- Your essay should have a clear thesis:
- Be logically structured
- Demonstrate a close reading of the text
What is close reading?
- Try to go beyond, or develop further, the ideas introduced in the class
- Pull out details, observations, features, elements, to examine critically Briefly comment on the significance of the quotation to the rest of the text. Then launch into the interpretation/argument.
- Look for meaning within the author’s world, social context, and most importantly – within in the text itself. Always go back to the text to justify your claims/interpretations.
- Do not paraphrase!
- Explain how meaning in the text is developed. The goal of using close reading to interpret a text is to go past the words to explain how the text works and to bring out its underlying meaning.
- Every fact or detail you observe in the text should be accompanied by an explanation of its (your) interpretation. Always link observation to meaning. Rule of thumb:
- State an observation (a literary device)
- Explain how it creates meaning in the text
- (2. should be 3-4 times as long as 1.)
- Some useful words/phrases that demonstrate interpretation:
- Create an impression of…
- Discuss complexity and ambiguity instead of avoiding them – they are possible hotspots of new ideas.