Close Reading
Responding and
Reacting to Literature
English 112
Mrs. Buchanan
Reading Literature
O Before we discuss responding and
reacting, there are some points to make
about reading literature.
O ...
Reading Literature
O In reading literature, you must read
actively.
O You need to pay special attention to
various aspects...
Close Reading
O Does anyone know what this is?
O It is a careful and purposeful re-reading of a
text.
O You, the reader, t...
Close Reading
O Close reading means not only reading and
understanding the meanings of the
individual printed words; it al...
Close Reading
O Close reading can be seen as four
separate levels of attention which we can
bring to the text.
O Most norm...
Close Reading
O Linguistic
O You pay especially close attention to the
surface linguistic elements of the text –
that is, ...
Close Reading
O Semantic
O You take account at a deeper level of
what the words mean – that is, what
information they yiel...
Close Reading
O Structural
O You note the possible relationships
between words within the text – and this
might include it...
Close Reading
O Cultural
O You note the relationship of any elements
of the text to things outside it.
O These might be ot...
Responding to Literature
O Responding to literature is when one
expresses a personal response to a work
of literature.
O A...
Responding to Literature
O The purpose of a response essay is to
convey your thoughts and feelings about a
literary work.
...
Responding to Literature
O In responding to literature you will reflect
on your background, values and attitudes
in respon...
Responding to Literature
O Focus on the important aspects of the
text.
O Main character, setting, them.
O Identify your ma...
Reacting to Literature
O Along with responding to
literature, reacting to literature is also NOT
a summary or paraphrase.
...
Analyzing the Reading
O To analyze something means to break it down
into smaller parts and then examine how
those parts wo...
Reacting to Literature
O A literary essay also isn’t like the kind of
book report you wrote when you were
younger, where y...
As you read, ask questions
O What struck you?
O Did a particular image, line, or scene linger in
your mind for a long time...
As you read, ask questions
O Ask yourself why the author chose to write
about that character or scene the way he
or she di...
As you read, ask questions
O Did you notice any patterns?
O Is there a phrase that the main character
uses constantly or
O...
As you read, ask questions
O Maybe the title (Happy Days) totally
disagrees with the book’s subject matter
(hungry orphans...
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Eng 112 responding and reacting to literature

  1. 1. Close Reading Responding and Reacting to Literature English 112 Mrs. Buchanan
  2. 2. Reading Literature O Before we discuss responding and reacting, there are some points to make about reading literature. O Most people read in a passive way. O The allow the story or poem to carry them along without asking many questions.
  3. 3. Reading Literature O In reading literature, you must read actively. O You need to pay special attention to various aspects of the text. O This will also help you deepen your enjoyment of the text. O Let’s talk about close reading – anyone familiar with it?
  4. 4. Close Reading O Does anyone know what this is? O It is a careful and purposeful re-reading of a text. O You, the reader, try to understand what the author has to say. O Is the most important skill you need for any form of literary studies. It means paying especially close attention to what is printed on the page. It is a much more subtle and complex process than the term might suggest.
  5. 5. Close Reading O Close reading means not only reading and understanding the meanings of the individual printed words; it also involves making yourself sensitive to all the nuances and connotations of language as it is used by skilled writers.
  6. 6. Close Reading O Close reading can be seen as four separate levels of attention which we can bring to the text. O Most normal people read without being aware of them, and employ all four simultaneously. O The four levels or types of reading become progressively more complex.
  7. 7. Close Reading O Linguistic O You pay especially close attention to the surface linguistic elements of the text – that is, to aspects of vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. You might also note such things as figures of speech or any other features which contribute to the writer’s individual style.
  8. 8. Close Reading O Semantic O You take account at a deeper level of what the words mean – that is, what information they yield up, what meanings they denote and connote.
  9. 9. Close Reading O Structural O You note the possible relationships between words within the text – and this might include items from either the linguistic or semantic types of reading.
  10. 10. Close Reading O Cultural O You note the relationship of any elements of the text to things outside it. O These might be other pieces of writing by the same author, or other writings of the same type by different writers. O They might be items of social or cultural history, or even other academic disciplines which might seem relevant, such as philosophy or psychology.
  11. 11. Responding to Literature O Responding to literature is when one expresses a personal response to a work of literature. O Although it does not require outside research, it does require careful reading, clear thinking, and honest writing.
  12. 12. Responding to Literature O The purpose of a response essay is to convey your thoughts and feelings about a literary work. O It is NOT a book report or summary. O It is what a reader experiences in reading and thinking about the text.
  13. 13. Responding to Literature O In responding to literature you will reflect on your background, values and attitudes in response to the work. O You may even think of the response as a ―conversation‖ with the text you have read. O What questions does it ask you? O What responses does it elicit or stimulate?
  14. 14. Responding to Literature O Focus on the important aspects of the text. O Main character, setting, them. O Identify your main ideas and present your point of view in a clear and organized way.
  15. 15. Reacting to Literature O Along with responding to literature, reacting to literature is also NOT a summary or paraphrase. O In reacting to reading you will analyze the reading.
  16. 16. Analyzing the Reading O To analyze something means to break it down into smaller parts and then examine how those parts work, both individually and together. O Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem— elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects. O A literary essay isn’t a book review: you’re not being asked whether you liked a book or whether you’d recommend it to another reader.
  17. 17. Reacting to Literature O A literary essay also isn’t like the kind of book report you wrote when you were younger, where your teacher wanted you to summarize the book’s action. O A college-level literary essay asks, ―How does this piece of literature actually work?‖ ―How does it do what it does?‖ and, ―Why might the author have made the choices he or she did?‖
  18. 18. As you read, ask questions O What struck you? O Did a particular image, line, or scene linger in your mind for a long time? O If it fascinated you, chances are you can draw on it to write a fascinating essay. O What confused you? O Maybe you were surprised to see a character act in a certain way, or maybe you didn’t understand why the book ended the way it did. O Confusing moments in a work of literature are like a loose thread in a sweater: If you pull on it, you can unravel the entire thing.
  19. 19. As you read, ask questions O Ask yourself why the author chose to write about that character or scene the way he or she did and you might tap into some important insights about the work as a whole.
  20. 20. As you read, ask questions O Did you notice any patterns? O Is there a phrase that the main character uses constantly or O an image that repeats throughout the book? Ifyou can figure out how that pattern weaves O through the work and its significance, you’ve almost got your entire essay mapped out. O Did you notice any contradictions or ironies? Great works of literature are complex; great O literary essays recognize and explain those complexities.
  21. 21. As you read, ask questions O Maybe the title (Happy Days) totally disagrees with the book’s subject matter (hungry orphans dying in the woods). O Maybe the main character acts one way around his family and a completely different way around his friends and associates. O If you can find a way to explain a work’s contradictory elements, you’ve got the seeds of a great essay.
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