Grade 11 Guiding Questions Collection 3



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Collections Grade 11 Guiding Questions

Collection 3


“Against Nature” by Joyce Carol Oates
Read the argument “Against Nature” by Joyce Carol Oates. Then, reread the lines indicated with each question below. Answer each question, citing text evidence.


  1. Epigraph (an inscription on a building, statue, or coin): Why did Oates choose these two epigraphs to open her essay?

  2. Lines 1–5: Read the author byline and identify Oates’s main purpose for writing.

  3. Lines 6–14: Infer what Oates thinks about nature as a topic for writing. What is the author’s specific purpose in this essay?

  4. Lines 80–97: What are the three brief narratives in these lines? Analyze and evaluate why Oates includes these stories at this point in her essay.

  5. Lines 117–124: What claim does Oates make in these lines? How does it further her claims about nature? What evidence does Oates use to support this claim?

  6. Lines 125–136: How do Oates’s comments about Thoreau in these lines connect to her ideas in the previous paragraph?

  7. Lines 147–156: What examples of rhetorical questions are in these lines? What effect (influence/impact on the reader; why did she use them?) do these rhetorical questions produce?

  8. Lines 160–178: How does the quotation from Wilde support Oates’s argument?

  9. Lines 187–198: Summarize the idea Thoreau expresses. Is Oates convinced by Thoreau’s argument? Explain, citing text evidence to support your answer.

  10. Lines 194–197: Consider Oates’s tone in these lines. How does the tone differ in the two sentences? What effect does her tone have on the essay?

  11. Lines 229–239: Analyze the analogy. How is Oates’s “mystical” vision similar to nature writing?

  12. Lines 252–253: Why, at the end of her essay, does Oates refer to Johnson’s quote from the epigraph?

13. A. Write down adjectives that describe Oates’s tone. Write down two adjectives that describe Emerson’s tone. B. Write down words/phrases that helped create the tone for each author’s text. C. Explain how the tones of the selections differ.

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