Excerpt from “A Sketch of the Past” by Virginia Woolf
Directions: Answer the questions in the following format using short paragraph answers. Please leave your answers in the outline format. Cut-and-paste the outline format into a document, then simply type your answers into the outline. 1. What is the main idea, or thesis, you feel the writer is advancing. HINT: It will likely not be an obvious, single sentence. You will likely have to paraphrase it in a few sentences. 2. Interesting thought the writer uses to address his/her topic: a) Identify a specific idea the writer uses to address his/her topic that caught your attention. b) Explain that idea in your own language. c) Why do you think the writer is using this idea to advance his/her main idea? 3. Curious language (words and phrases you find unique, confusing, and/or worth mentioning): a) Choose three (3) words and/or phrases, then explain each with a definition. b) Write a brief note how understanding the word or phrase helped you understand the larger idea(s) in the essay. 4. Names of people mentioned in the reading, if any, important to the ideas in the writing. a) What makes the person mentioned important to the idea(s) in the writing? b) What specifically about the person, or his or her ideas, is significant to the direct meaning of the paragraph in which you found the person? 5. Background information: a) Name a specific piece of background information that you feel is important to know about the author as it relates to the reading. b) What is significant about this piece of information in regards to the idea(s) in the writing. 6. Critical thinking questions: a) Describe Woolf’s attitude toward memoir writing. What conflict(s) does she reveal about writing about her life? b) What do you think she means when she writes of “lying in a grape and seeing through a film of semi-transparent yellow”? What is the significance of that metaphor? c) What is your first memory that you can recall from your childhood? What first image is it that you recall?