Major Essay: Close Reading( ****AN EXAMPLE VIDEO,

Major Essay: Close Reading( ****AN EXAMPLE VIDEO,*****)
For your major essay of the semester, you will perform a close reading of any text from our
syllabus. Below are guidelines and steps that will lead you through the process of choosing
a passage and crafting an essay in which you talk about its context and greater significance
in the work from which it is taken.
Your essay should be 1000-1200 words.
Please use MLA format (double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font, with 1″ margins).
Always use present tense when talking about literature.
Guidelines for Close Reading:
1. Select a passage of your own choosing and include it in your paper. The length of the
passage should be roughly 3-8 sentences or about 100 words. It should appear between
the title and the body of your paper. This part and only this part of the paper should be
single-spaced (and does not count toward your total word count).
2. After selecting a passage, you should contextualize it (i.e. identify its importance or
relevance to the rest of the text), and then you should proceed to interpret the passage—
pay attention to word choice and definition, syntax, and the use of recurrent motifs or
images in addition to the “content” of the selection. Note: You may cite and interpret
other passages from the text to support your reading of the passage.
3. Structure your interpretation of the passage around a single argument or question (in
other words, you should “commit” to one guiding interpretation of the passage).
4. Your paper must have a title (please feel free to be creative).
5. You must include at least two secondary sources in your paper. You will demonstrate
how your reading of the text’s meaning is in conversation with other literary scholars.
Remember to choose articles/books published within the past 10-15 years and scholars
from major, peer-reviewed journals.

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