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Assignment 2: Close Reading
Purpose: This assignment gives you the opportunity to engage with a text as a close reader, participating in summary, reflection, and critical analysis, and demonstrating your awareness of the differences among these approaches to the text. Through your annotation of the text, you will closely explore a particular question regarding the unity of the text. You will annotate the text using comments, highlighting, explication, and other techniques we have studied in class. Your annotations will ultimately culminate in a thesis driven argumentative essay supported by your annotations. This activity prepares you for further research as you study the nuances of text. You will then reflect on how those annotations help in understanding the work.
For this project, you will annotate a text using footnotes, focusing on how the various elements at work in the text address the inquiry question you are exploring. Your annotation should critically engage with the text, devoting attention to patterns, word choice (and meaning), the use of figurative language and rhetorical devices, the textâ€s structure and organization, the tone and narrative voice, etc. Through your annotation, you will address how these various textual elements help to create unity within the text.
Essay (3-4 pages)
Your thesis will address how the various elements of the text work to help unify the textâ€s theme. You will then analyze how each element helps to support your claim about the textâ€s unity. Your thesis should thoroughly quote and analyze each part of the text in order to explain your argument.
Reflection (2-3 pages)
After completing the annotations and essay, you will write an essay reflecting on how these two activities helped you understand the text better. Re-read the text, your annotations, and thesis, then consider these questions:
-what words were unfamiliar to me? How did looking up their connotations/denotations help? Does the text have a different meaning now?
-what references did I not know? What did I learn about those other texts/events? How did it help illuminate the workâ€s overall theme?
-Does assuming a textâ€s complexity help my reading?
-How can I use these close reading strategies in the future?
Format: MLA
Length: Thesis (3-4 pages)
Reflection (2-3 pages)
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