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hE Close Reading - Analysis

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Deborah Kennedy

on 8 May 2013

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Transcript of hE Close Reading - Analysis

Higher English Close Reading
Analysis Sentence Structure
& Punctuation Questions Word Choice Questions Analysis (A) Sentence structure looks at the way sentences are constructed to create an effect(s) - idea, image, feeling. These type of analysis questions ask that you identify a feature of the sentence and explain its effects that emphasise the writer's meaning. Imagery Questions The purpose here is to show that you are aware of why and how the writer has used a particular word to gain an effect. Higher English Analysis questions take many formats but primarily focus on explaining how a writer gets his message/point of view/opinion across. Tone Questions In spoken language, we are often able to determine a person’s mood and attitude to a particular subject matter through the use of paralinguistic features such as stress, intonation, body language, and facial expressions. Think about:
The word might imply or suggest something (connotation)
The word may create a comparison (simile, metaphor, extended metaphor)
Words may be used to indicate a contrast
The effect might be to create a sound using alliteration or onomatopeia
Words may be used to create an image for the reader Word Choice Connotations Imagery Figures of Speech Word choice creates images in our minds From these images we create links or connotations Figures of speech are used by the writer to create the imagery we picture in our minds Language Questions Think about... Connotation/Meaning: (usually implied/suggested meaning – i.e. connotation)
Writers choose words for a particular effect.
Words can suggest or imply something.
Look at this simple example.
“The policeman strolled into the house.”

The writer has chosen the word “strolled”. This is the key word.
The writer could have used the words: “walked, marched stormed or charged.” Nuance: a subtle difference or very slight difference in meaning, feeling or tone,
What is the difference between the following two phrases:
“I do not like you” and “I loathe you”.

The strength of feeling and meaning in the two phrases is slightly different. Tone: the way in which something is written / spoken
The tone of the writer indicates the attitude and feelings of the writer towards a topic
Look at the categories of tone listed below.

Tone Category 1: Personal
Writers may a dopy a personal tone but there are many shades of this.nostalgic, disappointed, reflective, sad, angry
Tone Category 2: Critical
Writers may adopt a critical tone but there are many variations of this.mocking, sarcastic, ironic, derogatory, scornful, hectoring, didactic
Tone Category 3: Humourous
Writers may adopt a humorous tone but there are many variations of this.ight-hearted, gently mocking, comic, Sound: onomatopoeia, alliteration, soft / harsh sounding
The writer may use “sound “ words :at Higher the words will normally create an image. Emotive words: words design to affect the emotions of the reader Effect: create humour, ridicule, shock, arouse sympathy, persuade, create an image, etc. 1.The first step is to pick out /identify the most important words.

2.Quote the words in your answer

3.Analyse the words in detail –the connotation, associations the word has, sound or tone etc.

4.Discuss the effect of the word.

5.Explain how the word helps you to understand the writer’s ideas/opinion. Words are the fundamental building blocks of any language.

Words are specifically arranged and structured to achieve a specific effect whilst conveying a specific meaning.

In addressing particular topics and subject matters, writers select and use specific words for effect and as a means of clearly outlining their message. To be able to effectively analyse word choice, you must firstly understand the following :

Denotation: What a word literally means, or in other words, its definition

Connotation: The feeling or idea that a word makes you think of that is not its actual meaning. Example:
After being picked up from the Ritz Hotel, the child was chauffeur-driven to the airport in a shimmering Rolls Royce before flying first class to Tokyo

Denotation :
Ritz Hotel - Five-star luxury hotel
Chauffeur - individual employed to drive a car
Rolls Royce - Expensive luxury car
First Class - Highest quality Basics Imagery is another common type of analysis question in close reading. Imagery involves the use of words to paint pictures Vivid and figurative language is often used to represent objects, actions and ideas. Imagery is an umbrella term and often involves the use of:
metaphors &
personifications Analysis therefore involves a close examination of specific techniques employed by
writers. Answering Analysis questions in the examinations demands that you display an ability to deconstruct or break down these techniques, explaining
how they aid our understanding of what is being said. Analysis is therefore concerned with the style of a piece of writing, rather than what a piece of
writing means. As with Understanding questions (U), clear instructions appear on the cover of the Close Reading Text paper regarding Analysis:

Read the passage carefully and then answer all questions, which are printed in a separate booklet. You should read the passage to analyse the writers’ choices of language, imagery and structures to recognise how they convey their points of view and contribute to the impact of the passage. There are 6 types of Analysis Questions:
Word Choice;
Sentence Structure;
Writers' Use of Language Method for answering a Word Choice question:

quote the word or phrase

explain the connotations in terms of ideas, images or feelings

make sure that as many examples are given as there are marks available

keep the question in mind! Similie
One thing is compared to another thing using the words “as” or “like”.
The striker sliced through the defence like a hot knife through butter.

Her memory was as porous as a sieve. Metaphors
Metaphors involve direct comparisons wherein something is compared to something else without the use of the words “like” or “as”.
Imagery is an umbrella term that involves the use of similes, metaphors and personifications.

Driving home during rush hour was a nightmare!

Celebrities often object to the microscopic attention of the media and liken it to living in a goldfish bowl. Personification
In personifications, inanimate or lifeless objects are given human attributes and characteristics.
The car groaned and wheezed all the way up the hill.

My phone is dead!

