ENGL 109 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Close Reading, Lightdark, Ann Radcliffe

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Published on 16 Jan 2019
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ENGL109 1/16 notes
Fiction is carefully written art- the parts matter
Need to slow down and read carefully
Close reading
Read it more than once
Close read to understand a story
What’s the purpose behind the choices that the writer made?
Why that word?
Why is this story set in ___?
Why that narrator?
Why that point of view?
Why does that phrase keep being repeated?
Making an interpretive argument about the text
Thesis driven argument
Not about the facts of the story
When you have a work of art, there are multiple ways of coming to that painting and
thinking about the meaning or purpose- same thing with fiction
To make an argument well, you need two things: quotes from the text, and sentences
where you reflect on the meaning of those words
You don’t need any outside context to make an argument about a story
Close reading- no other references
Parts of the fiction where the matter gets grey
Words have multiple and often conflicting meanings
Words can mean many things and writers use words strategically
Punctuation matters
Sentence length matters
Does this person yell, whisper, say it out loud, keep it in his head, etc
What does someone see or not see?
Why go that route and not another?
Write as you read
You cannot skim fiction
if you want to be good at reading fiction and writing about it, read it slowly
make notes as you go
reread passages, chunks of text, sentences- flag them so you can reread them
good close reading requires concentration
keep a pen or pencil out
mainly for novels- running summary at top
use post-its to flag pages
make a summary as you go
jot down questions
look up words that you don’t know
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