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Evoking Readers' Emotion

This lesson will help you:

Analyze ways in which poets use imagery, personification, figures of speech, and sounds to evoke readers' emotions.

You'll laugh, you'll cry … 

In the last lesson we talked about reading to discover the author's rhetorical purpose (basic purpose) and aesthetic purpose (emotional response desired in reader). Let's look a little more closely at how an author accomplishes his aesthetic purpose.

You can read a text just to get information from it. This is called efferent reading. "Effere" is Latin, and it means "to carry away." So efferent reading is when you come away from reading carrying some new information.

On the other hand, aesthetic reading looks at literature as art. When you're reading aesthetically, you're "living through" the story. You put yourself in the story. You relate to it, because it makes you consciously or subconsciously remember something in your own life. You have emotional responses to it—you may be angry, sad, inspired, or amused.