How to Find an Author’s Purpose and Position
Noticing an author’s position is very vital to understanding a piece of writing, because every writer is going to have a personal bias. They’re going to have a certain position on whatever they’re writing about. The way they portray something in their writing may not be totally accurate. It’s vital that you as a reader understand the author’s position, so you can better understand their work of writing.
First of all, the author’s position is basically their stance on the issue at hand. It’s what they believe about the issues they are writing about. To help you find the authors position, you need to notice several things. Notice that each point here starts with the word “notice”. To find the author’s position, you can’t just sit back and have it come to you. You as the reader are going to have to be proactive and notice these things.
First of all, notice personal opinions. This is basically noticing when someone is interjecting their own thoughts about something instead of actually putting fact in there. Notice bias. This is when someone words a sentence or a paragraph so that they portray something as being good, or maybe portray something else as being bad. In other words, they’re not giving facts anymore by the way they word something, or cast something into a negative light, or make something look very good or very positive.
Also, notice emotional language. This is when a writer puts their own thoughts into something, or their own opinions into something, then, by using strong emotional language, tries to sway the reader over to their thinking. Again, we’re not talking about a persuasive paper. Persuasive papers are always going to have a certain author’s position in it, because that’s the idea of a persuasive paper. The author is trying to sway you a certain way. We’re not focusing on persuasive papers. We’re focusing on other kinds of papers where the author really isn’t supposed to have a bias, when they’re not supposed to have a position on the issue.
Nevertheless, they are going to have a position, and sometimes they’ll insert emotional language to try to persuade someone to their thinking. Also, notice what information is left out. When we’re talking about personal opinions, bias, and emotional language, these are all things that are going to be added to the paper. This is something an author may add to the paper to insert their bias or to insert their own position, but noticing what is left out is when the author doesn’t write something to support their position. This may be some fact that would look bad upon their own position, so they just leave it out.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what is left out, because it’s not there. If you don’t know anything else about the topic at hand, you may not know what pertinent information is being left out. Sometimes that can be helpful in understanding the author’s position. The important thing to take away from this is that the author’s position is their stance on the issue at hand. In any piece of writing that is out there, the author who wrote it is going to have a position on that subject.
It’s up to you as the reader to determine how strong that position is portrayed in the paper and to notice anytime anything is skewed, the facts are twisted a little bit, and when the author is trying to persuade you to believe like they do.