Interpretative Questions


After the Basic Content Questions, we will now formulate Interpretive Questions. These questions are also raised in the four topic areas Characters, Settings, Actions and Objects. You will not be able to formulate and answer these questions by citing information directly from the text but by thinking beyond the textual level. These questions help you to read a literary text as a literary text.


Who is the main character? An hero, a historic figure, an average human being, a representative of an idea?

Wer ist die Hauptfigur? Ist sie ein Held? Eine historische Persönlichkeit? Ein ganz normaler Mensch? Ein Repräsentant einer Idee?


What does the name, age, profession mean?

Was bedeutet der Name, das Alter und der Beruf?


What ideas does the character symbolize?

Welche Ideen symbolisiert die Figur?


For example: Freedom, Fate, Progress, Intellect, Action, Failure, …

Is the location real, fantastic, historical?

Ist der Ort der Handlung real, fantastisch oder historisch?


What does the location stand for?

Was symbolisiert dieser Ort?


For example: Solitude, Vitality, Decay

Does the point of time of the story have a symbolic value?

Hat die Zeit der Handlung eine symbolische Bedeutung?  


For example: Morning≈Beginning, November≈Decay, May≈Love, Nighttime≈Death


What do the characters’ actions/feelings/thoughts stand for?

Was symbolisieren die Handlungen, Gefühle und Gedanken der Figuren?


How are the characters motivated?

Was motiviert die Figuren?


Are their actions/feelings/thoughts consistent with what the characters stand for?

Sometimes a concrete object stands for an abstract idea, such as a red rose suggesting love. It becomes a symbol.

What does the striking object stand for? What could it symbolize?

Was szmbolisiert das besondere Objekt?