Reading & AnalysisGeneral aims for this session:1.To learn how to analyse a critical/academictext, including: • Understanding of the overall argument • Awareness of the types of language used, and their effects1.To learn how to test the claims of an authorin terms of: • Internal consistency • Against an external objectJackson Pollock, Full Fathom Five, 1947
Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm, 1950Specific tasks: • In small groups: read and analyse• As a whole group: read and analyse Clement another piece of writing about Pollock. Greenberg’s 1952 review, paying particular attention to argument and language. • Come to an understanding of how• Produce a paraphrase of Greenberg’s review different writers construct the painter and his work.
The basics of analysis:1.ArgumentAt its most basic an argumentconsists of a claim and aconclusion.A claim is a proposition about theworld.A conclusion draws an inferencefrom this.‘Pollock is a great painter,therefore his paintings areinteresting.’You can spot a claim by lookingfor words like ‘is’ and ‘are’.You can spot a conclusion bylooking for words like ‘therefore’and ‘because’. Jackson Pollock, Eyes in the Heat, 1946
2. EvidenceMost arguments also requiresome evidence to support theclaim and conclusion.Evidence is generally astatement of fact.‘Greenberg says Pollock is agreat painter, therefore hispaintings are interesting.’Evidence provides a reason forbelieving the author’s claims.Evidence is often thedifference between opinionand argument.Jackson Pollock, Reflection of the BigDipper, 1947
Jackson Pollock, Mural, 19433. LanguageThis includes all kinds of things, such as:• Tone – is it authoritative or conversational? Is it matter-of-fact or poetic?• Vocabulary – is it specialised? Does it use jargon?• Sentence structure – short and punchy or long, complex sentences?• Metaphor – are metaphors used or avoided?Skilful language can be very persuasive, even when the argument is weak.
Jackson Pollock, Number 14, 19514. Testing an argument1.Internally 2. ExternallyAre the elements of the argument logically Do the claims accurately reflect the object?related to one another? Are there important parts of the object thatDoes the conclusion follow necessarily? are not reflected in the text?
Pollock’s 3 styles (according to Greenberg): 1. Semi- figurative (Guardians of the Secret, 1943) 2. Abstract (Cathedral, 1947) 3. semi-figurative (Portrait and a Dream, 1953)
Working in small groups:Who wrote it, and when?What is the writer’s position onJackson Pollock?Is it a strong or a weak argument?(give reasons)What evidence does the writer give?Jackson Pollock, Number 7, 1952