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Teaching Interpretation Through the Epistolary Novel: Using Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Teach Literary Interpretation in the Swedish Upper Secondary EFL Classroom


  • Erik Hed

Summary, in English

This essay examines how Swedish English as foreign language (EFL) students in the English 7 course can be taught textual interpretation skills through working with fiction in the classroom, using Bram Stoker’s 1897 epistolary novel Dracula as an example novel. A qualitative text analysis of Stoker’s novel was conducted, using Grice’s maxims of conversation and the concept of focalization, to determine the extent to which Dracula is suitable teaching material for the development of students’ interpretation skills. It was found that, through its epistolary format, Stoker’s novel requires interpretation in various ways and can thus be used for the present teaching goals. Three example tasks were subsequently presented and act as suggestions for how textual interpretation can be taught within this context. These tasks were designed using the didactical framework of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives and are explicitly connected to Skolverket’s steering documents. The pedagogical implications of using these tasks were examined and it was explained that the tasks examine the skill of interpretation in differing ways. The tasks were designed to examine students’ interpretation skills through both the epistolary format with its encompassing narrative restrictions and through the novel’s use of interpretation-requiring literary devices. The study concludes with suggestions for future research concerning the teaching of interpretation through other epistolary novels and more practical student-centered research.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • teaching interpretation
  • epistolary novel
  • Dracula
  • English as a foreign language


  • Jenny Siméus