Close reading for comparative literature assignment

Close reading: a thorough, careful, and sustained analysis of a brief passage of writing ( Preferably any poem by Khalil Gibran )

Key Steps of Close Reading

1. Read slowly and carefully

2. As you read, mark up the page. (You’re looking for things like: tropes, images, metaphors, key words, genre, hints about narrative voice and audience, and other things that stand out to you.)

3. Look at your marks and note any patterns (themes, groupings, absences, opposites, increases/decreases in frequency or urgency, etc)

4. Formulate how/why questions based on those patterns

5. Take the how/why questions and go back to the text, reading closely a second time to look for further information

6. Formulate a main claim

7. Support the main claim with details, organized in a logical order (and indicated by topic sentences)

8. Explain why you have chosen to discuss these specific elements (intro paragraph)

9. Write the full draft of your close reading

10. Revise, edit, and proofread it

For a first draft of a close reading, you should go through steps 1-4.

If you think you are “on” to something, then you can revise and expand your reading, formalizing it by going through all 10 steps. You have to read slowly and carefully, and you have to translate your observations into written text, organizing them behind a unifying claim (thesis) and into discrete portions (paragraphs with topic sentences).

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