Ex 2: Close Reading Group Exercise
Update, 18 Feb:The instructions are the same as they were for last time, except that I'm asking you to choose a passage from The Grapes of Wrath. I recognize that you will only have read the first half of the book, and I don't expect this paper to rely on knowledge that you could only get from reading the second half.
Review Foster for ideas on what to write about.
Here's a link to the handout that I first mentioned in class Feb 2: Close Reading
- Groups (as determined in class, Feb 17; Ex 2 is done in groups of four
and due in class Feb 23, Ex 3 is done groups of two and due online on
Friday, but otherwise the assignment is identical)
- Choose a text (1-2 pages of prose from Chapters 1-12 of The Grapes of Wrath)
- Read (and re-read, paying close attention to the actual words)
- Identify a theme (gender, nature, race, power, love, forgiveness, time, etc.)
- Search your chosen passage for additional or closely related references to that theme
- Take a stand
- About the Work Itself
(not about life in general, human nature in general, your personal opinions about the subject, real people or events that relate loosely to the literary work, or characters as if they are real people who are trapped within a literary work, or or events that took place during the time the work was written; not about any subject that you could have written about without ever having read the work)
- Defend your position.
Your goal for this exercise is not to come up with the "correct" answer, but rather to demonstrate that you can perform a close reading.
Remember that I grade on a four-point scale, so a 15 out of 20 is a B (which to me means "very good," "overall solid work with areas of excellence," "exceeds some expectations and meets all the rest")
Monday night, during class, I will quickly assess all the Ex 2 submissions.
I won't be able to give a numerical grade on the spot, and can't really promise one until the following Monday, but on Feb 23 I will sort the Ex 2 submissions according to
- PASS (none of your group members will need to do Ex 3 -- you are ready to start on Paper 1.)
- REVISE (I'll give you quick feedback in class, and encourage you to seek out more detailed feedback should you desire it; each group member will submit a separate revision, due online Friday. If your individual revision is successful, you won't need to do Ex 3 at all -- you are ready to start on Paper 1.)
- CONSULT (this means I haven't yet seen evidence that you can do a close reading, so I'd like to meet with you for one-on-one instruction. At that meeting, we will discuss a tailor-made Ex 3 assignment that will not only help you develop this skill, but also help you make progress on Paper 1.)