introduction to a close reading essay

How to Do a Close Reading

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Close Reading Fundamentals

How to choose a passage to close-read, how to approach a close reading, how to annotate a passage, how to improve your close reading, how to practice close reading, how to incorporate close readings into an essay, how to teach close reading, additional resources for advanced students.

Close reading engages with the formal properties of a text—its literary devices, language, structure, and style. Popularized in the mid-twentieth century, this way of reading allows you to interpret a text without outside information such as historical context, author biography, philosophy, or political ideology. It also requires you to put aside your affective (that is, personal and emotional) response to the text, focusing instead on objective study. Why close-read a text? Doing so will increase your understanding of how a piece of writing works, as well as what it means. Perhaps most importantly, close reading can help you develop and support an essay argument. In this guide, you'll learn more about what close reading entails and find strategies for producing precise, creative close readings. We've included a section with resources for teachers, along with a final section with further reading for advanced students.

You might compare close reading to wringing out a wet towel, in which you twist the material repeatedly until you have extracted as much liquid as possible. When you close-read, you'll return to a short passage several times in order to note as many details about its form and content as possible. Use the links below to learn more about close reading's place in literary history and in the classroom.

"Close Reading" (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia's relatively short introduction to close reading contains sections on background, examples, and how to teach close reading. You can also click the links on this page to learn more about the literary critics who pioneered the method.

"Close Reading: A Brief Note" (

This article provides a condensed discussion of what close reading is, how it works, and how it is different from other ways of reading a literary text.

"What Close Reading Actually Means" ( TeachThought )

In this article by an Ed.D., you'll learn what close reading "really means" in the classroom today—a meaning that has shifted significantly from its original place in 20th century literary criticism.

"Close Reading" (Univ. of Washington)

This hand-out from a college writing course defines close reading, suggests  why  we close-read, and offers tips for close reading successfully, including focusing on language, audience, and scope.

"Glossary Entry on New Criticism" (Poetry Foundation)

If you'd like to read a short introduction to the school of thought that gave rise to close reading, this is the place to go. Poetry Foundation's entry on New Criticism is concise and accessible.

"New Criticism" (Washington State Univ.)

This webpage from a college writing course offers another brief explanation of close reading in relation to New Criticism. It provides some key questions to help you think like a New Critic.

When choosing a passage to close-read, you'll want to look for relatively short bits of text that are rich in detail. The resources below offer more tips and tricks for selecting passages, along with links to pre-selected passages you can print for use at home or in the classroom.

"How to Choose the Perfect Passage for Close Reading" ( We Are Teachers )

This post from a former special education teacher describes six characteristics you might look for when selecting a close reading passage from a novel: beginnings, pivotal plot points, character changes, high-density passages, "Q&A" passages, and "aesthetic" passages. 

"Close Reading Passages" (Reading Sage)

Reading Sage provides links to close reading passages you can use as is; alternatively, you could also use them as models for selecting your own passages. The page is divided into sections geared toward elementary, middle school, and early high school students.

"Close Reading" (Univ. of Guelph)

The University of Guelph's guide to close reading contains a short section on how to "Select a Passage." The author suggests that you choose a brief passage. 

"Close Reading Advice" (Prezi)

This Prezi was created by an AP English teacher. The opening section on passage selection suggests choosing "thick paragraphs" filled with "figurative language and rich details or description."

Now that you know how to select a passage to analyze, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the textual qualities you should look for when reading. Whether you're approaching a poem, a novel, or a magazine article, details on the level of language (literary devices) and form (formal features) convey meaning. Understanding  how  a text communicates will help you understand  what  it is communicating. The links in this section will familiarize you with the tools you need to start a close reading.

Literary Devices

"Literary Devices and Terms" (LitCharts)

LitCharts' dedicated page covers 130+ literary devices. Also known as "rhetorical devices," "figures of speech," or "elements of style," these linguistic constructions are the building blocks of literature. Some of the most common include  simile , metaphor , alliteration , and onomatopoeia ; browse the links on LitCharts to learn about many more. 

"Rhetorical Device" (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia's page on rhetorical devices defines the term in relation to the ancient art of "rhetoric" or persuasive speaking. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to several online handbooks and lists of rhetorical devices.

"15 Must Know Rhetorical Terms for AP English Literature" ( Albert )

The  Albert blog   offers this list of 15 rhetorical devices that high school English students should know how to define and spot in a literary text; though geared toward the Advanced Placement exam, its tips are widely applicable.

"The 55 AP Language and Composition Terms You Must Know" (PrepScholar)

This blog post lists 55 terms high school students should learn how to recognize and define for the Advanced Placement exam in English Literature.

Formal Features

In LitCharts' bank of literary devices and terms, you'll also find resources to describe a text's structure and overall character. Some of the most important of these are  rhyme , meter , and  tone ; browse the page to find more. 

"Rhythm" ( Encyclopedia Britannica )

This encyclopedia entry on rhythm and meter offers an in-depth definition of the two most fundamental aspects of poetry.

"How to Analyze Syntax for AP English Literature" ( Albert)

The Albert blog will help you understand what "syntax" is, making a case for why you should pay attention to sentence structure when analyzing a literary text.

"Grammar Basics: Sentence Parts and Sentence Structures" ( ThoughtCo )

This article provides a meticulous overview of the components of a sentence. It's useful if you need to review your parts of speech or if you need to be able to identify things like prepositional phrases.

