Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Art of Close Reading

by Olympia Georgeson

You may have heard your professor stress the importance of close reading in a class lecture or write as a comment how you could have gone deeper into close reading your chosen short passages and excerpts.  If you feel as though you’re not sure how to further close read a passage, review these steps!

1. Paraphrase in Simple Language:

Paraphrase the passage’s meaning in itself and in comparison to the rest of the text. What are the themes and issues the passage brings forward? How does the plot relate or repeat other aspects of the text?

2. Language of Passage:

Look for key words, phrases or patterns. Does a passage point to an earlier passage? A word or phrase repeated from another passage hints to the fact these passages should be read in conjunction. Also look for repeated words within the passage. Do the repeated words have a meaning?

3. Form of the Passage:

How is the language of a passage structured? Does it rhyme? Does it make use of alliteration, parallelism, etc.?

4. Chronology of Events:

Why does the passage enter when it does? Are there any missing transitions between the passage and its context?

5. The Speaker:

Is the speaker a reliable narrator? What character judgments do you make of the speaker or character? Are they telling certain truths?

6. Symbolism:

Are there metaphors? Is there one controlling metaphor? How do they apply to the text as a whole?

"Some Close Reading Tips." Some Close Reading Tips. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2016. http://mason.gmu.edu/~rmatz/close_reading.htm