A passage of literature needs decoding. Always when considering a passage, Form and structure, language, context and themes should be in our minds. But I find the best way to understand the passage is to engage with it on four different planes of engagement: 1) The linguistic level- examining elements of vocabulary, grammar and syntax 2) The semantic level - what do the words mean? does one word mean several things? 3) The structural level - what are the relationships between words? how is the passage arranged to build on this relationship? 4) The cultural level- what is the text's wider meaning and context and how does this affect our reading of the text? Close reading relies on moving from the small details of the text to larger issues. Start with the words themselves before moving to the themes and ideas evoked by the passage overall. When writing the commentary carry out the opposite process to close reading. Begin with the larger issues and use the relevant details in the text as evidence.
One to one online tuition can be a great way to brush up on your English Literature knowledge.
Have a Free Meeting with one of our hand picked tutors from the UK’s top universitiesFind a tutor