In The Spirit of the Community, what purpose do the questions in the book serve?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amitai Etzioni’s novel, The Spirit of the Community, is a text which details the importance of balancing the rights of the individual with the rights of the community. Given that all people do not agree on the ideology presented in the text, the questions posed serve one function: to make the reader consider the author's point-of-view.

Generally, questions are used in texts to bring the reader into the text; essentially, it makes the reader an active participant. Therefore, the use of questions, in a text such as this, is to force the reader to examine their own stand in regards to the author's. These questions, such as "how should we deal with the demand for illicit drugs," makes the reader question not only their stand, but the stand of the author himself. Engaged readers will come up with questions of their own (regarding why the author feels as he does).

Another way that the questions in the novel appeal to the reader is that the questions posed include the pronoun "we." By using "we," a direct connection between the reader and the author is made. He is including the reader in his search to find the answers he is posing.