialogue ) What effect is achieved by this type of narration in the given genre?

3. Comment on the composition of the story. What does the author gain from this particular composition? What distinct parts does the text fall into? What does each part describe/reveal/llustrate/present? Find the key sentense of each part. Prove the unity of each part both stylistically and pragmatically. If you are analyzing a complete piece of fiction trace the basic elements of the plot ( exposition, complication, climax, denouement ), provide the chain of events in short precise sentences in the present tense. Comment on the author’s arrangement of the elements of the plot with regard to the development of the conflict (external/internal, physical, psychological, moral, etc.).

4. What are your impressions of the characters? Give adjectives and prove your impression by quoting the text and commenting on the means used by the author to create/achieve this impression. Specify whether direct or indirect character drawing is chosen by the author.

5. What is the message of the story? Base your answer on the analysis of the characters and the title.

6. Comment on the cultural aspect of the story (Is the language British or American English? Prove your point of view). Provide some linguistic analysis.

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