"Style, Diction, Tone, and Voice" (Wheaton College)

Wheaton College's Writing Center offers this clear, concise discussion of several important formal features. Although it's designed to help essay writers, it will also help you understand and spot these stylistic features in others' work. 

Now that you know what rhetorical devices, formal features, and other details to look for, you're ready to find them in a text. For this purpose, it is crucial to annotate (write notes) as you read and re-read. Each time you return to the text, you'll likely notice something new; these observations will form the basis of your close reading. The resources in this section offer some concrete strategies for annotating literary texts.

"How to Annotate a Text" (LitCharts)

Begin by consulting our  How to Annotate a Text  guide. This collection of links and resources is helpful for short passages (that is, those for close reading) as well as longer works, like whole novels or poems.

"Annotation Guide" (Covington Catholic High School)

This hand-out from a high school teacher will help you understand why we annotate, and how to annotate a text successfully. You might choose to incorporate some of the interpretive notes and symbols suggested here.

"Annotating Literature" (New Canaan Public Schools)

This one-page, introductory resource provides a list of 10 items you should look for when reading a text, including attitude and theme.

"Purposeful Annotation" (Dave Stuart Jr.)

This article from a high school teacher's blog describes the author's top close reading strategy: purposeful annotation. In fact, this teacher more or less equates close reading with annotation.

Looking for ways to improve your close reading? The articles, guides, and videos in this section will expose you to various methods of close reading, as well as practice exercises. No two people read exactly the same way. Whatever your level of expertise, it can be useful to broaden your skill set by testing the techniques suggested by the resources below.

"How to Do a Close Reading" (Harvard College Writing Center)

This article, part of Harvard's comprehensive "Strategies for Essay Writing Guide," describes three steps to a successful close reading. You will want to return to this resource when incorporating your close reading into an essay.

"A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis" (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center)

Working through this guide from another college writing center will help you move through the process of close reading a text. You'll find a sample analysis of Robert Frost's "Design" at the end.

"How to Do a Close Reading of a Text" (YouTube)

This four-minute video from the "Literacy and Math Ideas" channel offers a number of helpful tips for reading a text closely in accordance with Common Core standards.

"Poetry: Close Reading" (Purdue OWL)

Short, dense poems are a natural fit for the close reading approach. This page from the Purdue Online Writing Lab takes you step-by-step through an analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.

"Steps for Close Reading or Explication de Texte" ( The Literary Link )

This page, which mentions close reading's close relationship to the French formalist method of  "explication de texte," shares "12 Steps to Literary Awareness."

You can practice your close reading skills by reading, re-reading and annotating any brief passage of text. The resources below will get you started by offering pre-selected passages and questions to guide your reading. You'll find links to resources that are designed for students of all levels, from elementary school through college.

"Notes on Close Reading" (MIT Open Courseware)

This resource describes steps you can work through when close reading, providing a passage from Mary Shelley's  Frankenstein  for you to test your skills.

"Close Reading Practice Worksheets" (Gillian Duff's English Resources)

Here, you'll find 10 close reading-centered worksheets you can download and print. The "higher-close-reading-formula" link at the bottom of the page provides a chart with even more steps and strategies for close reading.

"Close Reading Activities" (Education World)

The four activities described on this page are best suited to elementary and middle school students. Under each heading is a link to handouts or detailed descriptions of the activity.

"Close Reading Practice Passages: High School" (Varsity Tutors)

This webpage from Varsity Tutors contains over a dozen links to close reading passages and exercises, including several resources that focus on close-reading satire.

"Benjamin Franklin's Satire of Witch Hunting" (America in Class)

This page contains both a "teacher's guide" and "student version" to interpreting Benjamin Franklin's satire of a witch trial. The thirteen close reading questions on the right side of the page will help you analyze the text thoroughly.

Whether you're writing a research paper or an essay, close reading can help you build an argument. Careful analysis of your primary texts allows you to draw out meanings you want to emphasize, thereby supporting your central claim. The resources in this section introduce you to strategies suited to various common writing assignments.

"How to Write a Research Paper" (LitCharts)

The resources in this guide will help you learn to formulate a thesis, organize evidence, write an outline, and draft a research paper, one of the two most common assignments in which you might incorporate close reading.

"How to Write an Essay" (LitCharts)

In this guide, you'll learn how to plan, draft, and revise an essay, whether for the classroom or as a take-home assignment. Close reading goes hand in hand with the brainstorming and drafting processes for essay writing.

"Guide to the Close Reading Essay" (Univ. of Warwick)

This guide was designed for undergraduates, and assumes prior knowledge of formal features and rhetorical devices one might find in a poem. High schoolers will find it useful after addressing the "elements of a close reading" section above.

"Beginning the Academic Essay" (Harvard College Writing Center)

Harvard's guide discusses the broader category of the "academic essay." Here, the author assumes that your essay's close readings will be accompanied by context and evidence from secondary sources. 

A Short Guide to Writing About Literature (Amazon)

Sylvan Barnet and William E. Cain emphasize that writing is a process. In their book, you'll find definitions of important literary terms, examples of successful explications of literary texts, and checklists for essay writers.

