Lice Walker Passage from a?Everyday Usea?
Objective one: This is an exercise in a?close reading.a? Choose a passage no more than one page in length. Objective two: Carefully analyze some of the patterns, use of language, metaphors, or if applicableintertextual allusions. Your goal is to show how the passage works at the level of language. Do not worry about introductions or conclusions. Donat even worry about producing an overall coherent argument yet (though you will likely have a working thesis statement in mind). Instead, concentrate on showing how a text works at the most basic level: individual words and sentences, from which patterns begin to emerge. If this leads you to make larger points about the text as a whole, feel free to do so. But be careful to avoid generalizations. It is notoriously difficult to pin down the meaning of an entire text, since it is comprised of so many different parts, many of which contradict each other. Any larger sense of a textas significance can only be gained through analysis of its use of language in particular moments and passages.
Finally: post your close reading to Blackboard. Include the text you are analyzing by cutting and pasting it before or after your close reading. Some people write concisely and to the point. Others are wordy. So, generally speaking, your blog should be considerably longer than the excerpt you choose (for example if the chosen excerpt is a paragraph single spaced your response should be at least two paragraphs single spaced). This blog is due by Friday.
We will spend time in class discussing and practicing close reading techniques and strategies for paper writing. Some aspects of literary language you might find helpful to think about are:
a? Word choice (diction): Is the language colloquial or formal, or some combination of the two? Why is one word used and not another (English is rich in synonyms, so there are many paths a writer, especially a poet, can take). Are these words a?appropriatea? for the speaker or narrator? How do characters speak to each other? Do they have different stylistic tendencies?
a? Connotation: do you have an understanding of the full range of meanings for each word you a?unpacka?? Use (several) dictionaries even when you think you know what something means!
a? Syntax: Are sentences short and clear, or gnarled and complex, with multiple clauses? What effects to these choices of syntax have?
a? Narrative point-of-view: Whose perspective is presented in the text at different moments? If the perspective changes, how and when does the switch between points-of-view occur? What does the text leave unsaid by its choice of perspective? How are readers positioned in relation to the narrative focus: knowing more than the narrator does? Knowing less?
a? Tone: is the work comic, serious, wry, ironic, philosophical, light-hearted, etc? How do you know?