These short analysis essays exercise and develop

These short analysis essays exercise and develop

The GOAL – These short analysis essays exercise and develop your careful attention to the text—and how it makes meaning. In particular, your ability

The GOAL – These short analysis essays exercise and develop your careful attention to the text—and how it makes meaning. In particular, your ability to isolate details within a short passage will become the foundation for your own observations and questions about how the author has assembled this passage. How do the details and use of the authors language invite the reader to see, understand, wonder, ask, or rethink something? In short, you’re a detective trying to uncover the clues of how the passage makes meaning, and what as a result the passage contributes to the meaning(s) of the book. When you do the reading analysis , you observe facts and details about the text. You may focus on a particular passage, or on the text as a whole. Your aim may be to notice all striking features of the text, including rhetorical features, structural elements, cultural references; or, your aim may be to notice only selected features of the text—for instance, oppositions and correspondences, or particular historical references. 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 of data (your observations) and careful thinking about what these data add up to. Reading analysis give you a chance to showcase your developing powers of exquisite attention to a narrative and thoughtful connections between texts and ideas. Each paper will analyze an aspect (e.g. theme, idea, image, character) of one or more of the texts . Using this analysis, papers will also contribute to ideas and themes that develop throughout the course by placing texts, characters, etc., in “conversation” with one another.

For the passage, consider that you are not analyzing the whole book but this passage, but you want to understand how and why the passage fits and works in the book. It is a passage that makes you as a reader wonder, realize, or change your mind about the meaning of the book. You may not yet know what it is that the author is saying, or why the passage is significant—only that it seems to be meaningful. How and why the passage is significant is the reason for your analysis!

The PROCESS – Try out these steps that are described in more detail and different words below: (1) Identify the passage, (2) list things you think are important about the passage and/or formulate questions you think it raises for the meaning of the book, and then (3) look for the evidence in your passage that makes you ask your questions or that makes you find it meaningful for all the reasons you listed in step 2. Now (4) sort and organize the data from your passage in a way that helps you make sense of the elements and techniques the author used to construct it and, as you isolate each kind of evidence, figure out how it makes meaning. Then (5) start outlining your essay, keeping in mind that you want your reader to see the kinds of evidence in your passage, what they mean for it, and how they contribute to larger patterns of meaning in the book—a theme, a character, etc., that makes the book, in turn, add to our semester-long conversation about identity.

What the format of the paper should look like:

The introduction should identify the passage with only the context necessary for your reader to understand why you are focusing on it. The significance of your passage will have to do with the connection between the details in your passage and the meaning they create for the passage—and, as a result, for the book. A thesis might follow this pattern: Through [kinds of evidence] a, b, c, and d, the text _________ [what does it do? For example, it emphasizes a character’s development]; and it matters because _____________ [What is the significance of this thing that happens in this passage for the rest of the book…and perhaps also its connection to other things we’ve read and discussed regarding the theme of identity?]

The body paragraphs that follow each treat one of those kinds of evidence: Through [kind of evidence a], the text emphasizes ________ [What meaning does evidence a make?]. Next sentence: Introduce, integrate into your sentence a quote or paraphrase (properly cited), and interpret example 1 of evidence a. Repeat for example 2 of evidence a. Repeat… (You may also draw upon evidence from elsewhere in the text to explain the evidence in the passage, but only if it helps explain what is going on in this passage!) So, what do you see—or what questions do you have—because of this evidence? (And what might that mean for the book?)
Repeat the paragraph for kind of evidence b. Repeat for kind of evidence c. Repeat for d.

Conclude in one or two paragraphs, as appropriate. The conclusion should basically answer, so what? Or: what do we as readers understand or wonder or think differently because we took the time to notice these details in this passage with you? How does it help us make better sense of the book and what it has to say about identity? The final paragraph(s) show your reader what all this evidence adds up to in the passage, and what this means in turn for the book or for a specific character or theme that is developed in the book. Connections to other texts we have read or topics we have discussed are welcome if appropriate, but not required. You do not have to have answers, and in fact good questions are more important. Keep your reader focused on the details of the passage and how they connect to the bigger questions, observations, or themes you see in the book as a result of the analysis of this passage.

Answer preview for The GOAL – These short analysis essays exercise and develop your careful attention to the text—and how it makes meaning. In particular, your ability


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