Close reading is carefully examining the text to ensure key ideas and details are not missed. It’s the opposite of skimming. Students in all academic levels are encouraged to do close reading because it builds vocabulary and makes it easier to connect with the knowledge in the source material. It also helps the reader synthesise and apply the information to a broader context.
For close reading to be successful, you should look at three crucial things. First, start by doing a thorough analysis of the text structure. Second, look at the language the author uses. Third, note down the main message. Here’s more on how to do a close reading.
Close Reading | Read the Text Three Times
The best way to remember a text is to read it more than once. For starters, you’ll catch details you missed the first time. For close reading, it’s essential to note critical information, such as structural elements or specific references. When doing multiple reads of the text, do it with a particular purpose.
For instance, in the first reading, focus on sentence structure. During the second reading, examine the plot or point of view. It’s often best to gain a general understating of the text during the first reading. That way, you can proceed to examine the text structure and language. Finally, during the third reading, you will make intertextual connections and craft arguments or opinions on the source material.
Choose a Specific Passage
Do you want to focus on the whole text or a specific passage? You can select a particular path that matters the most to you or analyse the theme or plot. However, you can be easily overwhelmed by reading something that is too long. So don’t be scared of limiting your analysis only to a specific paragraph or two at most.
The ideal passage to close read would be short of text but rich in details. Passages that are ideal for close readings are the first paragraphs or beginnings of character development and changes. Samples from “do my paper for me” services can help you better understand the passages worth analysing.
Look for a Pattern
Are there repetitive elements in the text? This can be something obvious or non-obvious—for example, a linguistic feature, a concept, or an unusual word. Identifying the pattern helps a student develop a complex argument which leads to locating scholarly evidence to support it.
During your close reading, remember that the recurring feature may reappear differently. Overall, ensure that you note down the repetitions and come up with the meaning of the pattern. Then use the pattern as textual evidence to support your interpretation and to make it convincing.
Do a Thorough Analysis
Pay attention to the narrative perspective being used in the passage/text. Apart from the narrative voice, focus on the tone and literary devices as well as rhetorical devices—for instance, the use of imagery or figurative language. Additionally, consider the effects of the devices and any other techniques used. For example, is the tone ironic or comic? Does it influence the whole passage?
Analyse the Characters
The trick to a good character analysis is to pay attention to subtle hints that give insight into the character’s personality. You should also focus on the author’s language to reveal a particular character’s motives, mood, or feelings. Finally, you should also give your opinion on what you’ve learned about a specific character.
Consider the Context
When doing a close reading, examine how the text you’ve chosen to analyse fits into the works as a whole. It can be in the form of background information or a character’s backstory. Additionally, look for any historical or cultural references.
Interpret Specific Elements Using Inductive Reasoning
Use the inductive or bottom-up approach to reach a solid, convincing conclusion. The strategy for using inductive reasoning is first to make a specific observation and then state the patterns you’ve recognised. In addition, make a general conclusion that will help you formulate a thesis statement. Also, present facts supporting your conclusion and ensure the evidence is sufficient and relevant to the matter under discussion.
Pause and Think
After conducting an analysis and having a thesis and evidence, you might assume it’s time to end the close reading. However, take a few minutes to think over what you’ve read to ensure you have an in-depth understanding of the source material. This is to help come up with an interpretation of a deeper meaning. Read the title and understand its relationship with the whole source material.