Discuss and analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text relate to each other and the whole.

DirectionsFor this 5-6 paragraph essay (approx. 1200 words), you will conduct a close reading of any of the short stories we have read so far (see texts below for reference). Just like arguing about what is right and what is wrong in a discussion, you will make an argument about the interpretation you have uncovered. In class on Monday, we will work on generating ideas and helping each other out with our brainstorming.Submit your draft online around the Sep 16th deadline, but also bring a paper copy (or be ready to share it from a computer) to class on Monday, Sep 20th.What is a close reading essay?We can’t know everything about someone at the first meeting; similarly, we cannot know everything about a text by just reading it once. Close reading requires re-reading more carefully more than once. Fall in love with that short story you pick because love causes you to give your full attention to something and awakens your senses.Here is how the Harvard Writing Center defines it:When you close read, you observe facts and details about the text. You may focus on a particular passage, or on the text as a whole. Your aim may be to notice all striking features of the text, including rhetorical features, structural elements, cultural references; or, your aim may be to notice only selected features of the text—for instance, oppositions and correspondences, or particular historical references. Either way, making these observations constitutes the first step in the process of close reading.In a close read essay you may want to do the following:Focus on a passage (of your chosen short story) and annotate it: Underline or circle important words; draw arrows to indicate terms that relate to each other or to mark the patterns you have observed in the passage. In the margins, note your observations about all of the following: word choice, word order, punctuation, sentence structure, images, and figures of speech.Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development.Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining connotationsand figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text relate to each other and the whole.What is the goal of close reading?The University of Washington defines the goal of any close reading as the following:an ability to understand the general content of a text even when you don’t understand every word or concept in it.an ability to spot techniques that writers use to get their ideas and feelings across and to explain how they work.an ability to judge whether techniques the writer has used to succeed or fail and an ability to compare and contrast the successes and failures of different writers’ techniques.What we do not want to do:While the goal is to closely analyze the material and explain why details are significant, close reading does not try to summarize the author’s main points, rather, it focuses on ‘picking apart’ and closely looking at what the author makes his/her argument, why is it interesting, what is the intended effect on the reader, etc.A close reading should be arguable and make a claim; don’t just offer all the possible interpretations you see. If you’re analyzing and breaking everything apart then you should be reaching a choice about what is the “true” interpretation you have uncovered. For instance, multiple people can read the same short story and have very different close readings, hence different claims.Avoid offering what outside sources think about your story. While outside sources can influence your interpretation, your own point of view is what should hold the most value.
Texts
“The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara
Technical Requirements
Must include an introductory paragraph that ends with a claim (thesis), body paragraphs that start with clear topic sentences which support your claim, textual evidence (at least one quote–but no more than three–per body paragraph), analysis of evidence (how does the quote prove your point), conclusion paragraph.Introductory paragraphs should indicate the full title of the short story (in quotation marks) and include the author’s full name.Approximately 1200 word countUse MLA style and formatting (see Resources section of module)Minimum errors in grammar & mechanics (use a spell-checking tool and/or some fresh eyes)