Due in part to the Common Core's emphasis on close reading skills, resources for teaching students how to close-read abound. Here, you'll find a wealth of information on how and why we teach students to close-read texts. The first section includes links to activities, exercises, and complete lesson plans. The second section offers background material on the method, along with strategies for implementing close reading in the classroom.

Lesson Plans and Activities

"Four Lessons for Introducing the Fundamental Steps of Close Reading" (Corwin)

Here, Corwin has made the second chapter of Nancy Akhavan's  The Nonfiction Now Lesson Bank, Grades 4 – 8 available online. You'll find four sample lessons to use in the elementary or middle school classroom

"Sonic Patterns: Exploring Poetic Techniques Through Close Reading" ( ReadWriteThink )

This lesson plan for high school students includes material for five 50-minute sessions on sonic patterns (including consonance, assonance, and alliteration). The literary text at hand is Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."

"Close Reading of a Short Text: Complete Lesson" (McGraw Hill via YouTube)

This eight-minute video describes a complete lesson in which a teacher models close reading of a short text and offers guiding questions.

"Close Reading Model Lessons" (Achieve the Core)

These three model lessons on close reading will help you determine what makes a text "appropriately complex" for the grade level you teach.

Close Reading Bundle (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This top-rated bundle of close reading resources was designed for the middle school classroom. It contains over 150 pages of worksheets, complete lesson plans, and literacy center ideas.

"10 Intriguing Photos to Teach Close Reading and Visual Thinking Skills" ( The New York Times )

The New York Times' s Learning Network has gathered 10 photos from the "What's Going on in This Picture" series that teachers can use to help students develop analytical and visual thinking skills.

"The Close Reading Essay" (Brandeis Univ.)

Brandeis University's writing program offers this detailed set of guidelines and goals you might use when assigning a close reading essay.

Close Reading Resources (Varsity Tutors)

Varsity Tutors has compiled a list of over twenty links to lesson plans, strategies, and activities for teaching elementary, middle school, and high school students to close read.

Background Material and Teaching Strategies

Falling in Love with Close Reading (Amazon)

Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts aim to show how close reading can be "rigorous, meaningful, and joyous." It offers a three-step "close reading ritual" and engaging lesson plans.

Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading (Amazon)

Kylene Beers (a former Senior Reading Researcher at Yale) and Robert E. Probst (a Professor Emeritus of English Education) introduce six "signposts" readers can use to detect significant moments in a work of literature.

"How to Do a Close Reading" (YouTube)

TeachLikeThis offers this four-minute video on teaching students to close-read by looking at a text's language, narrative, syntax, and context.

"Strategy Guide: Close Reading of a Literary Text" ( ReadWriteThink )

This guide for middle school and high school teachers will help you choose texts that are appropriately complex for the grade level you teach, and offers strategies for planning engaging lessons.

"Close Reading Steps for Success" (Appletastic Learning)

Shelly Rees, a teacher with over 20 years of experience, introduces six helpful steps you can use to help your students engage with challenging reading passages. The article is geared toward elementary and middle school teachers.

"4 Steps to Boost Students' Close Reading Skills" ( Amplify )

Doug Fisher, a professor of educational leadership, suggests using these four steps to help students at any grade level learn how to close read. 

Like most tools of literary analysis, close reading has a complex history. It's not necessary to understand the theoretical underpinnings of close reading in order to use this tool. For advanced high school students and college students who ask "why close-read," though, the resources below will serve as useful starting points for discussion.

"Discipline and Parse: The Politics of Close Reading" ( Los Angeles Review of Books )

This book review by a well-known English professor at Columbia provides an engaging, anecdotal introduction to close reading's place in literary history. Robbins points to some of the method's shortcomings, but also elegantly defends it.

"Intentional Fallacy" ( Encyclopedia Britannica )

The literary critics who developed close reading cautioned against judging a text based on the author's intention. This encyclopedia entry offers an expanded definition of this way of reading, called the "intentional fallacy."

"Seven Types of Ambiguity" (Wikipedia)

This Wikipedia article will introduce you to William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity  (1930), one of the foundational texts of New Criticism, the school of thought that theorized close reading.

"What is Distant Reading" ( The New York Times)

This article makes it clear that "close reading" isn't the only way to analyze literary texts. It offers a brief introduction to the "distant reading" method of computational criticism pioneered by Franco Moretti in recent years.

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How to Write a Close Reading Essay: Full Guide with Examples

How to Write a Close Reading Essay: Full Guide with Examples

writing Close Reading Essay

writing Close Reading Essay

There is no doubt that close-reading essays are on the rise these days. And for a good reason — it is a powerful technique that can help you make your mark as a student and showcase your understanding of the text.

In this type of writing, readers will read the literary text carefully and interpret it from various points of view. Read on.

introduction to a close reading essay

Also Read: Does Turnitin Check Other Students’ Papers to Check Similarity

What is a Close Reading Essay?

essay writing

A close-reading essay is an in-depth analysis of a literary work. It can be used to support a thesis statement or as a research paper.

A close-reading essay focuses on the tiny themes inherent in a literary passage, story, or poem.

The focus of this type of essay is on critical thinking and analysis. The author will look at the small details that make up the overall meaning of a text.

The author will also consider how these tiny themes relate to each other and how they are presented within the text.

