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The Author's Perspective

Although you may never know a writer's viewpoint exactly, it is possible to understand the author's perspective better by considering the following factors:

  • the reading's thesis
  • the primary audience
  • the level of language
  • the author's reputation
  • the text's period

Fastwrite or talk with a classmate about a current reading assignment:

  • What do you think is the reading's thesis? What main point is made as the text begins and/or ends?
  • For what kind of readers do you think the author wrote this text? Do you think it is intended to be read, for example, by students, experts, or the general public? (For more on analyzing the audience, see the section on Argumentation).
  • Does the writer use common words or the specialized terms of a particular academic discipline? Does the level of language create clarity or confusion?
  • What do you know about the author? Is the writer widely recognized and cited by others? Does the reading begin with a biographical note or does the book end with information about the contributors?
  • When was this text published? What do you know about this period that can help you understand the reading?