1. What does the author want me to feel?
2.How does the author actually make me feel?
3. Why am I failing to feel the way the author wants me to feel?
Some clarifications: Gibbs is not talking about feelings in the way we normally do. For him feelings are the posture of the soul against the shape of the cosmos. " Some of the questions to ask then would be:
"Has the soul born witness to tragedy? Then the soul’s posture is prostrate, anguished. Has the soul born witness to just one sinner turning from his wickedness? Then the soul’s posture is dancing, jubilant"
In more prosaic terms then, I would say, the first question to ask is: What is the author trying to say? What direction does he want to lead us? Do we see sadness? redemption? Suffering? How do we respond?
"While a discussion of “feelings” could be endless, let us at least say that the fruits of the Spirit are proper feelings. A man may feel love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, prudence. Every good writer wants to lead his readers to these feelings, to train the spirit of the reader to respond to the cosmos in a way which is sympathetic to the nature of God."
Maybe this is a way of discriminating between literature worth reading and literature best left out of our shelves.
The second question has to do to our response. Has the author accomplished what he set out to do? Are we moved in the direction seemly intended by the author? Are we failing in let our soul be moved towards those "proper feeling"?
The final question is to find out Why are we not being moved?
Interestingly, Mr. Gibbs places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the reader. It is not an analysis of the literary merits of the author. Because Mr. Gibbs is talking about Classical Literature, it is a given that these texts have endured the test of time. They do move the soul. They do - in maybe mysterious ways- point us to God. Therefore this last step is more like an examination of conscience: what in me prevents me to be moved by these texts?