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Ch 13: CUNY Assessment Test in Writing: Understanding Literature

About This Chapter

This series of lessons can help you improve your skills identifying the purpose, themes, character motivations, plots and topics of various forms of literature. Having these skills may prove useful when analyzing and interpreting passages for the CUNY Assessment Test in Writing.

CUNY Assessment Test in Writing: Understanding Literature - Chapter Summary

Our professional instructors demonstrate how to identify the elements of literary writing so that you will be prepared to identify some of these elements when you take the CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW). After these lessons, you should have improved your abilities in:

  • Determining the author's purpose of the passage
  • Finding the theme, central ideal or main idea of passages
  • Understanding settings in literature
  • Noticing characterizations and character motivations
  • Following literary plots
  • Identifying point of views
  • Comparing and contrasting
  • Determining cause and effect in a passage

These videos come with lesson transcripts that you can read to fortify your knowledge of the material and lesson quizzes you can use to identify any topics you don't understand. If you find such topics, use videos tags to return to the locations of the lessons that discussed them and improve your understanding. Once you think you have fully mastered the material presented in these lessons, take the practice chapter exam to measure your understanding of the material.

CUNY Assessment Test in Writing: Understanding Literature Chapter Objectives

The CUNY Assessment Test in Writing is one of a series of three tests that applicants for admission into CUNY may take in place of the other college entrance exams. When you take the CATW, you are given a passage to read and asked to formulate an essay response. You will have 90 minutes to complete this task. Completing this chapter can help you review some of the skills that you may find useful when analyzing and interpreting the passage.

15 Lessons in Chapter 13: CUNY Assessment Test in Writing: Understanding Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Author's Purpose: Definition & Examples

1. Author's Purpose: Definition & Examples

This lesson explains the purpose behind various types of writing. In addition, author's purpose is defined using examples to illustrate the explanations.

How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence

2. How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence

Don't pass over this lesson! You may think you know how to find subjects and verbs in a sentence, but picking them out can be harder than you think. Identifying subjects and verbs is the first step to unlocking nearly everything else about English composition.

How to Find the Theme or Central Idea

3. How to Find the Theme or Central Idea

In this lesson, you'll learn how to identify the theme or central idea of a text, and you'll get some specific examples of themes from famous stories.

Implied Main Idea: Definition & Examples

4. Implied Main Idea: Definition & Examples

What's the point? If you're having trouble answering this question, you might need to learn more about implied main ideas. This lesson gives a definition and examples, along with explanations on how to identify them!

What is Theme in Literature? - Definition & Examples

5. What is Theme in Literature? - Definition & Examples

Understanding a story's theme is critical to deciphering an author's message in a particular piece of writing. In this lesson, we will examine the idea of theme and look at some examples in actual literary works.

Setting in Literature: Definition, Importance & Examples

6. Setting in Literature: Definition, Importance & Examples

In this lesson, you'll review the important elements of a story. In particular, you'll learn about the components of the setting and its importance within the plot.

Characterization: Definition & Examples

7. Characterization: Definition & Examples

How do you know whom you trust or would like to be friends with? You've probably gotten to know them over the years, and you can get acquainted with the same process in literature in this lesson with someone you're probably already quite familiar with!

Character Motivation: Definition & Examples

8. Character Motivation: Definition & Examples

What makes a character tick? In this lesson, we will examine the concept of character motivation and why it is so important in telling a believable story.

What is Plot? - Examples & Definition

9. What is Plot? - Examples & Definition

Plot is a literary term that refers to how narrative points are arranged to make a story understandable to the reader or observer. This lesson will look at the definition of plot, as well as examples of plot from well-known stories.

Point of View: First, Second & Third Person

10. Point of View: First, Second & Third Person

Just who is telling this story? In this lesson, we'll look at point of view, or the perspective from which a work is told. We'll review first person, second person and third person points of view.

Topic vs. Argument in a Reading Passage

11. Topic vs. Argument in a Reading Passage

Understanding the distinction between topic and argument is an important part of becoming a critical reader. Here's the difference, with examples. Also review how to identify the support for an argument in a passage.

Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

12. Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

Learn how point of view, or the angle from which a story is told, impacts the narrative voice of a work of literature. Explore, through examples, how point of view can be limited, objective, or omniscient.

Comparing and Contrasting: Examples & Concept

13. Comparing and Contrasting: Examples & Concept

Learn about the development strategy of comparing and contrasting, and how to apply it in an essay. Review the examples, and then take a quiz to test your new knowledge.

Analyzing the Fictional Portrayal of a Time, Place or Character

14. Analyzing the Fictional Portrayal of a Time, Place or Character

Authors often use real historical eras, events, and people to shape their fictional stories. In this lesson, we will explore how authors use and change historical accounts to fit their needs when writing stories.

How to Find Cause and Effect in a Reading Selection

15. How to Find Cause and Effect in a Reading Selection

Cause and effect structures can be used to describe how an action takes place. This lesson will discuss how to find this structure within a reading selection.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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