Critical Thinking Skills and Motivation: A Model for Literature

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Arthur Millman


Maslow claims that the “study of motivation is the study of ultimate human goals, desires, or needs” (Maslow 1970, 22). He implies that the topic of motivation is as rich and varied as the types of human personalities. My interpretation of Maslow’s claim is not limited to only living people. It also includes characters in literature who aren’t living in a physical sense, but who, nevertheless, have a life on the pages of a book. My original idea was to help students discover characters’ lives by using a model, which I devised, to determine motivation. Later the idea developed to its present form; that is, thinking of motivation as it fits into a larger framework of causal explanations. The model is intended to be a guide for teachers, one that is adaptable to different student needs. The paper consists of three chapters and two appendices. Chapter One discusses how motivation falls under the rubric of causal explanations. A brief look at Hamlet’s motivations is included as an illustration of causal explanations.


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