There are - broadly speaking - three main intentions with a non-fiction text: to inform, to entertain, or to persuade. You could argue that Siri Hustvedt’s essay “Living With Strangers” attempts all three of these to a certain extent. However, you can also narrow down her intention even further.

Siri Hustvedt wants to inform us on the topic of social behavior in big cities like New York. As readers, we get the feeling that the writer is very interested in themes such as the human psyche, basic humanity, and the idea of identity. And combined with her having been an urbanite since 1978, she simply wants to share her experiences on this overall topic with us. We sense her desire to deliver clear information when she offers numerous specific examples to illustrate her abstract points, such as the story of the bathrobe lady which she employs to explain how city dwellers have grown used to ignoring weird behavior in the public sphere.

The writer also makes sure that her text is entertaining to read. One way she does this is by using pathos, which you may read about in the section on the forms of appeal . By appealing to emotions like pity, f...

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