SOAPS – point of view awareness
When given something to read, it is important to identify a few facts about the writing before moving too far into the analysis. If you overlook one of these, you might just get the whole thing wrong!
S - SUBJECTWhat is this work about? On what topic(s) – both literal and
symbolic or interpretive, concrete or abstract – is the writer commenting? Complete this letter in list-form, but remember to jot down quick details or explanation for each.
O – OCCASIONWhen is this taking place? Think of this as the setting, but
ALSO like the time when it is happening; ask yourself “why now? What has made the speaker say this now?” It may mean putting it in context with the other events that you know or can safely speculate have happened. Think about it – WHEN we decide to say something can be as powerful as WHAT we have to say. This letter will need a complete sentences answer.
A – AUDIENCEThis is the person or group to whom the work
is directed. Look for clues about who this person/group is in terms of experience, relation to the speaker, emotions, etc. AVOID non-specific groups. Ask yourself: why is the work directed at that person/group? This letter may have more than one possibility; therefore, be sure to support your ideas with evidence from the work. Complete sentences would be best.
P – PURPOSEWhat is the reason behind the work? What is the speaker
hoping to accomplish? (message? Reader’s reaction? Outcome?) What drove the speaker to this moment? You might think of this as “motivation.” Ponder what the speaker seems to want to happen next if this work were to continue… Complete sentence answer please.
S – SPEAKERThis one is last for a very good reason – you should be using the
information you gleaned in the other four letters to fill this one out. Who is the person “saying” this work? What do you know about this speaker – personality, experience, background, actions, etc.? You should be confident in drawing some conclusions based on what you have learned in the SOAP part of this exercise. I am looking for a well-developed paragraph for this letter. You might start by listing the things you know about him/her; then, formulate an explanatory paragraph.