ENG215H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Literary Realism, Fiction, Close Reading
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Lecture 2: Tuesday January 17th, 2012
Canadian Short Story
Along with paying attention to factors outside the text, we need to understand
something about the verbal, formal, and structural elements of the words
Close reading is a deliberate attempt to detach ourselves from the plot and story
of a narrative and pay attention to imagery, allusion, intertextuality, syntax, and
form in the writing. Close reading forces us to be active rather than passive
consumers of the texts and asks us not just what the story means, but HOW
meaning is structured and conveyed through its language.
We do not attempt a close reading of an entire short story. Instead, we look at
particular important sentences, sometimes together to reach an interpretation
or to illustrate an observation.
To lean how to do close reading, start by selecting a paragraph and look at it
sentence by sentence. Why does the author use particular words, images,
grammatical constructions, even punctuation? How do these choices affect your
responses as a reader? What other choices might the author have made? Are
there allusions or quotations from other works of literature or other texts?
HOW DOES THE VERBAL TEXTURE OF THIS PARAGRAPH ILLUMINATE THE THME
OF THE STORY?
Lazy Bones – Fredrick Philip Grove (1879-1948) (pg. 51)
Is under the heading Realism
o Realism is used to demonstrate a recurring mode representing life in
o Realism is often opposed to romantic fiction
Romance is life as we would HAVE it to be
Realism represents life as it really is
o Realistic fiction is written to evoke the feelings of the reader – reinforces
that the events could happen, the characters could exist and the situation
could take place
Fredrick Philip Grove
o A writer devoted to the idea of literary realism
Devoted to the idea of depicting fictional characters and events in
such a way as to convince the reader that the narrative was based
in real life and was objective and accurate
o He would often represent his characters in an unidealized way in an
unsentimental aspect of prairie life
o The frankness and honesty of Grove’s fiction got him into trouble with
the moral arbiters of his time