The key areas where a close reading essay focuses include:

  • Motivation and setting – This includes why the author wrote the piece and their purpose when they chose to write it. You can explore this through character analysis as well as themes that are common across multiple works.
  • Characters:  While characters may or may not have any significance in an overall plot, they can make up many of the elements discussed in this essay. For example, if you were analyzing Hamlet, then you would want to look at how Hamlet’s character affects his motivation for suicide (which is directly related to his madness) and how it relates to his relationship with Ophelia.

Also Read: How to Answer “to what Extent” Question in Research & Examples

How to Write a Close Reading Essay -Step-By-Step Guide

1. read the selected text at least three additional times.

Analyze the text using your critical thinking skills. What are the author’s main points and purposes? How does the author develop these points? What evidence does he or she use to support these points? How do other writers in the field of the study compare with this author’s views?

compare and contrast

Compare and contrast this author’s point of view with other writers in your field of study. What is their purpose in writing? What evidence do they use to support their positions?

How do they compare with this writer’s views?

2. Underline Portions of the Text that you Find Significant or Odd

The purpose of this section is to give the reader a sense of the author’s tone and approach to the subject.

A close-reading essay should be read at least twice, preferably three times. Underline or highlight any portions of the text that you find odd or significant.

Ask yourself: What does this mean? How does this affect my view of the work? What questions do I have now that I didn’t have before?

Take notes on what you think might be important. You may want to write down your questions and observations as they occur to you while reading your essay. Make sure they are hierarchical so they can easily guide your next step in writing about them.

3. State the Conclusions for the Paper

A close-reading essay analyzes a text and the author’s meaning. The key to this type of essay is the ability to conclude a text. It requires the student to think critically about what he/she has read and how it relates to other texts.

The most important aspect of writing a close-reading essay is being able to conclude after reading through a piece of work and analyzing it. The reader should always be able to answer questions like:

  • What does this author mean?
  • How can I apply this message to my life?
  • Is this message relevant in today’s society?

4. Write your Introduction

The purpose of your paper is usually stated in the introduction somewhere (it might be buried in an abstract).

introduction writing

In other words, it’s not enough just to tell readers what they need to know; they also need some motivation to read further if they don’t know why they should read.

5. Write your Body Paragraphs.

A body paragraph is the bulk of your essay. It’s the place where you flesh out your ideas and connect them to the overall topic.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the details when writing a close-reading essay, so it’s important to stay focused on the big picture of what you’re trying to say. Here are some tips for developing your body paragraphs:

  • Start with a thesis statement: Make sure that each paragraph starts with an idea or question that relates to the main point of your thesis statement. For example, suppose you’re writing about how human beings have been impacted by technology in society; then, in your first paragraph. In that case, you might want to talk about how computers are changing our lives and what this means for us as individuals and as a culture.
  • Link ideas together:  Be sure that each paragraph is directly related to the previous one (or else your readers will lose track). Use transition words like “however,” “however,” “in contrast,” and “on the other hand,” or even simply add supporting details from different sources throughout each paragraph.

6. Write your Conclusion

When writing conclusion to your close reading essay, you’ll make a few points about why you think the book is worth reading. You should focus on whether or not the author has succeeded in his or her main objective and whether or not it’s an interesting book.

essay conclusion

You should also consider how the author has achieved these goals. Did they succeed because of their writing style? Or did they use an effective structure? Did they make some unique observations that you hadn’t thought of before?

Do you have any specific questions about what was done well in the book? If so, ask them now so that you don’t forget to ask them when it’s time for your argumentative essay!

Also Read: How to Write an Enduring Issues Essay: Guide with Topics and examples

7. Close Reading Essay Examples

Below are three close-reading essay examples on the topic of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The first example is from a student named Brandon:

The main character, Jay Gatsby, is one of the most interesting characters in literature that I have ever read about.

He was a millionaire who married into a family of lower-class people and became friends with their daughter Daisy Buchanan, who had recently graduated from college and moved to New York City, where she met his son Nick Carraway.

Jay Gatsby was so fascinating to me because he had a lot of passion for life; he never gave up on what he wanted, even though he had nothing to back it up.

The Great Gatsby

When I read this book, I learned that some people don’t care about what happens to them or what other people think about them; they just do their own thing and don’t let anything stand in their way of achieving their goals in life (Gatsby).

When I read this book, I also learned about love and hate because there were many different sides to each character’s personality throughout the book (Gatsby).

In conclusion, “The Great Gatsby” is an interesting book.

Example Two

The main character in the novel, Adam Bede, is a strong-willed country boy who looks down upon city folk. He has no interest in being educated and feels that he would rather work on a farm than attend school.

He does not seem to have any particular talent or skill that would make him stand out. However, it is not until he meets the wealthy Miss Lavendar that he can express his talents through writing poetry and music.

The first time Adam meets Miss Lavendar, she sits at a piano playing a piece by Mozart. Adam has never heard music like this before. It is so beautiful that he immediately falls in love with her. The two become friends and eventually marry each other.

However, when Adam becomes famous for his poems about Miss Lavendar, she begins to feel threatened by her new husband’s success. She leaves him for another man named Mr. Thornton. He has money and power but no talent for writing poetry or music like Adam.

 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

The play tells the story of a family during the Great Depression in Mississippi. Brick Pollitt has just returned home from World War I where he has been injured in battle and subsequently discharged with a disability pension.

