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Reading 
Literature 
Closely… 
and how the internet can help
An 
Overvie 
w 
of 
Reading 
Closely 
Literary Analysis requires that 
one not only read the text… 
Look closely at what the author 
is saying 
Look at how the author is 
saying it 
Pay attention to the small 
details 
Understand 
how all of 
this works 
together to 
create 
meaning
How to Read 
Closely 
 Re-read passages 
you did not 
understand the 
first time. 
 Never ignore 
anything that you 
don’t understand. 
 Keep working at 
difficult passages 
until they make 
sense.
A 
Framework 
for 
Reading 
Literature 
Closely 
 First Things First 
 Theme 
 Setting 
 Mood 
 Power Players 
 Point of View 
 Characters 
 Language 
 Vocabulary and word choice 
 Literary Techniques
First 
Things 
First 
Do your initial impressions 
What is the first 
thing you notice 
about the 
passage? 
• What mood 
does the 
passage 
create in you? 
Why? 
Complement? 
What is the 
second thing 
you notice? 
• What is the 
setting? 
• What themes 
can you 
identify? 
Or Contradict?
Big World of the Theme. 
Applies to the “Real” World. 
Identifying 
Themes 
Themes in literature are not often 
explicit (clearly stated). 
Themes are implied. 
Themes are bigger than the story. 
Small 
World 
of the 
Story
Setting: 
A Sense 
of Place 
• Writers emphasize place in various ways, 
through events, description, action, and 
repetition. 
• Some settings are relatively unimportant, 
but some are the most important part of 
understanding everything else about the 
story. 
• Settings serve as places for action and 
sometimes present obstacles. 
• The setting sets the mood and should put 
the reader into the right frame of mind to 
accept what then evolves in the plot. 
• Setting may include the time period, the 
geographic location, the region or culture, 
the place such as a house or business, 
etc.
Power 
Players Includes the 
•Voice of the narrator, 
also known as 
point of view 
•And the characters
Power 
Players 
cont. 
Point of View 
Usually the “voice” of the narrator 
• First person 
‒ The story is told from the point of view of a 
character 
‒ I, me, my, us, we, our 
‒ Because the reader sees the events from a 
character’s point of view, the reader becomes an 
insider 
• Second person 
‒ Author speaks to reader 
‒ Your, your, yours, yourself 
• Third person 
‒ An external narrator tells the story 
‒He, she, they, them, her, his 
‒ Readers can see the thoughts of all the characters 
more independently
Power 
players 
cont. 
Characters 
• Characters’ motives and/or traits impact the author’s 
purpose and the readers’ understanding of the 
literature 
• Characters can be either static (little change) or 
dynamic (growing emotionally, learning a lesson, or 
changing in behavior) 
• Characterization (character development) occurs 
through descriptions of appearance and/or personality, 
speech or dialogue, interactions among characters, or 
direct statements made by the author 
• Main Characters 
‒ Protagonist 
‒ Antagonist 
• Minor Characters 
‒ Often relevant to the plot, the themes, the meaning, 
the author’s purpose, and/or the symbolism
Language 
Literary Elements 
Or Techniques 
Word Choice 
Vocabulary 
Diction 
Connotations 
Not Present 
Patterns 
The words, sentences, and structures of the author’s language are relevant to 
understanding what you read when reading literature.
Language 
Vocabulary 
• Look up any unfamiliar words 
• Do any words have double 
meanings? 
Word Choice 
• Do any words stand out to you? 
Why? 
• Do any words seem oddly used 
to you? Why? 
• How do the important words 
relate to each other? 
Diction 
• Does the speech or dialect 
reflect a certain region? 
• How does it reflect on the 
characterization? 
Patterns 
• What is the sentence rhythm 
like? Short and choppy? Long 
and flowing? Evenly paced or 
variable? 
• Is there any repetition or 
intentionality in words, 
sentence structures, or even 
punctuation? 
• Is there rhythm? 
Connotations 
• Similes? Metaphors? 
