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Close Reading, Analysis and Interpretation
Transcript of Close Reading, Analysis and Interpretation
What language the reader analyzes...
See page 124 of Student Guide for a more
complete list of strategies
Useful questions in analysis
Which details are significant? What is the significance of a particular detail?
Is there a pattern of details? How might this pattern be interpreted? How else might it be interpreted?
What details do not fit? How can they be fit together to form a pattern?
What details are
included? What is the significance of this?
(Questions from "A Student's Guide to FIrst Year Writing")
from Alexie reading
Notice the very short Joy Harjo quotes as an example:
"A writing career is about writing."
"Writing is about ink."
"I like your poetry"
What is close reading?
Actively reading the text, getting a sense of its purpose, focusing on things that seem important, on meaning and content, and on finding patterns ("A Student's Guide to First Year Writing")
Analyze details and patterns in the following strategies:
Images and symbols
Examples and illustrations
A close reading reveals what stands out in the text...
What can we infer from Alexie's use of Harjo to explain his education as a poet?
He needs an authentic voice other than his own to illustrate his growth
Harjo's voice accurately captures Alexie's frame of mind during his experiences
He is unwilling to use his own poetry (as, for example, Rich did) to describe his education as a poet
More close reading....asking questions of the text
He asks the reader to do the interpretation
He feels Harjo's poems convey enough meaning without his interference
He believes that his interpretation would muddy the purity of message or the reader's experience of Harjo's poems
We notice a few things:
What is included in the text
What is not included
The presence of a lot of Joy Harjo's poetry
Alexie uses Harjo's poetry to illustrate his growth as a poet and human being
Close reading and analysis are intertwined
Close reading leads to analysis
Once you identify important elements (parts) of the text through close reading, you can analyze them
What is analysis?
In Greek: analysis means "breaking up, loosening"
Examine the text's parts to see how it was put together to achieve its purpose
Explain how and why a text makes meaning
From "A Student's Guide to First Year Writing"
Strategies for close reading
Asking questions of the text
Defining key terms
Noting questions in the margins
One possible interpretation (thesis)
"Alexie could have explained his education as a poet better by offering some interpretation of Harjo's poems rather than just inserting them into his prose."
Does Alexie achieve his purpose (to explain his education as a poet) using Harjo's poems as illustrations?
The main question is...
Close reading--picking apart the text
Interpretation (thesis)--making a claim based on the patterns you found
Arriving at a critical understanding...a review of the four elements
Why doesn't Alexie explain Harjo's poems much to the reader? We might infer a few possibilities...
So, he partly achieved his purpose
The process of critically understanding a text
Close reading leads to analysis which leads to interpretation of the text (thesis or claim)
You must also understand the author's purpose
Arriving at a critical understanding of a text involves four elements
Close reading or picking apart the text
Analysis or finding patterns
Interpretation and thesis formation (making a claim based on patterns you found)
University of Arizona
Analysis of Language
Let's analyze the use of illustrations in Sherman Alexie's "She Had Some Horses: Education of a Poet"
Let's apply what you've learned about analysis
Included: a lot of Joy Harjo's poetry
Not included: very little explanation/interpretation of Harjo's poetry
What's included? What's not?