A photograph of an Inca woman weaving textiles at a manual loom.

Source: Making Peruvian Inca Textiles, Jae, Wikimedia

If you are called on to discuss the interweaving of facts with personal examples and ideas in an essay, you can’t just point to facts and then point to personal examples and ideas. Simple identification is not the same as a discussion.

A photograph of two similar window frames on different colored walls

Source: Differences.., Sachmaans.dk, Flickr

You can give easy answers like “This adds to the interest of the essay” or “This makes the discussion of the topic more convincing.” Although these comments might be on target and important when fully explained, they are not developed enough to show that you have actually thought about how the facts contribute to the personal elements of the essay.

One of the best ways to develop your comments about the interweaving of facts is to compare the essay (including the facts) with what it would be like if the factual information were omitted. In other words, you can comment on the difference it makes to include the factual information.

A photograph of a contemporary/modern art painting by Glen Josselsohn

Source: Enigma by Glen Josselsohn Contemporary Modern
Artist, Glen Josselsohn Art, Wikimedia

Another way to comment on the interweaving of facts is to write about the focus of the passage. Is the content factual or personal? Along with stating which aspect of the text you think is dominant, you should also have some ideas about how that dominance affects a reader.

A third way to develop your ideas about the interweaving is to comment on how the factual and personal elements are organized in the passage. Does personal comment usually follow a block of information? Or is the factual information incorporated into the discussion of ideas and examples? We can call this aspect the design of the interweaving.

Now you have three D’s—Difference, Dominance, and Design—to help you discuss how factual information is included in an essay of personal ideas and examples. Click the link to open and download the graphic organizer and practice responding to literary essays that interweave factual information with personal examples and ideas. When you’re finished with the graphic organizer, return to this section and read the paragraphs that follow. Graphic Organizer Instructions

Being sensitive to the interweaving of factual information with personal examples and ideas is another way to read actively. This sensitivity allows you to recreate an author’s motivations and intentions and to get a deeper understanding of an author’s meaning.

Being sensitive to factual information that’s interwoven with personal examples and ideas will make you a better reader (and a better writer). You can weave this understanding into the experience of your reading.