Study S1 English English - Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions - Geniebook

Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions

In this chapter, we will be going through technique-based questions.

 

Understanding Authorial Intent

What is authorial intent to you?

- An author’s intent as encoded in their work

- No two people will interpret a text/film in exactly the same way. 

- Everyone will derive their own unique understanding of a particular literary work

- Hence, authorial intent plays a major role in our understanding of a text. It helps us to identify the motives and themes the writer is specifically trying to get across to the reader.

 

Identify these major literary works

 

What do you think the major themes, motives and reasons were?

What was the author’s purpose for writing the text?

Was there any moral to be imparted?

Authorial intent can be implicit or explicit.

Explicit: I am writing this to …… / This novel will discuss …..

However, in most fictional works, the authorial intent is implicit (implied).

As a discerning reader, you are required to read between the lines!

Let’s understand the above topics with the help of some examples:

 

How are such Questions phrased?

 

Question:

The text below depicts a discussion between a man and his stockbroker.

“I definitely will not put up with this. We have to sell!” Richard declared animatedly as he stepped on the gas; his perfectly slicked-back hair glistened as he dug his fingernails into the leather steering wheel. His eyeballs seemed to bulge as the prospect of losing a fortune in the impending stock market crash dawned on him. “I can no longer DEAL with this!” he shouted as he slammed the phone shut and hurled it viciously towards the backseat of his yellow Maserati coupe.

In the above conversation, why is ‘DEAL’ in block letters?

Answer:

It is capitalised to emphasise Richard's frustration/anxiety/vexation. 

 

Technique-based questions

Technique-based questions, while seldom tested, may appear to test a student's knowledge of what it takes to write an engaging narrative essay.

Writers vary their sentences or capitalise certain words to create effects in their writing.

Sentence length can greatly influence the tone/mood of the piece. If the writer is trying to show a moment of reflection, a long, leisurely sentence captures that sense of nostalgia.

If a character is in dire straits / mortal danger, shorter sentences can punctuate the sense of urgency.

 

Examples of Truncated sentences for effect/tension:

1) His blood turned cold.

2) I want this. Not that. Right now.

3) She turned white.

 

Use short sentences to create a punch and make a point. Sometimes, a message gets lost in a longer sentence. Short sentences can hence create suspense and tension. However, don’t abuse them and overuse them in your writing either!
 

Let’s understand the above topics with the help of some questions:

 

Question:

The text below describes a young girl who fell asleep while waiting for a judge in the courtroom.

“How can I help you today young lady?” A man’s deep voice roused me from my slumber. It was a strangely sympathetic voice. I rubbed my face and acknowledged the moustachioed judge standing in front of me. The courtroom was almost vacant.

“I want a divorce.”

What is the intention of the writer when she uses the one-sentence paragraph, “I want a divorce.”?

 

  1. The writer was feeling lazy.
  2. The writer wants to entertain the readers.
  3. The writer is trying to scare or the readers. 
  4. The writer is trying to astonish/shock/alarm readers/grab the attention of readers.

 

Answer:

D) The writer is trying to astonish/shock/alarm readers/grab the attention of readers.

 

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (D) i.e. the writer is trying to astonish/shock/alarm readers/grab the attention of readers.

The purpose of the writer is to grab the reader’s attention. By knowing the intention of the writer or knowing what effect the writer is trying to create, we will get to know the answer.

 

Question:

In the text below, the writer attempts to detail the challenges encountered when trying to transport animals from one country to another.

When you have a large variety of wildlife to deliver from one end of the world to the other, you cannot, as numerous people seem to presume, just load them aboard the nearest vessel and set off with a jolly wave of your hand. There is somewhat more to it than this. The first struggle is to find a shipping company willing to transport animals. Most shipping folk flinch and grow pale at the mere mention of the words ‘animal cargo’. They get vivid mental images of the captain being mauled on the bridge by a Siberian tiger, the first officer being slowly suffocated in the coils of a Boa constrictor, while the passengers are pursued throughout the ship by an army of revolting and lethal creatures of various species. Shipping people, all things considered, seem to be of the opinion that you want to travel on one of their ships for the sole purpose of releasing all the animals which you have spent eight long months collecting.

The excerpt makes frequent reference to "you". What is the writer’s intention in doing so?

  1. The writer wants to get to know the reader better
  2. The writer is trying to personally involve the reader / establish rapport with the reader.
  3. The writer is trying to create suspense
  4. The writer is trying to admonish readers

Answer:

B) The writer is trying to personally involve the reader / establish rapport with the reader.

 

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (B).

Whenever we see the word “you” one of the common reasons for using “you” is to personally involve the reader or establish rapport with the reader.

By directly addressing the reader, it allows readers to envisage themselves in the scenario that is being described, thereby enabling readers to relate to what the writer is saying.

Hence, readers get drawn into the information presented as it becomes more relevant to them.

 

Question:

The text below describes Rosa, a child from a poor family.

Rosa wakes up to the sound of creatures scurrying inside the wall behind her head. Rats and mice and cats have burrowed tunnels through the dried clay, scavenging for food scraps. She is always searching for food scraps too. At the moment, it is hours before breakfast but her belly is already rumbling. She thinks of her dream. She had a sumptuous meal – rice, roasted meat and watermelon. Loud clucking noises disrupt her train of thought. The chickens are hungry now too. She can hear them outside, waiting for feed.

