Attributes of Good Reading

Vladimir Nabokov, novelist, essayist, and professor of literature, challenged his Cornell University students in an introductory literature course to think about the attributes most essential for effective reading of literature. In Lectures on Literature, he shares the list of ten attributes he presents to his students, from which they are instructed to select the four they find most essential to good reading.

In this first Critical Response paper, students compose a minimum three-page response identifying four of the following ten attributes as essential for good reading of our first story, “Longing for America” (in Files folder “Short Fiction).

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The response should be in prose form, with an effective introduction, appropriate paragraph structuring, and detailed development for each of the four essential reading attributes you select. The supporting explanation for each attribute and relies on support of its significance to effective reading from details of David Rubin’s story. Include specific supporting examples from “Longing for America” for each attribute, with precise expression and clear elaboration demonstrating the value of each of your four selected attributes.

Pick 4 out of these 10
The reader should . . .

1. belong to a book club.
2. identify with the hero or heroine.
3. concentrate on the social-economic angle.
4. prefer a story with action and dialogue.
5. have seen the book in a movie.
6. be a budding author.
7. have imagination.
8. have memory.
9. have a dictionary.
10. have some artistic sense.

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