Wednesday, November 30, 2011
“Count on Crows” (some questions)
A) Describe this text. Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Who wrote it? In what magazine or on what website did it appear? When? How many paragraphs?
B) Describe the first sentence of this piece? On what does it depend for its effectiveness?
C) Describe the vivid visual and auditory imagery in the first paragraph. What purpose does it serve?
D) At what point might the reader decide that this is not exactly realistic fiction? If it’s not realistic, then what is it? How does one describe it?
E) In what way does the content of the second paragraph contradict itself? Explain. What does this reveal about the crows? About the narrator?
F) Describe the content and the language register of the third and fourth paragraph? In what context might such language appear? Describe the effect of using this type of language to discuss the crows.
G) Paragraphs 5 and 6 (and again quite notably paragraph 9) seem to be an effort on the part of the narrator to try to convince himself of something as much as to convince the reader. Explain. What might the narrator have doubts about? Is it the reader reassured by these efforts?
H) Review your answers above and characterize the narrator. What label would you apply to his professional role? His services? What kind of person might he be? What can we infer about his values and goals?
I) One reader described the imagery in paragraph 7 as “haunting.” Why might this be a good description? Why is the imagery in this paragraph so effective?
J) Some readers describe the last paragraphs, (or this whole piece) as dark and ominous. Are these descriptions accurate? What details support this assessment?
K) What if this whole piece were read as a fable or parable? What might the relationship between the crows and the narrator represent? What, in other words, is this text saying figuratively?
L) Now use the best insights from your answers to the above questions and compose a two or three paragraph response to this text.