Questions for the Reader
An Approach to Serenity, or The Doctor Will See You Now
by Joyce H. Daniels

[In J. Duchan, G. Bruder, and L. Hewitt, Eds. Deixis in Narrative: a Cognitive Science Perspective, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 1995, xviii-xix. (with some modifications and additions.)]

  1. When Lorna called the dentist's office, did she still have a toothache? How do you know?

  2. Who is "the receptionist"? What justifies use of the definite article "the"?

  3. Where are you after "the receptionist said to come right over"? Note that the receptionist is at the dentist's office. Are you? If we are with Lorna at her house, why does the sentence above use "come" rather than "go"?

  4. After "Lorna ran down the stairs to the garage," are you with Lorna, or did you stay in the house?

  5. When Lorna "ran down the stairs to her garage," did she reach the garage? How do you know? When do you know?

  6. What mode of transportation did Lorna use to get to the dentist's office? How do you know?

  7. Did Lorna reach the dentist's office? When do you know this? How do you know it?

  8. How long was it between the telephone call and Lorna's arrival at the dentist's office? Why do we keep using "long" to refer to intervals of time?

  9. How long was it between Lorna's arrival at the dentist's office and her asking the receptionist how much longer it would be?

  10. Who is the "she" who "happily sat down"? How do you know?

  11. Is the receptionist a man or a woman? The dentist?

  12. Where are you when the dentist appears in "finally, the dentist appeared"?

  13. How long was it between Lorna's talking to the receptionist and the dentist's calling her name?

  14. What do you understand by "The minutes dragged by"?

  15. Did the dentist ever come into the waiting room? When? How do you know?

  16. Why is it natural to use "come" in the previous question, rather than, for example, "go"?

  17. Where did Lorna end up after "escorted her to the dental chair"? Where did you go?

  18. Did Lorna ever leave the waiting room? When? How do you know? Do you feel that you as reader also left the waiting room at that time?

  19. How long was Lorna in the dental chair?

  20. Account for the irony of the last sentence.

  21. Did Lorna ever leave the dentist's office? How long, in total was she there?

Stuart C. Shapiro <>