SparkNotes Blog

10 Questions That Will Seriously Impress Your English Teacher

Even when you’ve dutifully read the book AND the SparkNote (honest to Mom, they’re not mutually exclusive), sometimes you need a little extra inspiration to ace the all-important—and sometimes terrifying—participation portion of your classes. If you think about these 10 questions while you’re reading, and pose them in discussions, you’re guaranteed to score some smartie-points with your teacher.

 

1. What are the dynamics between the novel’s characters?

2. Do the characters learn about themselves or does their awareness focus on how the world works and their role in it?

3. Are the characters’ actions justified?

4. Do the characters live within any moral constraints or boundaries? Does the book give any indications of the basis for this morality?

5. What is the novel’s turning point?

6. Why did the author choose to tell the story continuously ~or~ with interlocking short stories?

7. What is the scale of the book’s universe? Is it focused on the lives of a few characters living in their own world or does the novel place individual lives against the backdrop of a national event? (Then ask if this hinders or helps plot and character development!)

8. What is the effect of the author’s decision to narrate in first, second, or third person point of view?

9. Is it possible to determine whether the author had an agenda while writing this book?

10. Are there worldviews that the book deliberately seeks to advocate or call into question? Is there a moral of the story?