• Symbolism? Imagery? 
• Do any of the objects, colors, 
animals, or plants have 
traditional connotations or 
meanings? 
• Is there a religious or historical 
reference? 
Not Present 
• What is left out or kept silent? 
What is missing? 
• Is the absence relevant? What 
is the purpose of the absence? 
• Something missing for the 
characters, or a limited point of 
view that prohibits a certain 
piece of relevant information?
How to Read 
Closely– 
Now what? 
 After reading and making note of important 
passages, try to find a unifying idea. 
 First, ask what the elements seem to be saying. 
 Any idea supported by the text is valid. There are no 
“crazy” or “stupid” ideas, unless there is no evidence 
from the text to support the claim. 
 Don’t try to relate everything you found in the story. 
Use the parts that create one unifying idea. 
◦ However, don’t ignore anything that contradicts this 
unifying idea. Remember to present and discuss any 
contradicting evidence you find.
A 
Framework 
for 
Reading 
Literature 
Closely 
 First Things First 
 Theme 
 Setting 
 Mood 
 Power Players 
 Point of View 
 Characters 
 Language 
 Vocabulary and word choice 
 Literary Techniques
How your 
internet can 
help… 
 http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/melvillestories/secti 
on6.rhtml 
 http://www.novelguide.com/benito-cereno/index 
 http://www.literaturesummary.com/benito-cereno-melville/ 
studyguides.html 
 www.schmoop.com 
 http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/w 
altz_elements.html 
 http://www.plagiarist.com/ 
 Others?
Part 2 
Reading Closely: Fiction 
Excerpt from Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno”
“Benito 
Cereno” by 
Herman 
Melville 
The morning was one peculiar to that 
coast. Everything was mute and calm; 
everything gray. The sea, though 
undulated into long roods of swells, seemed 
fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like 
waved lead that has cooled and set in the 
smelter’s mould. The sky seemed a gray 
surtout. Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith 
and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors 
among which they were mixed, skimmed 
low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows 
over meadows before storms. Shadows 
present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to 
come. 
Melville, Herman. “Benito Cereno.” Nation of Letter: A Concise Anthology of American Literature. 
Ed. Stephen Cushman and Paul Newlin. Vol. 1. St. James: Brandywine P, 1998. 278-315.
Sentence 1 
The morning was one 
peculiar to that coast. 
 Morning - ideas of a new day or 
beginning, light, sunrise 
 Peculiar - means distinct, characterizes a 
person place or thing, also the idea of 
different 
 Coast - near the sea, establishes setting
Sentence 2 
Everything was 
mute and calm; 
everything gray. 
 Mute - silent 
 Calm - tranquil, peaceful, quiet, 
everything is quiet and gray 
 Gray - color between black and white, 
dull, the cold of light at twilight, not 
bright or hopeful, dismal, gloomy, sad, 
depressing, cold and sunless
Sentence 3 
The sea, though undulated into long roods of 
swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the 
surface like waved lead that has cooled and set 
in the smelter’s mould. 
 Undulated - wavy markings, forming a waved surface 
 Roods - one meaning is a cross or a representation of a 
cross, another is a unit of linear measurement, 
 Swells - rising or heaving of the sea/water in succession of 
long rolling waves, as after a wind causing it has dropped, 
or due to a distant disturbance 
 Fixed - fastened securely, firmly resolved, stationary 
 Lead - gray, heavy metal 
 Smelter - one who fuses metal— 
 Here there is a Paradox - the sea is moving, has swells and 
undulated waves, yet it seems fixed, sleeked at the surface, 
and like lead 
 There is also a simile - the water is like lead
Sentence 4 
The sky seemed a 
gray surtout. 
 The color GRAY has become a 
dominant theme by this point. 
◦ May be important in the work—take 
note of the color, perhaps; 
 Surtout - a man’s great-coat or 
overcoat; a hood worn by women; 
outer covering 
◦ (We know from the OED that the word 
is obsolete now.)
