MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

500 views

How do I do a close reading?

Close readings can often seem daunting but they are the easiest way to demonstrate familiarity with the text and to show that you understand that the specific choices that the author has had an impact on the meaning of the text.

1. Decide what you want to argue or explore through your close reading. This will help you focus your analysis and create a strong, structured argument.

2. Choose a passage to analyse. When looking at a novel or a play, try to find a passage where some of the themes of the overall text are being explored. For example, when looking at Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, it would be useful to look at the scene in which Frankenstein creates the monster as this links to the novels wider themes, such as the themes of science, parental responsibility and of monstrosity. When looking at a poem, find a line or two that express the overall themes of the poem.

3. Look at the narrative structure of the passage you have chosen. Assess who is speaking, who is being addressed, what tense is being used and what effect this has. For example, you might argue that the first person narrative of Jane Eyre helps readers to empathise with the protagonist as they see the world through her eyes and thus experience the alienation and loneliness that she experiences.

4. Look for any words that you find interesting. Why do they stand out? What connotations do they have? For example the use of the vocabulary ‘Devil’ which is repeated throughout ‘Frankenstein’ and is often used by Victor Frankenstein to refer to the monster has biblical connotations and makes readers the ethical consequences of Victor’s creation. It has horrific and scary connotations and these imply that the monster is inherently bad – a topic which the novel asks readers to debate. Moreover, this singular word implies that there is a hierarchy between Frankenstein and the monster: if the monster is a devil, Frankenstein must be an angel – this analysis gives us important information about how Victor perceives himself and helps us to question his character.

5. Look for any literary techniques contained within the passage. These include, but are not limited to: alliteration, antithesis, assonance, foreshadowing, hyperbole and imagery. What effects do these techniques have? Why have they been used? How do they link to the wider context of the text?

6. What punctuation has been used within the text? Has the author used short sentences to speed up the tempo and create suspense or to slow the reader down and make them reflect upon a certain sentiment?

7. Always ask why. Authors use specific words, punctuation and literary devices in order to create an effect. While you may never know the author’s intent you can speculate and can use your own response to the text to dig deeper and to uncover meanings.

8. Link back to the argument you are making and emphasise how your point has been strengthened by this close analysis.  

Francesca S. A Level English tutor, A Level English Language tutor, A...

2 years ago

Answered by Francesca, an A Level English Literature tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

79 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Claudia G.

Degree: English Language and Literature (Bachelors) - Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Extended Project Qualification+ 4 more

English Literature
Extended Project Qualification
English Language
.ELAT
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“Who? I am an English Language and Literature student at the University of Oxford, in the final year of my undergraduate degree. More than that, I am incredibly passionate about my subject and about spreading that enthusiasm. What? I a...”

£26 /hr

Grace G.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Sociology+ 3 more

English Literature
Sociology
History
English Language

“I am an English Literature student at Exeter University, and have always had a passion and love for writing and reading; I hope this will be evident in my tutorials, and I can make my students realise why English Literature is suchan ...”

£20 /hr

Veronica G.

Degree: CHA: English Literature, Spanish with French (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Spanish+ 7 more

English Literature
Spanish
Russian
French
English
.MLAT (Modern Languages)
.ELAT
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“About me: I have read English Literature, Spanish and French, as part of the Combined Honours in Arts programme at Durham University (graduated with 2:1 with Honours and a Year Abroad, Distinction in Spanish) and I am currently pursu...”

About the author

£20 /hr

Francesca S.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: English Literature, History+ 2 more

English Literature
History
English Language

“Top tutor from the renowned Russell university group, ready to help you improve your grades.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level English Literature questions

How should I approach unseen poetry?

How do I go about analysing a Shakespearean Sonnet?

How do I improve mt coursework?

Discuss feminism in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

View A Level English Literature tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok