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Close Reading: Deconconstructing Text for Evidence-Based Meaning an Analysis of Syntax, Connotative Di
Transcript of Close Reading: Deconconstructing Text for Evidence-Based Meaning an Analysis of Syntax, Connotative Di
Close Reading: Deconstructing Text for Evidence-Based Meaning
Examining Diction: Word Choice chosen specifically for their effect
For the purposes of this assignment, we will examine:
"I've Been to the Mountaintop" a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr.
"We Will Fight Them" a speech given by Winston Churchill
is defined as the way in which words are arranged in
, and how those phrasings ultimately affect the piece
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech in Memphis, Tennessee. He was assassinated the next day. Notice the irony in talking to God about mankind's achievements and being discouraged that the world is a sick place.
Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world. And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?" I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch God's children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn't stop there.
I would move on by Greece and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon. And I would watch them around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality. But I wouldn't stop there.
I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn't stop there.
I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and aesthetic life of man. But I wouldn't stop there.
I would even go by the way that the man for whom I am named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church of Wittenberg. But I wouldn't stop there.
I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn't stop there.
I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but "fear itself." But I wouldn't stop there.
Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy."
Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding.
Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee -- the cry is always the same: "We want to be free."
Most eloquent speakers use parallel structure to emphasize their purpose. Note MLK's repetition (parallel structure in specific positions within a sentence, in this case, Anaphora)
He was also a masterful speaker who wove Allusions (Biblical, Historical, Geographical) into his speech.
Within the last 2 paragraphs, the Tone of MLK begins to feel darker. His connotative diction begins to shift toward an overall mood of worry and frustration as he talks about his time in history.
Mood - is the feeling a piece of literature arouses in the reader: happy, sad, peaceful, etc. Mood is the overall feeling of the piece, or passage. It could be called the author’s. emotional-intellectual attitude toward the subject
MLK's "Mountaintop Speech"
Churchill Speech Analysis:
Churchill emphasizes his points through parallel structure, anaphora, repetition, tricolon and quadracolon syntax, periodic, cumulative, and convoluted syntax structures to create a rising tension, to delay the powerful point, to add weight to his message. It is powerful, intentional use of language and structure of rhetoric to persuade and unite.
The tone of this speech, is one of honor, courage, resilience, and pride. You can determine this by the strong connotative diction:
"prove ourselves, outlive, growing confidence, growing strength, whatever the cost, never surrender"...etc.
There is wonderful juxtaposition of tyranny and those on the right side of history. Those on the right side have God.
Rhetorical Devices: Figurative Language
Authors employ rhetorical devices and strategies to add depth and meaning to their work. These devices layer meaning beyond the superficial words and challenge the reader.
Lyrical and Rhythmic Devices: The song-like sounds and rhythmic quality of words and language
An Author's Appeals to Readers': Ethos, Logos, & Pathos
Understanding How to Use the Rhetorical Devices--
Making Connections to the Effect & Message
Syntax Structure & Rhetorical Devices
However, to go beneath the surface and beyond simple sentences, readers need to:
dissect and identify the complexity of a sentence (specifically looking for the main point)
understand that the specific structure of a sentence helps us find meaning in difficult passages
Analyzing Syntax, Connotative Diction and Rhetorical Devices for the Impact on Message
Close Reading Strategies for Non-Fiction and Textbook Reading:
To annotate text:
1. Identify the BIG IDEA
look for a brief chapter intro and circle the main ideas and subtopics to be introduced
2. Look for bold headings introducing main ideas and/or subtopics
3. Double Underline topic sentences within the section
4. Connect ideas with arrows to the margins for reflection
5. Number the evidence supporting the main idea of the passage
6. Ask questions in the margins to test your understanding
7. Add personal notes to help you recall information
8. ALWAYS Define technical words
1. Box or chunk paragraphs dealing with the same topic
2. Circle key words and phrases
3. Use arrows to margins for definitions or reflection
Underline the claim presented
(the main argument or persuasive point presented)
Number the evidence as it is presented to support the claim
6. Summarize each chunked section in the margins (simple retelling in your own words)
For especially difficult Speeches, Documents, and Historical writing:
A. Use Close Reading Strategies for syntax, connotative diction
and rhetorical devices
B. By separating the syntax, you will find the main idea, supporting evidence
in complex syntax structure, and see the effect of rhetorical devices:
especially connotative diction, allusions, symbolism, etc.
C. Use Chunking strategies and brief summary