Sentence 5 
(Part 1) 
Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with 
flights of troubled gray vapors among which 
they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over 
the waters, as swallows over meadows before 
storms. 
 Kith and Kin - country and kinsfolk, relatives, family 
 Vapors - matter in the form of a steamy or imperceptible 
exhalation, exhalation of nature of steam, usually due to the 
effect of heat on moisture; used figuratively to mean 
something insubstantial or worthless, sometimes to mean a 
fantastic idea, foolish brag or boast 
 Skim - to deal with, treat, or study very lightly without close 
attention, move over something with very slight contact, 
glance over without reading closely, pass over lightly without 
dwelling on or treating fully
Sentence 5 
(Part 2) 
Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin 
with flights of troubled gray vapors among 
which they were mixed, skimmed low and 
fitfully over the waters, as swallows over 
meadows before storms. 
 Storm - violent disturbance of affairs, whether civil, political, 
social, or domestic, commotion, sedition, tumult 
 So the birds—Fowl—are relatives in some way to the vapors— 
what does this mean? Why are they troubled? Note that there is 
more gray—These fowl are like “swallows over meadows before 
storms”—does this mean these “fowl” are foreshadowing a 
storm, as well (commonly believed that animals have some 
weather predicting capabilities)? 
 Is this a literal storm, or also some sort of storm in the story 
itself?
Sentence 6 
Shadows present, foreshadowing 
deeper shadows to come. 
 Shadow - comparative darkness, gloom, unhappiness, 
darkness of night or growing darkness after sunset; 
image cast by a body intercepting light; type of what 
is fleeting or ephemeral; delusive semblance or image; 
vain/unsubstantial object of pursuit; obscure 
indication, symbol, foreshadowing; imitation, copy; 
slight or faint appearance, small portion, trace 
◦ (Note how many meanings for one simple word 
that we all think we know) 
 Deeper - extension downward; profound, hard to get 
to the bottom of; grave, heinous; intense, profound, 
great in measure/degree; intense (color); penetrating; 
much immersed, involved, implicated, far advanced, 
far on
Sentence 6 
Shadows present, foreshadowing 
deeper shadows to come. 
 These shadows are also gray. 
 Shadows foreshadowing deeper shadows might be all signs 
on the water of a coming storm—the waves, the quiet, the 
birds, the vapors—how does this relate to the story? 
 Are their “deeper shadows” to come yet in the story itself? 
 The story itself starts gray, in shadow-like environment on the 
sea—also the word “foreshadowing” is in the passage.
Putting it 
Together 
 There is a lot of gray which signifies an in 
between state, not light or dark. 
◦ Not black or white (an association we use to mean 
right/wrong or good/bad). 
 Could these concepts be brought in simply by the color 
gray? 
 Also there is a storm, an idea of shadow, ideas of 
illusion versus reality are present. 
◦ The passage discusses ideas about things not being 
what they seem. 
 To fully analyze the work, we would need the rest 
of the story, but this brief passage in the 
introduction already sets up quite a few ideas for 
what might be coming.
Part 3 
Reading Closely: Poetry
Close 
Reading of 
Poetry – 
Overview 
Some elements of poetry to consider when close reading: 
 The speaker is not always the same as the poet. 
 Where is the poem taking place? 
 What kinds of figurative language are present? 
◦ Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Symbolism, Paradox, 
etc. 
 What kinds of imagery are in the poem? 
 What can be said about the sounds of words? 
◦ Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance, Onomatopoeia, etc. 
 What is the meter? (stressed, unstressed syllables) 
 What is the rhyme scheme? 
 What is the form of the poem? 
◦ Sonnet (14 Lines), How many stanzas?, Are there any 
refrains?
Shakespeare 
’s Sonnet 3 
1 Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest 
2 Now is the time that face should form another, 
3 Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest 
4 Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother. 
5 For where is she so fair whose uneared womb 
6 Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? 
7 Or who is he so fond will be the tomb 
8 Of his self-love, to stop posterity? 
9 Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee 
10 Calls back the lovely April of her prime 
11 So thou through windows of thine age shall see, 
12 Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time 
13 But if thou live, remembered not to be, 
14 Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
Rhyme 
Scheme 
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest 
Now is the time that face should form another, 
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest 
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother. 
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb 
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? 
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb 
Of his self-love, to stop posterity? 
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee 
Calls back the lovely April of her prime 
So thou through windows of thine age shall see, 
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time 
But if thou live, remembered not to be, 
Die single, and thine image dies with thee. 
A 
B 
A 
B 
C 
D 
C 
D 
D 
E 
D 
E 
D 
D 
• This is a Shakespearean sonnet. 
• The rhyme scheme is: ABABCDCDDEDEDD 
• 
This is a variant from the standard Shakespearean rhyme schemes of: 
• ABABCDCDEFEFGG 
• ABBACDDCEFFEGG 
• The rhyme 
scheme shows 
possible turning 
points in a 
sonnet. 
• Areas that 
break the 
rhyme pattern 
or don’t quite 
rhyme often 
draw attention 
to important 
words or ideas.
Meter 
/ U / U / U / U / U / 
1 Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest 
/ U / U / U / U / U / 
2 Now is the time that face should form another, 
U / U / U / U / U / U 
3 Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest 
 Meter is important because areas where the meter falters 
obviously could suggest important portions or words in the poem. 
 Look for stressed and unstressed syllables. 
 Count how many syllables are in the line. 
 What might extra syllables suggest?
Speaker 
 Look at the speaker 
of the poem—is it a 
man or woman? 
How can you tell? 
◦ The speaker is not 
always the same as 
the poet. 
 Though the poet is 
Shakespeare, he is 
not necessarily the 
speaker. 
 To Whom is the 
poem addressed? 
 Also, think about 
the theme of the 
poem 
◦ Is this a love poem? 
◦ Is it something else?
Meanings of 
Words 
 Look for words that 
you don’t understand 
or that might be 
important 
 Look words up in the 
Oxford English 
Dictionary (OED) 
 In a poem, especially 
short poems, all words 
are important. 
Beguile – 
 1. To entangle or 
over-reach with guile; 
to delude, deceive, 
cheat. 
 2. To deprive of by 
fraud, to cheat out of. 
 3. To cheat (hopes, 
expectations, aims, 
or a person in them); 
to disappoint, to foil, 
 4. To win the 
attention or interest 
of (any one) by wiling 
means, 
 5. To divert attention 
in some pleasant way 
from (anything 
painful, or irksome)
Figurative 
Language 
 Look for figurative language and other poetic elements 
in the poem. 
◦ simile, metaphor, symbolism, imagery etc. 
 Metaphor – “Thou art thy mother’s glass” 
 Symbolism & Imagery – glass, meaning mirror, is a 
symbol throughout the poem. 
 Symbolism & Imagery – living, life, death, youth, 
children, mother
Having 
Troubles? 
 If you have troubles figuring out the language, try paraphrasing 
line by line, or sentence by sentence… 
 See the example below: 
Image from: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/3detail.html

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Reading literature

  • 1. Reading Literature Closely… and how the internet can help
  • 2. An Overvie w of Reading Closely Literary Analysis requires that one not only read the text… Look closely at what the author is saying Look at how the author is saying it Pay attention to the small details Understand how all of this works together to create meaning
  • 3. How to Read Closely  Re-read passages you did not understand the first time.  Never ignore anything that you don’t understand.  Keep working at difficult passages until they make sense.
  • 4. A Framework for Reading Literature Closely  First Things First  Theme  Setting  Mood  Power Players  Point of View  Characters  Language  Vocabulary and word choice  Literary Techniques
  • 5. First Things First Do your initial impressions What is the first thing you notice about the passage? • What mood does the passage create in you? Why? Complement? What is the second thing you notice? • What is the setting? • What themes can you identify? Or Contradict?
  • 6. Big World of the Theme. Applies to the “Real” World. Identifying Themes Themes in literature are not often explicit (clearly stated). Themes are implied. Themes are bigger than the story. Small World of the Story
  • 7. Setting: A Sense of Place • Writers emphasize place in various ways, through events, description, action, and repetition. • Some settings are relatively unimportant, but some are the most important part of understanding everything else about the story. • Settings serve as places for action and sometimes present obstacles. • The setting sets the mood and should put the reader into the right frame of mind to accept what then evolves in the plot. • Setting may include the time period, the geographic location, the region or culture, the place such as a house or business, etc.
  • 8. Power Players Includes the •Voice of the narrator, also known as point of view •And the characters
  • 9. Power Players cont. Point of View Usually the “voice” of the narrator • First person ‒ The story is told from the point of view of a character ‒ I, me, my, us, we, our ‒ Because the reader sees the events from a character’s point of view, the reader becomes an insider • Second person ‒ Author speaks to reader ‒ Your, your, yours, yourself • Third person ‒ An external narrator tells the story ‒He, she, they, them, her, his ‒ Readers can see the thoughts of all the characters more independently
  • 10. Power players cont. Characters • Characters’ motives and/or traits impact the author’s purpose and the readers’ understanding of the literature • Characters can be either static (little change) or dynamic (growing emotionally, learning a lesson, or changing in behavior) • Characterization (character development) occurs through descriptions of appearance and/or personality, speech or dialogue, interactions among characters, or direct statements made by the author • Main Characters ‒ Protagonist ‒ Antagonist • Minor Characters ‒ Often relevant to the plot, the themes, the meaning, the author’s purpose, and/or the symbolism
  • 11. Language Literary Elements Or Techniques Word Choice Vocabulary Diction Connotations Not Present Patterns The words, sentences, and structures of the author’s language are relevant to understanding what you read when reading literature.
  • 12. Language Vocabulary • Look up any unfamiliar words • Do any words have double meanings? Word Choice • Do any words stand out to you? Why? • Do any words seem oddly used to you? Why? • How do the important words relate to each other? Diction • Does the speech or dialect reflect a certain region? • How does it reflect on the characterization? Patterns • What is the sentence rhythm like? Short and choppy? Long and flowing? Evenly paced or variable? • Is there any repetition or intentionality in words, sentence structures, or even punctuation? • Is there rhythm? Connotations • Similes? Metaphors? • Symbolism? Imagery? • Do any of the objects, colors, animals, or plants have traditional connotations or meanings? • Is there a religious or historical reference? Not Present • What is left out or kept silent? What is missing? • Is the absence relevant? What is the purpose of the absence? • Something missing for the characters, or a limited point of view that prohibits a certain piece of relevant information?
  • 13. How to Read Closely– Now what?  After reading and making note of important passages, try to find a unifying idea.  First, ask what the elements seem to be saying.  Any idea supported by the text is valid. There are no “crazy” or “stupid” ideas, unless there is no evidence from the text to support the claim.  Don’t try to relate everything you found in the story. Use the parts that create one unifying idea. ◦ However, don’t ignore anything that contradicts this unifying idea. Remember to present and discuss any contradicting evidence you find.
  • 14. A Framework for Reading Literature Closely  First Things First  Theme  Setting  Mood  Power Players  Point of View  Characters  Language  Vocabulary and word choice  Literary Techniques
  • 15. How your internet can help…  http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/melvillestories/secti on6.rhtml  http://www.novelguide.com/benito-cereno/index  http://www.literaturesummary.com/benito-cereno-melville/ studyguides.html  www.schmoop.com  http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/w altz_elements.html  http://www.plagiarist.com/  Others?
  • 16. Part 2 Reading Closely: Fiction Excerpt from Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno”
  • 17. “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville The morning was one peculiar to that coast. Everything was mute and calm; everything gray. The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter’s mould. The sky seemed a gray surtout. Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come. Melville, Herman. “Benito Cereno.” Nation of Letter: A Concise Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Stephen Cushman and Paul Newlin. Vol. 1. St. James: Brandywine P, 1998. 278-315.
  • 18. Sentence 1 The morning was one peculiar to that coast.  Morning - ideas of a new day or beginning, light, sunrise  Peculiar - means distinct, characterizes a person place or thing, also the idea of different  Coast - near the sea, establishes setting
  • 19. Sentence 2 Everything was mute and calm; everything gray.  Mute - silent  Calm - tranquil, peaceful, quiet, everything is quiet and gray  Gray - color between black and white, dull, the cold of light at twilight, not bright or hopeful, dismal, gloomy, sad, depressing, cold and sunless
  • 20. Sentence 3 The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter’s mould.  Undulated - wavy markings, forming a waved surface  Roods - one meaning is a cross or a representation of a cross, another is a unit of linear measurement,  Swells - rising or heaving of the sea/water in succession of long rolling waves, as after a wind causing it has dropped, or due to a distant disturbance  Fixed - fastened securely, firmly resolved, stationary  Lead - gray, heavy metal  Smelter - one who fuses metal—  Here there is a Paradox - the sea is moving, has swells and undulated waves, yet it seems fixed, sleeked at the surface, and like lead  There is also a simile - the water is like lead
  • 21. Sentence 4 The sky seemed a gray surtout.  The color GRAY has become a dominant theme by this point. ◦ May be important in the work—take note of the color, perhaps;  Surtout - a man’s great-coat or overcoat; a hood worn by women; outer covering ◦ (We know from the OED that the word is obsolete now.)
  • 22. Sentence 5 (Part 1) Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms.  Kith and Kin - country and kinsfolk, relatives, family  Vapors - matter in the form of a steamy or imperceptible exhalation, exhalation of nature of steam, usually due to the effect of heat on moisture; used figuratively to mean something insubstantial or worthless, sometimes to mean a fantastic idea, foolish brag or boast  Skim - to deal with, treat, or study very lightly without close attention, move over something with very slight contact, glance over without reading closely, pass over lightly without dwelling on or treating fully
  • 23. Sentence 5 (Part 2) Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms.  Storm - violent disturbance of affairs, whether civil, political, social, or domestic, commotion, sedition, tumult  So the birds—Fowl—are relatives in some way to the vapors— what does this mean? Why are they troubled? Note that there is more gray—These fowl are like “swallows over meadows before storms”—does this mean these “fowl” are foreshadowing a storm, as well (commonly believed that animals have some weather predicting capabilities)?  Is this a literal storm, or also some sort of storm in the story itself?
  • 24. Sentence 6 Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come.  Shadow - comparative darkness, gloom, unhappiness, darkness of night or growing darkness after sunset; image cast by a body intercepting light; type of what is fleeting or ephemeral; delusive semblance or image; vain/unsubstantial object of pursuit; obscure indication, symbol, foreshadowing; imitation, copy; slight or faint appearance, small portion, trace ◦ (Note how many meanings for one simple word that we all think we know)  Deeper - extension downward; profound, hard to get to the bottom of; grave, heinous; intense, profound, great in measure/degree; intense (color); penetrating; much immersed, involved, implicated, far advanced, far on
  • 25. Sentence 6 Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come.  These shadows are also gray.  Shadows foreshadowing deeper shadows might be all signs on the water of a coming storm—the waves, the quiet, the birds, the vapors—how does this relate to the story?  Are their “deeper shadows” to come yet in the story itself?  The story itself starts gray, in shadow-like environment on the sea—also the word “foreshadowing” is in the passage.
  • 26. Putting it Together  There is a lot of gray which signifies an in between state, not light or dark. ◦ Not black or white (an association we use to mean right/wrong or good/bad).  Could these concepts be brought in simply by the color gray?  Also there is a storm, an idea of shadow, ideas of illusion versus reality are present. ◦ The passage discusses ideas about things not being what they seem.  To fully analyze the work, we would need the rest of the story, but this brief passage in the introduction already sets up quite a few ideas for what might be coming.