The sun smiled down on the children’s picnic. SQA Key Strategies In the exams, questions on imagery require you to demonstrate a literal understanding of the root of the image, and then explain how the writer is extending the image figuratively. In other words you are expected to “deconstruct” or break down the image. Here are the SQA’s “key strategies”: You must show that you understand the literal “origin” of the image. You must show that you can see how the writer is extending this metaphorically to help make a point. Simply picking out the words which contain the image will score no marks. Adding lots of vague comments which are not tied to understanding and analysis of the image will also score no marks. All the points for questions on “Word Choice” apply equally here also. Remember that you are allowed to pick out imagery when answering word choice questions. For example, the marking scheme for the extract on cities which we attempted earlier on included “breakneck speed”, “flooding into” and “swollen”, all of which are examples of imagery. Imagery Questions Imagery is not an alien concept and is widespread in the Literature you have studied in High School. Indeed when writing critical responses to these literature texts, you are often required to analyse imagery. For example in the short story “Father and Son” by Bernard MacLaverty, imagery is used to describe the son:
His face was never softer then when after I had shaved. A baby pressed to my shaved cheek. Now his chin is sandpaper. He is a man. If we were to analyse what this means, we would start with a literal explanation of what “sandpaper” is: strong, rough paper coated with sand etc.
We then explain how this image is extended figuratively: this would suggest that the boy’s chin is rough, rugged, and unshaven. He may therefore have stubble etc. This simple formula should get you full marks for imagery questions. You can also start by stating the figurative meaning of the image and then explain the root or origin of the image. Remember that imagery is not restricted to literature and Close Reading passages. Indeed imagery has always been an integral part of the very music you listen to! Using the technique above analyse the following phrases: “There will be no white flag above my door” (Dido)
“Your love is on my mind like a tattoo.” (Jordin Sparks)
“It ain’t easy growing up in World War 3” (Pink) “God’s the seamstress that tailor-fitted my pain” (50 Cent)
“Your faith walks on broken glass.” (Green Day)
“A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” (The Beatles) Expect the word “contagion” to be used a lot at this meeting of finance ministers here and beyond. In economics, just as in medicine, it means the spread of a nasty illness, or a disease, and with Ireland’s economy coughing and spluttering so violently at the moment, other vulnerable Euro-Zone countries complain they’re also being affected. Portugal said today it’s suffering hugely from the market jitters that Ireland’s problems have caused, and their finance minister warned that if this goes unchecked, this contagion could spread like wildfire. “No Euro-Zone country is safe!” he said. The message to Ireland tomorrow would be simple: take your medicine, take a bail-out package, and whatever you have to do, get your economy back on its feet. (Martin Geissler, ITN) Here’s a news report from November 2010: The word “contagion” is used early in the extract, and then the metaphor is extended with several other medical analogies. Annotate the extract identifying other examples of medical imagery. Analyse and discuss. Here is another example from the 2006 Higher English Paper: How effective do you find the imagery of lines 24-34 in illustrating the writer’s line of thought. You must refer to two examples in your answer. (4 Marks). Mankind has won what was, for most of his time on this planet, his biggest battle: to ensure that he and his offspring had enough to eat. But every silver lining has a dark cloud, and the consequence of this prosperity is a new plague that brings with it a host of interesting policy dilemmas. The Basics Sentences are a fundamental component of language, and involve arranging groups of words in such a way that they make sense. Identify these features in a sentence and then explain how they emphasise the writer's meaning (by creating effects/connotations on the reader). You get no marks for identification of sentence features alone. Comments on how the structure affects meaning, conveys writer's attitude, view or feeling, are how the marks are achieved. Sentences can usually be categorised under the following: A Statement which involves basically stating a fact A Question which can be used to involve the reader, create an emotive tone or create doubt A rhetorical question is a question that does not require an answer, as the response should be obvious. Rhetorical questions therefore are used for impact and effect and usually perform the same function as a strong definitive statement A Command which often contains instructions, and is popular in the world of advertisement and in politics. An Interjection which is often used to express strong emotion, such as shock, surprise, joy etc. Interjections are usually followed by exclamation marks Long sentences often involve the use of conjunctions and may be used to describe continuous activity or a rushed outpouring of emotion. Short sentences are often used for dramatic effect since they stand out. Inversion: To “invert” means to turn things around or to alter the order. This technique is often used to change the emphasis within sentences. Repetition is a very obvious technique as the repeated words or phrases clearly stand out and are therefore easily identifiable. Lists: Another obvious technique favoured by writers. Again you will get no marks for stating the obvious, namely that a list has been used. As with all other aspects of sentence structure, you must explain the effect of the list. Climax and Anti-Climax: Writers use climax to deliberately build up to a point of most importance. Antithesis: Writers use antithesis to create contrast and often balance opposite ideas together. Conjunctions are now however commonly used at the start of sentences and indeed paragraphs to achieve a particular effect. This is to sometimes link ideas within a passage or to isolate important points within a writer’s line of thought. Punctuation: In addition to the different types of sentences and techniques discussed above, pupils must also be familiar with certain punctuation marks, whilst also being able to comment on their purpose and effectiveness within particular contexts However, written language does not have this obvious advantage, and we therefore literally only have words on a page. Understanding Tone Higher English therefore demands that pupils be able to analyse the tone and sometimes mood of a particular piece of writing. This involves analysing language components such as word choice, imagery, sentence structure, punctuation etc. , explaining how they illustrate a writer’s attitude or feeling to a particular subject.
Questions on tone sometimes focus on particular lines within a passage, or may focus on entire passages. Your first level of understanding the tone of the passages should start from your initial reading of said passages. As you read, you should be able to determine the writers’ attitude to the subject or issue at hand. You should also be able to determine the purpose of the piece: is it to analyse, debate, argue, criticise, praise, educate etc.
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