His wife Maggie is expecting their first child, while his son Paul lives in New Orleans where he works as a pianist for a white man named Big Daddy Pollitt who owns a brothel in which Paul performs sexually explicit acts for the patrons at Big Daddy’s establishment called “The Brick House.”

introduction to a close reading essay

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How to do a close reading essay [Updated 2023]

Close reading

Close reading refers to the process of interpreting a literary work’s meaning by analyzing both its form and content. In this post, we provide you with strategies for close reading that you can apply to your next assignment or analysis.

What is a close reading?

Close reading involves paying attention to a literary work’s language, style, and overall meaning. It includes looking for patterns, repetitions, oddities, and other significant features of a text. Your goal should be to reveal subtleties and complexities beyond an initial reading.

The primary difference between simply reading a work and doing a close reading is that, in the latter, you approach the text as a kind of detective.

When you’re doing a close reading, a literary work becomes a puzzle. And, as a reader, your job is to pull all the pieces together—both what the text says and how it says it.

How do you do a close reading?

Typically, a close reading focuses on a small passage or section of a literary work. Although you should always consider how the selection you’re analyzing fits into the work as a whole, it’s generally not necessary to include lengthy summaries or overviews in a close reading.

There are several aspects of the text to consider in a close reading:

  • Literal Content: Even though a close reading should go beyond an analysis of a text’s literal content, every reading should start there. You need to have a firm grasp of the foundational content of a passage before you can analyze it closely. Use the common journalistic questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) to establish the basics like plot, character, and setting.
  • Tone: What is the tone of the passage you’re examining? How does the tone influence the entire passage? Is it serious, comic, ironic, or something else?
  • Characterization: What do you learn about specific characters from the passage? Who is the narrator or speaker? Watch out for language that reveals the motives and feelings of particular characters.
  • Structure: What kind of structure does the work utilize? If it’s a poem, is it written in free or blank verse? If you’re working with a novel, does the structure deviate from certain conventions, like straightforward plot or realism? Does the form contribute to the overall meaning?
  • Figurative Language: Examine the passage carefully for similes, metaphors, and other types of figurative language. Are there repetitions of certain figures or patterns of opposition? Do certain words or phrases stand in for larger issues?
  • Diction: Diction means word choice. You should look up any words that you don’t know in a dictionary and pay attention to the meanings and etymology of words. Never assume that you know a word’s meaning at first glance. Why might the author choose certain words over others?
  • Style and Sound: Pay attention to the work’s style. Does the text utilize parallelism? Are there any instances of alliteration or other types of poetic sound? How do these stylistic features contribute to the passage’s overall meaning?
  • Context: Consider how the passage you’re reading fits into the work as a whole. Also, does the text refer to historical or cultural information from the world outside of the text? Does the text reference other literary works?

Once you’ve considered the above features of the passage, reflect on its relationship to the work’s larger themes, ideas, and actions. In the end, a close reading allows you to expand your understanding of a text.

Close reading example

Let’s take a look at how this technique works by examining two stanzas from Lorine Niedecker’s poem, “ I rose from marsh mud ”:

I rose from marsh mud, algae, equisetum, willows, sweet green, noisy birds and frogs to see her wed in the rich rich silence of the church, the little white slave-girl in her diamond fronds.

First, we need to consider the stanzas’ literal content. In this case, the poem is about attending a wedding. Next, we should take note of the poem’s form: four-line stanzas, written in free verse.

From there, we need to look more closely at individual words and phrases. For instance, the first stanza discusses how the speaker “rose from marsh mud” and then lists items like “algae, equisetum, willows” and “sweet green,” all of which are plants. Could the speaker have been gardening before attending the wedding?

Now, juxtapose the first stanza with the second: the speaker leaves the natural world of mud and greenness for the “rich/ rich silence of the church.” Note the repetition of the word, “rich,” and how the poem goes on to describe the “little white slave-girl/ in her diamond fronds,” the necessarily “rich” jewelry that the bride wears at her wedding.

Niedecker’s description of the diamond jewelry as “fronds” refers back to the natural world of plants that the speaker left behind. Note also the similarities in sound between the “frogs” of the first stanza and the “fronds” of the second.

We might conclude from a comparison of the two stanzas that, while the “marsh mud” might be full of “noisy/ birds and frogs,” it’s a far better place to be than the “rich/rich silence of the church.”

Ultimately, even a short close reading of Niedecker’s poem reveals layers of meaning that enhance our understanding of the work’s overall message.

How to write a close reading essay

Getting started.

Before you can write your close reading essay, you need to read the text that you plan to examine at least twice (but often more than that). Follow the above guidelines to break down your close reading into multiple parts.

Once you’ve read the text closely and made notes, you can then create a short outline for your essay. Determine how you want to approach to structure of your essay and keep in mind any specific requirements that your instructor may have for the assignment.

Structure and organization

Some close reading essays will simply analyze the text’s form and content without making a specific argument about the text. Other times, your instructor might want you to use a close reading to support an argument. In these cases, you’ll need to include a thesis statement in the introduction to your close reading essay.

You’ll organize your essay using the standard essay format. This includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Most of your close reading will be in the body paragraphs.

Formatting and length

The formatting of your close reading essay will depend on what type of citation style that your assignment requires. If you’re writing a close reading for a composition or literature class , you’ll most likely use MLA or Chicago style.

The length of your essay will vary depending on your assignment guidelines and the length and complexity of the text that you’re analyzing. If your close reading is part of a longer paper, then it may only take up a few paragraphs.