“Rats and mice and cats have burrowed tunnels through the dried clay, scavenging for food scraps.”

In the given sentence, why does the writer use “and” consecutively?

 

  1. The writer is running out of ideas.
  2. The writer is trying to be creative
  3. The writer does not know how to use punctuation properly
  4. The writer wants to highlight that there were many animals digging holes into Rosa’s house

 

Answer:

D) The writer wants to highlight that there were many animals digging holes into Rosa’s house

 

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (D). 

The repeated use of “and” creates a run-on line that draws attention to the animals mentioned.

 

Question:

The text below depicts a scene at the circus.

The crowd gasped in horror as the burly man was flung off his saddle like a rag doll. Panic in the circus surged as it trampled over him with its hind legs. Under the immense weight of the bull, he struggled helplessly. His body finally rolled to a stop when a tranquiliser gun was used to incapacitate the savage bull. The man twitched uncontrollably for a few moments before becoming motionless. His knees were bent at an unnatural angle as he lay in a pool of blood. "RUN towards the nearest exit!" an audience member yelled. Unable to handle the ghastly sight before me, I burst into tears.

In the above excerpt, why is ‘RUN’ in block letters?

 

  1. It is capitalised to highlight the bull’s sharp horns
  2. It is capitalised to emphasise the strength of the bull
  3. It is capitalised to emphasise the sense of urgency to escape from the dangerous situation
  4. It is capitalise to show that the bull meant business

 

Answer:

C) It is capitalised to emphasise the sense of urgency to escape from the dangerous situation

 

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (C).

The use of capital letters grabs the reader's attention and conveys a sense of urgency/desperation.

It underscores the importance of leaving the scene as quickly as possible.

 

Question:

The text below depicts the writer's struggles in getting around a new surrounding.

I felt like an alien. Upon my arrival, the unknown territory greeted me with an air of hostility. It was hard to get to my hotel as the signs were written in a language not known to me. I spent close to forty minutes walking around in circles aimlessly, until a kind stranger offered her help. Pointing me in the right direction, I trudged up the rocky paths while lugging my heavy suitcase behind me. To make matters worse, the alleyways resembled a maze. Before long I lost my bearings once more, and felt a gnawing anxiety. It crept up from my stomach, slowly and steadily.

What effect is the writer trying to create by beginning the paragraph with the sentence “I felt like an alien”?

  1. The writer is trying to show how he had superpowers
  2. The writer is trying to convey how unfamiliar the surroundings are to him
  3. The writer wants to bewilder his reader
  4. The purpose is to add humour into the text

 

Answer:

B) The writer is trying to convey how unfamiliar the surroundings are to him

 

Explanation:

The correct answer is Option (B) i.e. “I felt like an alien” depicts that the writer is trying to convey how unfamiliar the surroundings are to him.

 

Test Your Concepts

Answer the following questions based on the concepts we’ve covered in this article. If you get stuck, revisit the relevant section to revise the concepts.

 

Question:

The text below depicts a scene where the writer is in a crematorium.

It was the day my grandaunt exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Horace silently snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I realised that it always seemed to be death that brought me back to Aberdeenshire.

What effect is the writer trying to create by starting the paragraph with the sentence “It was the day my grandaunt exploded”?

 

  1. The writer intends to scare off his or her readers.
  2. The writer is not in the right state of mind.
  3. The writer is trying to get the reader’s attention by being hilarious.
  4. The writer is trying to grab the reader's attention with an intriguing introduction.

 

Question:

The text below depicts John's encounter with the polka-dotted vase.

Suddenly, John caught sight of a polka-dotted vase staring back at him. As he edged closer, a strange event happened. 

Each polka-dot was like a black eye observing him. They moved and followed his every gesture. 

John stopped short. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

What effect is the writer trying to create by ending the excerpt with short sentences, "John stopped short. He couldn't believe his eyes"?

 

  1. The writer is emphasising the weirdness of the situation.
  2. The writer is trying to instil fear in his readers
  3. The writer wants to flummox his readers
  4. The writer uses short sentences to heighten the dramatic effect
Continue Learning
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Comprehension Skills (Inferential Questions)
Continuous Writing: Personal Recount Continuous Writing - Expository
Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions) Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Dialogue Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Summary Writing Skills Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) - Flowchart Questions
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Unusual & Effective Questions Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) Direct Questions
Editing Comprehension Skills - Referencing Questions
Comprehension Skills - Direct Recall Of Relevant Material, Paraphrasing Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices Irony
Summary Writing Situational Writing - Formal Letter of Complaint
Comprehension Skills - Language Arts Comprehension Skills - Vocabulary-based Questions
Comprehension Skills - Identifying Relevant Linguistic Expression Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions
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Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text)
Comprehension Skills (Inferential Questions)
Continuous Writing: Personal Recount
Continuous Writing - Expository
Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions)
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Dialogue Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Summary Writing Skills
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) - Flowchart Questions
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Unusual & Effective Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) Direct Questions
Editing
Comprehension Skills - Referencing Questions
Comprehension Skills - Direct Recall Of Relevant Material, Paraphrasing
Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices
Irony
Summary Writing
Situational Writing - Formal Letter of Complaint
Comprehension Skills - Language Arts
Comprehension Skills - Vocabulary-based Questions
Comprehension Skills - Identifying Relevant Linguistic Expression
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions
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