"How the reader relates to a depiction": Does this mean a reader in general or the reader being me? I thought I should not write in first person.
Merry-Go-Round in the Sea by Randolf Stow: "The reading of a literary text may be influenced by ideas about the society and culture in which the text was produced." Discuss this statement in light of what the reader learns about life in country Western Australia during the Second World War, and how the reader relates to this depiction.
From my point of view, it sounds like this should not write this in first person. The second part of the prompt is indicative of this: " Discuss this statement in light of what the reader learns about life in country Western Australia during the Second World War, and how the reader relates to this depiction." This brings to light the fact that there was content present that should be the focus and not whether or not a specific person, namely you, grasped it. With this in mind, I think that the prompt is asking for a general response in which terms such as "one" or a similar "de-personalizing" of context is evident. For example, there might some inclusion of phrases such as, "The social and cultural climate of Western Australia is evident in many ways." Another approach could be, "One can see the social context of Western Australia present in the narrative when..." or changing the language a bit, "The social context of Western Australia is present when..." It seems that the prompt is indicating that the supporting with specifics should be evident from the reading and not personalized inquiry. These are ways to bring out reflections and connections that you might have made but can be phrased as "the reader." I would check with your instructor to see that if this is the case, but given the language in the prompt, it seems that this is the direction for this writing sample.