  • 27. Part 3 Reading Closely: Poetry
  • 28. Close Reading of Poetry – Overview Some elements of poetry to consider when close reading:  The speaker is not always the same as the poet.  Where is the poem taking place?  What kinds of figurative language are present? ◦ Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Symbolism, Paradox, etc.  What kinds of imagery are in the poem?  What can be said about the sounds of words? ◦ Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance, Onomatopoeia, etc.  What is the meter? (stressed, unstressed syllables)  What is the rhyme scheme?  What is the form of the poem? ◦ Sonnet (14 Lines), How many stanzas?, Are there any refrains?
  • 29. Shakespeare ’s Sonnet 3 1 Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest 2 Now is the time that face should form another, 3 Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest 4 Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother. 5 For where is she so fair whose uneared womb 6 Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? 7 Or who is he so fond will be the tomb 8 Of his self-love, to stop posterity? 9 Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee 10 Calls back the lovely April of her prime 11 So thou through windows of thine age shall see, 12 Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time 13 But if thou live, remembered not to be, 14 Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
  • 30. Rhyme Scheme Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest Now is the time that face should form another, Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother. For where is she so fair whose uneared womb Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? Or who is he so fond will be the tomb Of his self-love, to stop posterity? Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime So thou through windows of thine age shall see, Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time But if thou live, remembered not to be, Die single, and thine image dies with thee. A B A B C D C D D E D E D D • This is a Shakespearean sonnet. • The rhyme scheme is: ABABCDCDDEDEDD • This is a variant from the standard Shakespearean rhyme schemes of: • ABABCDCDEFEFGG • ABBACDDCEFFEGG • The rhyme scheme shows possible turning points in a sonnet. • Areas that break the rhyme pattern or don’t quite rhyme often draw attention to important words or ideas.
  • 31. Meter / U / U / U / U / U / 1 Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest / U / U / U / U / U / 2 Now is the time that face should form another, U / U / U / U / U / U 3 Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest  Meter is important because areas where the meter falters obviously could suggest important portions or words in the poem.  Look for stressed and unstressed syllables.  Count how many syllables are in the line.  What might extra syllables suggest?
  • 32. Speaker  Look at the speaker of the poem—is it a man or woman? How can you tell? ◦ The speaker is not always the same as the poet.  Though the poet is Shakespeare, he is not necessarily the speaker.  To Whom is the poem addressed?  Also, think about the theme of the poem ◦ Is this a love poem? ◦ Is it something else?
  • 33. Meanings of Words  Look for words that you don’t understand or that might be important  Look words up in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)  In a poem, especially short poems, all words are important. Beguile –  1. To entangle or over-reach with guile; to delude, deceive, cheat.  2. To deprive of by fraud, to cheat out of.  3. To cheat (hopes, expectations, aims, or a person in them); to disappoint, to foil,  4. To win the attention or interest of (any one) by wiling means,  5. To divert attention in some pleasant way from (anything painful, or irksome)
  • 34. Figurative Language  Look for figurative language and other poetic elements in the poem. ◦ simile, metaphor, symbolism, imagery etc.  Metaphor – “Thou art thy mother’s glass”  Symbolism & Imagery – glass, meaning mirror, is a symbol throughout the poem.  Symbolism & Imagery – living, life, death, youth, children, mother
  • 35. Having Troubles?  If you have troubles figuring out the language, try paraphrasing line by line, or sentence by sentence…  See the example below: Image from: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/3detail.html

Editor's Notes

  1. Rewrite sentence on left to read: Literary analysis requires that one read the text by looking closely at both what the author is saying and how the author is saying it. Change the right to: When conducting a close reading, readers should look at the small . . .
  2. Should it be “find” rather than “found”? (everything else is in present tense)
  3. Why is sentence 6 discussed twice? If it’s a continuation, write Sentence Six, Continued
  4. Should be: to consider when reading closely:
  5. Why Whom (right, top) rather than whom?
  6. Say where the definition came from? OED?