Author's Purpose Examples
When an author writes a text, he or she has a purpose for writing. Sometimes, the purpose is to merely entertain or tell an engaging story. Sometimes, the purpose is to inform the reader of something. At other times, the author is attempting to make an argument or share an opinion, on hopes of persuading the reader to his or her point of view regarding a topic.
While authors may have many varied purposes for writing, when we talk about author's purpose, we can divide the many purposes into four main categories:
Describe-an author is attempting to describe something, someone, or an event. The main purpose is to offer rich details for the reader.
Narrate-an author is attempting to tell a story. The main purpose is to tell the story by developing a plot and characters.
Persuade-an author is attempting to persuade the reader by presenting an opinion and making an argument. The main purpose is to persuade by presenting details and examples that support the argument.
Exposition-an author is attempting to explain or inform the reader of something. The main purpose is to provide details and information that help the reader to understand the topic.
Examples of Texts with Varying Purposes
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is a narrative, and the author's purpose is to provide a narrative from the perspective of a young girl who is growing up in the segregated south and her coming of age story of confronting racism.
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn't have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt. When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.
Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech was spoken for the purpose of persuading others to join the American colonists' fight for freedom from England.
"MR. PRESIDENT: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate."
"Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
The following excerpt from a descriptive essay about a piece of art was written for the purpose of describing the work of art to analyze the theme.
The painter has included a white, weather-worn farm house at the end of a dirt drive. Young children, carrying a picnic basket and fishing poles, are walking down the drive. They wave to an elderly man who is standing on the porch steps wearing a checked shirt and overalls. The painting, titled "Home," evokes feelings of nostalgia.
The following excerpt is from an expository essay, the purpose of which is to inform readers about how dolphins communicate.
If you have ever heard a dolphin make noise, the sounds you hear can be described as whistles and clicks. Scientists think that dolphins even have a unique "signature whistle" that can be used to identify specific members of their pod. Dolphins can also communicate and navigate under the water using echolocation. Echolocation is a process by which dolphins emit sound waves that bounce off of other objects under the water.