Lesson Plan - Get It!
- Have you ever heard that there are three sides to every story?
There's one person's side, another person's side, and the truth. Everyone has a perspective, or their own way of viewing things.
Let's explore how to figure out an author's perspective in a book or story, and how that can influence the reader.
Grab a novel, and let's start figuring out the author's perspective!
(Suggested Reading can be found in the right-hand sidebar.)
Some questions to think about as you read:
- What words or phrases does the author use to present the information?
- What word pictures does the author paint for the reader?
- What opinions or belief statements are evident in the book?
- Why do you think the author has these particular opinions?
- What evidence does the author include to support his or her opinions?
A perspective is a particular attitude or way of considering a matter. The author's perspective is the way the author looks at a topic or the ideas being described. It reveals the author's beliefs, personal judgments, and attitudes toward a certain subject.
There are devices that authors use to reveal their beliefs. These devices include:
Choice of words
Read the following passage from The Door in the Wall by Maguerite de Angeli:
June passed, and the days lengthened into summer. The plague had died out, but with its going went many of the people of London, even some of the monks. Once more the monastery kept its usual round of service to God and humanity.
- Can you tell by her choice of words in the last sentence what she thinks of the monks and their work?
- Could you rewrite that sentence to show a more negative view of the monk's work?
Here's how Anna Sewell describes the countryside where the main character in her book, Black Beauty, grew up:
The first place I can remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side, we looked into a plowed field, and on the other w looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside. At the top of the meadow was a plantation of fir trees, and at the bottom there was a swiftly running brook, overhung by a steep bank.
- How does the description of this home reveal the author's perspective on country life?
- If she were more of a "city person" and thought the country a boring, messy place, would she have written the description of it like that?
In Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, how does Fern react to Wilbur the pig being moved to her uncle's farm?
Fern came almost every day to visit him. She found an old milking stool that had been discarded, and she placed the stool in the sheepfold next to Wilbur's pen. Here she sat quietly during the long afternoons, thinking and listening and watching Wilbur....All the animals trusted her, she was so quiet and friendly.
- What is the author trying to tell us about Charlotte from these actions?
What's included in the story as well as what isn't included
Authors make many choices when writing a book. The characters, descriptions, actions, and ideas they include all tell us something about the point they're trying to make.
You could also say that what's left out of the story is also a clue to the author's viewpoint. For example, if one particular character is not described much, or doesn't do much in the book, we might conclude that author didn't consider that character a very important part of the story.
So, everything the author does (or doesn't) write about can be a clue to his or her perspective!
When you are ready, continue on to the Got It? section to listen to and examine some stories.