A few days ago

The answers you get from literature depend upon the questons you pose?

“The answers you get from literature depend upon the questons you pose.” Margaret Artwood

What does this quotation mean for you? Do you agree with this quotation? What can we learn from reading literature?

Top 2 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

Well, you could ask, “Was this written by Mark Twain?” and if the book were “Huckleberry Finn,” then the answer would be “Yes.” If you asked “Was this written by Leo Tolstoy,” the answer would be “No.”

Of course, one could ask, “Was this written by Samuel Clemens?” and then be in quite a bind.

So, yes, the answers you get from literature depend upon the questions you pose.




But I believe that part of what Margaret Atwood (not Artwood) says is that much of what we receive from reading literature is based upon what we put into it. Not only in effort, but also our perceptions of what we read are based on our backgrounds, our thoughts, biases, experiences, etc. If we have preconceptions, then we can often read the meanings that we would like to see.

Also, we may ask certain questions that are answered in literature via spurious analogies or fallacious extrapolation. For example, if we repeatedly read of drunken priests and dishonest Bostonians, we might feel those traits are common to the profession or locations, rather than understanding the context of why those broad allusions are often made.

Remember, Mrs. Atwood’s views are very relativistsic, and she places great emphasis on the subjective.


A few days ago
the quotation means you learn based on the questions you ask to obtain information. I do agree with the quotation.

As a high school literature teacher, I tell my students that what you learn from literature is life.

Even if you, yourself, have not experienced something, you can still learn through a character’s experiences.