Citations and bibliography

Since you will be quoting directly from the text in your close reading essay, you will need to have in-text, parenthetical citations for each quote. You will also need to include a full bibliographic reference for the text you’re analyzing in a bibliography or works cited page.

To save time, use a credible citation generator like BibGuru to create your in-text and bibliographic citations. You can also use our citation guides on MLA and Chicago to determine what you need to include in your citations.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to do a close reading

A successful close reading pays attention to both the form and content of a literary work. This includes: literal content, tone, characterization, structure, figurative language, diction, sound, style, and context.

A close reading essay is a paper that analyzes a text or a portion of a text. It considers both the form and content of the text. The specific format of your close reading essay will depend on your assignment guidelines.

Skimming and close reading are opposite approaches. Skimming involves scanning a text superficially in order to glean the most important points, while close reading means analyzing the details of a text’s language, style, and overall form.

You might begin a close reading by providing some context about the passage’s significance to the work as a whole. You could also briefly summarize the literal content of the section that you’re examining.

The length of your essay will vary depending on your assignment guidelines and the length and complexity of the text that you’re analyzing.

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How to Write a Close Reading Essay

Last Updated: May 2, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Bryce Warwick, JD . Bryce Warwick is currently the President of Warwick Strategies, an organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area offering premium, personalized private tutoring for the GMAT, LSAT and GRE. Bryce has a JD from the George Washington University Law School. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 9,042 times.

With a close-reading essay, you get to take a deep dive into a short passage from a larger text to study how the language, themes, and style create meaning. Writing one of these essays requires you to read the text slowly multiple times while paying attention to both what is being said and how the author is saying it. It’s a great way to hone your reading and analytical skills, and you’ll be surprised at how it can deepen your understanding of a particular book or text.

Reading and Analyzing the Passage

Step 1 Read through the passage once to get a general idea of what it’s about.

  • Think of “close reading" as an opportunity to look underneath the surface. While you may understand a text’s main themes from a single read-through, any given text usually contains multiple complexities in language, character development, and hidden themes that only become clear through close observation.

Tip: Look up words that you aren’t familiar with. Sometimes you might figure out what something means by using context clues, but when in doubt, look it up.

Step 2 Underline all of the rhetorical devices present in the passage.

  • Alliteration
  • Personification
  • Onomatopoeia

Step 3 Determine the main theme of the passage.

  • What themes are present in the text? Is the passage about, for example, love, or the triumph of good over evil, a character's coming-of-age, or a commentary on social issues?
  • What imagery is being used? Which of the 5 senses does the passage involve?
  • What is the author’s writing style? Is it descriptive, persuasive, or technical?
  • What is the tone of the passage? What emotions do you feel as you read?
  • What is the author trying to say? Are they successful?

Tip: Try reading the text out loud. Sometimes hearing the words rather than just seeing them can make a difference in how you understand the language.

Step 4 Read the text a third time to focus on how the language supports the theme.

  • Word choice
  • Punctuation

Drafting a Thesis and Outline

Step 1 Write a 2-3 sentence summary of the passage you read.

  • Close-reading essays can get very detailed, and it often is helpful to come back to the “main thing.” This summary can help you focus your thesis in one direction so your essay doesn’t become too broad.

Step 2 Create a thesis about how the language and text work to create meaning.

  • For example, you could write something like, “The author uses repetition and word choice to create an emotional connection between the reader and the protagonist. This sample from the book exemplifies how the author uses vivid language and atypical syntax throughout the entire text to help put the reader inside of the protagonist’s mind.”

Step 3 Pull specific examples from the text that support your assertions.

  • For example, you may quote a sentence from the passage that uses atypical punctuation to emphasize how the author’s writing style creates a certain cadence.
  • Or you may use the repetition of a color or word or theme to explain how the author continually reinforces the overall message.

Step 4 Make an outline...

  • There are a lot of different ways to outline an essay. You could use a bullet-pointed list to organize the things you want to write about, or you could plan out, paragraph by paragraph, what you want to say.
  • Many people cannot write fast because they do not spend enough time planning what they want to state.
  • When you take a couple of extra minutes to plan an essay, it's a lot easier to write because you know how the points should flow together.
  • It is also obvious to a reader whether you plan and write the essay or make it up as you write it.

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Check the specifications for your essay from your teacher.

  • The last thing you want is to write an essay and later on realize that you were required to include an outside source or that your paper was 5 pages longer than it needed to be.

Step 2 Write an introduction to explain what you’ll be arguing in your essay.

  • Some people find it easier to write their introduction once the body of the essay is done.
  • The introduction can be a good place to give historical, social, or geographical context.

Step 3 Craft the body of the essay using the thesis-evidence-analysis method.

  • Make sure to reference why the proof you’re giving is relevant. It should directly tie back to the main theme of your essay.
  • Evidence can be a direct quote from the passage, a summary of that information, or a reference from a secondary source.

Step 4 Connect your main points back to your thesis in the conclusion.

  • The conclusion isn’t the place to add in new evidence or arguments. Those should all be in the actual body of the essay.

Step 5 Add direct quotes from the passage to support your assertions.

  • An impactful close-reading essay will weave together examples, interpretation, and commentary.

Step 6 Proofread your essay for grammatical and spelling errors.

  • Try reading your essay out loud. You may notice awkward phrases, incorrect grammar, or stilted language that you didn’t before.

