Close Reading Essay Example

 

close reading essay

An Analysis and Close reading Nella Larsen’s Passing is a story about the tragedy of an African American woman, Clare Kendry, who tried to “pass” in the white American community. Organizing your close-reading essay In writing your close-reading essay, you may wish to start by introducing the book and describing your chosen passage’s importance within it. You could then offer relevant details to support your thesis. Questions you raise may appear as part of your conclusion, suggesting avenues for further thought and study. A close reading essay is an in-depth paper that carefully studies a short work or a section of a longer one. Rather than treat the larger themes of the work alone, a close reading essay goes into details and substantiates observations with examples from the work being examined.


How to Do a Close Reading |


The process of writing an essay usually close reading essay with the close reading of a text. Of course, the writer's personal experience may occasionally come into the essay, and all essays depend on the writer's own observations and knowledge. When you close read, you observe facts and details about the text.

You may focus on a particular passage, or on the text as a whole, close reading essay. Either way, making these observations constitutes the first step in the process of close reading.

The second step is interpreting your observations. What we're basically talking about here is inductive reasoning: moving from the observation of particular facts and details to a conclusion, or interpretation, based on those observations. And, as with inductive reasoning, close reading requires careful gathering close reading essay data your observations and careful thinking about what these data add up to.

How to Begin:. Read with a pencil in hand, and annotate the text. When we respond to a text in this way, we not only force ourselves to pay close attention, but we also begin to think with the author about the evidence—the first step in moving from reader to writer. Here's a sample passage by anthropologist and naturalist Loren Eiseley.

It's from his essay called "The Hidden Teacher. Curious, I took a pencil from my pocket and touched a strand of the web. Immediately there was a response.

The web, plucked by its menacing occupant, began to vibrate until it was a blur. Anything that had brushed claw or wing against that amazing snare would be thoroughly entrapped. As the vibrations slowed, I could see the owner fingering her guidelines for signs of struggle. A pencil point was an intrusion into this universe for which no precedent existed.

Spider was circumscribed by spider ideas; its universe was spider universe. All outside was irrational, extraneous, at best raw material for spider.

As I proceeded on my way along the gully, close reading essay, like a vast impossible shadow, I realized that in the world of spider I did not exist. Look for patterns in the things you've noticed about the text—repetitions, contradictions, similarities.

What do we close reading essay in the previous passage? First, Eiseley tells us that the orb spider taught him a lesson, thus inviting us to consider what that lesson might be. But we'll let that larger question go for now and focus on particulars—we're working inductively. In Eiseley's next sentence, we find that this encounter "happened far away on a rainy morning in the West.

What does this mean? Why would Eiseley want to remind us of tales and myth? We don't know yet, but it's curious. We close reading essay a note of it.

Beyond that, though, Eiseley calls the spider's web "her universe" and "the great wheel she inhabited," as in the great wheel of the heavens, the galaxies. By metaphor, then, the web becomes the universe, "spider universe. But so what? Ask questions about the patterns you've noticed—especially how and why. To answer some of our own questions, we have to look back at the text and see what else is going on. For instance, when Eiseley touches the web with his pencil point—an event "for which no precedent existed"—the spider, naturally, can make no sense of the pencil phenomenon: "Spider was circumscribed by spider ideas.

But why vast and impossible, why a shadow? Does Eiseley mean God, close reading essay, extra-terrestrials? Or something else, close reading essay, something we cannot name or even imagine? Is this the lesson? Now we see that the sense of tale telling or myth at the start of the passage, plus this reference to something vast and unseen, close reading essay, weighs against a simple E.

So maybe not God. We need more evidence, so we go back to the text—the whole essay now, not just this one passage—and look for additional clues. And as we proceed in this way, close reading essay, paying close attention to the evidence, asking questions, formulating interpretations, we engage in a process that is central to essay writing and to the close reading essay academic enterprise: in other words, we reason toward our own ideas.

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Writing Resources. Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. How to Begin: 1. I once received an unexpected lesson from a spider. It happened far away on a rainy morning in the West, close reading essay. I had come up a long gulch looking for fossils, and there, just at eye level, lurked a huge yellow-and-black orb spider, whose web was moored to the tall spears of buffalo grass at the edge close reading essay the arroyo. It was her universe, and her senses did not extend beyond the lines and spokes of the great wheel she inhabited.

Her extended claws could feel every vibration throughout that delicate structure. She knew the tug of wind, the fall of a raindrop, the flutter of a trapped moth's wing. Down one spoke of the web ran a stout ribbon of gossamer on which she could hurry out to investigate her prey.

 

How to write a CLOSE READING ESSAY | DEAN'S BOOK w/ Prof. CONNIE GRIFFIN

 

close reading essay

 

An Analysis and Close reading Nella Larsen’s Passing is a story about the tragedy of an African American woman, Clare Kendry, who tried to “pass” in the white American community. The process of writing an essay usually begins with the close reading of a text. Of course, the writer's personal experience may occasionally come into the essay, and all essays depend on the writer's own observations and knowledge. Organizing your close-reading essay In writing your close-reading essay, you may wish to start by introducing the book and describing your chosen passage’s importance within it. You could then offer relevant details to support your thesis. Questions you raise may appear as part of your conclusion, suggesting avenues for further thought and study.