Expert Q&A

  • Sites like Typely, Grammarly, and ProofreadingTool offer free feedback and edits. Keep in mind that you’ll need to review proposed changes because they may not all be correct for your particular essay. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Close-Reading Strategies: The Ultimate Guide to Close Reading

Close reading helps you not only read a text, but analyze it. The process of close reading teaches you to approach a text actively, considering the text’s purpose, how the author chose to present it, and how these decisions impact the text.

The close reading strategy improves your reading comprehension, your analysis, and your writing. Close reading will help you write essays and perform well on standardized tests like the SAT Reading Section . Any age group can practice close reading, and it works with any text.

This article will outline everything you need to know about close reading, including what it is, why it's important, how to do a close reading, and 5 strategies to improve your close reading abilities.

What is close reading?

Close reading is a reading method that examines not only the text’s content but how the author’s rhetorical, literary, and structural decisions help develop it to achieve a purpose.

No matter the text genre–narrative, informational, argumentative, poetry, or editorial–the author uses language to achieve some purpose: to inform, convince, entertain the audience, or a combination. In every text, the author utilizes a variety of rhetorical and literary strategies, or devices, to achieve these effects on the audience.

Common literary strategies or devices that impact every text:

Diction: Word choice

Syntax: Sentence structure

Tone: Emotion of the words used

Conflict: Problems, issues, or disagreements within or related to the text

Structure: The order of the words, sentences, paragraphs, and ideas

Point of view: The speaker’s perspective on the events or subject matter

Genre: The category or “type” of text–fiction, science-fiction, scientific article, etc.

Imagery: The sensory or visual language the author uses to describe the subject, characters, setting, etc.

Close reading observes how the author uses these strategies to develop the text, create an intended effect upon the reader, and build a central message or main idea.

Why is close reading important?

Close reading is important because it helps you comprehend the text, develop deeper ideas about its meaning, and write and talk about the text with more sophistication. When you consider not just what the text says, but how and why the author constructs it that way, you move beyond surface-level reading into analysis.

Close reading allows you to notice details, language, and connections that you may have previously overlooked. These observations create insights about the text, leading to richer class discussions, better essays, and more joy while reading. Observing an author’s strategies also improves your writing, as you gradually begin to emulate the strategies you notice.

How do you do a close reading?

Do a close reading by selecting a text passage, closely observing the writing style and structure while you read, noticing the author's language choices, underlining and annotating your observations, and asking questions about the text.

General Close-Reading Process:

Select a text passage: Pick a piece of text or passage that you want to analyze. The sweet spot usually lies between roughly one and three paragraphs. Songs and poems also work well for close reading.

Notice the writing style: As you read, ask yourself “What stands out to me about this author’s style? What patterns, words, and choices do I notice?” Pay attention to the emotions you feel as you read, identifying what in the text triggers that response.

Observe the structure: Notice how the author orders words, sentences, lines, and paragraphs. Consider how this order builds an image or idea about the text’s subject. Ask yourself, “How does this structure develop my understanding of the subject?”

Notice language choices: The author selected particular words to build a tone, evoke images in the reader’s mind, create a nuanced argument, or have some other effect on the reader. Note powerful or significant diction–word choice–and consider the purpose it serves, or how it develops any of the devices listed above, such as tone or imagery.

Underline: Have a pencil while you read and–if you’re allowed to mark the paper–underline any observations you make. Underline any of the devices listed above, anything that has an effect on you, or anything you enjoy. There’s no right or wrong way to underline a text, so underline whatever catches your interest.

Annotate: Record your thoughts and observations as you read, by writing in the margins, on a separate sheet of paper, or using an assigned annotation format. Feel free to note questions, individual words, literary devices, or anything you notice.

Ask questions: Along with the annotation ideas listed above, formulate questions and write them down while you read. Generally, the best questions begin with how or why . For example, “Why did the author use this word?” or “How does this detail affect the reader?”

5 Close Reading Strategies to Improve Analysis and Comprehension

Here are my 5 favorite strategies to improve your close reading, analysis, and reading comprehension:

Generate a purpose question (PQ)

Annotate with your PQ in mind

Track the 5 Ws

Notice the conflict

Identify the tone

Five Close Reading Strategies

Generate a Purpose Question

A purpose question (PQ) is a question you pose before reading a text to help you read actively. You can create a PQ for a text of any genre or length–a novel, a short story, a poem, a passage, or an informational text–and there is no right or wrong way to create a PQ.

To create a purpose question, consider any pre-reading context you have:

Text images

School assignment guidelines

Any task you’re expected to complete when you finish reading

Examine the text’s title to guess what the text is about, then formulate an open-ended question that relates to the text, what it might say, and what might be important. As you read, seek and underline information that relates to your PQ and helps you answer it. By the time you finish reading, you should be able to answer your PQ.

Generally, the best open-ended questions begin with how or why .

Your PQ will sometimes simply repurpose the text’s title into a question, like these examples:

Text TitleExample PQ “A Good Man is Hard to Find?” (fiction)Why is a good man hard to find?“The Lady with the Dog” (fiction)What is so important about the lady and her dog?“The Fringe Benefits of Failure” (essay)How can failure be beneficial?“An Epidemic of Fear” (essay)What is causing the epidemic of fear?“New Therapies to Aid Muscle Regeneration” (article)How do these new therapies aid muscle regeneration?

Write down your PQ, either on the text itself or on a separate sheet of paper for note-taking. When you read with a purpose–like answering a question–it becomes easier to identify and annotate what’s important in the text.

Annotate with your PQ in Mind

It’s much easier to take good notes when you have a reading goal–something to answer or accomplish, such as a PQ.

As you read and annotate the text, refer to your purpose question. Search the text for details that relate to and help you answer your PQ. When you find relevant details, underline them and record how the detail relates to your PQ. If you can’t write on the text itself, record your thoughts on a separate paper or word document.

Science passage with annotations

Here’s how and where I annotate a text, and what I usually write in my annotations.

Where and How to Annotate a TextWhat to Write Underline the text Questions –what did you ask or wonder while reading?Write in the margin Thoughts and connections –what did the text make you think about?Use a separate sheet of paper Comments –what made you underline that particular word or detail?On your phone or computer–use a notetaking app or a Google Doc Significance –why is that particular detail important?

As you read the text, constantly ask yourself, How does this information help me answer my PQ? When you’re finished with the text, you should be able to answer your purpose question–and the notes you’ve taken should help you do that.

To monitor your own comprehension while you read, remain aware of the text’s 5 Ws: who, what, where, when, why.

After every sentence or section, reflect to verify the following information:

Who: Who is the text about? Who is narrating, or telling the story?

What: What is the text about?

Where: Where do the text’s events take place?

When: When did the text’s events occur?

Why: Why did this main event occur? Why did the storyteller write this text?

At any given point while you read, you should be able to identify this context. If you realize that you’re disoriented and have lost track of some key Ws, revisit the most recent sentences to see if you missed something critical. Then, continue on with the text, mindfully searching for the information you’re missing.

If you finish reading and still feel uncertain about this core information, revisit the first paragraph. A passage’s first paragraph usually provides fundamental details–such as the characters, setting, main event, and the story’s general context. Revisiting this paragraph sometimes alerts you to basic details you overlooked during your first readthrough.

The 5 Ws also work as an annotation strategy, where you underline all textual information related to the 5 Ws.

Notice the Conflict

Every story or passage centers around at least one conflict. A conflict is the characters’ primary struggle–the issue they’re faced with, the main challenge they try to overcome.

Keep in mind that a conflict can be external or internal. An external conflict takes place outside the character in the physical world–such as a fistfight, an argument with a friend, or committing a bank robbery. An internal conflict takes place inside the narrator–such as struggling to get over a girlfriend, becoming jealous of a friend, or worrying about how peers will perceive a behavior.

Fiction passage with annotations

As you read, ask yourself “What is the character’s primary issue or challenge?” While there may be more than one, try to identify the most central, prominent conflict. By identifying a story’s conflict, you can observe and annotate how the author emphasizes it through storytelling elements–character development, tone, word choice, and structure. Underline these elements and write a few words describing how they build or relate to the central conflict.

Identify the Tone

A text’s tone is the speaker’s attitude toward the subject matter–actions, characters, or events in the text. Every piece of writing has multiple tones, which develop and change throughout the text according to the writer’s word choice.

Describe the tone using adjectives :

To Kill a Mockingbird began with a lighthearted tone and progressed to a dark , tense tone as the plot continued.

The article about bees used an informative , professional tone.

My writing always has an informal tone, even when I want it to be academic .

Hermann Hesse ends Siddhartha with a serene and beautiful tone.

Each sentence carries a unique tone, causing a story’s tone to change subtly every few lines. As you read, notice how the tone develops as the story continues. Underline the words and phrases that most powerfully create the tone, describing the tone in the margin. If you notice a sudden shift in tone, underline the point where it changed and write a few words about how it changed.

Close Reading Strategies Make You a Better Reader

Close reading is more than just a classroom assignment–it’s a reading method that helps you analyze and comprehend all texts. It will help you in class, on your own, and on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT Reading Sections .

While you may initially practice close reading by underlining and writing notes in the margin, over time it will influence the way you approach all texts: You will find yourself prereading a text, considering the title, generating a purpose question, tracking the 5 Ws while you read, asking questions, observing the text’s conflict, and noticing the tone.

Close reading helps you comprehend difficult texts, and it helps you write essays for class. It’s an all-purpose writing strategy.

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Elaine Showalter describes close reading as:

...slow reading, a deliberate attempt to detach ourselves from the magical power of story-telling and pay attention to language, imagery, allusion, intertextuality, syntax and form.

It is, in her words, ‘a form of defamiliarisation we use in order to break through our habitual and casual reading practices’ (Teaching Literature, 98).

As readers, we are accustomed to reading for plot, or allowing the joy of the reading experience to take over and carry us along, without stopping to ask how and why a particular passage, sentence, or word achieves its effects.

Close reading, then, is about pausing, and looking at the precise techniques, dynamics, and content of the text. It’s not reading between the lines, but reading further and further into the lines and seeing the multiple meanings a turn of phrase, a description, or a word can unlock.

It is possible to close read an extended passage, but for essays it is often a good technique to do the close reading first and then to use very short extracts or even single words to demonstrate your insights. So instead of doing a close reading of twenty lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream *in* your essay, you would do it independently, and then cite and explain three key phrases, relating them clearly to your developing argument. 

Close reading is also sometimes known as Practical Criticism, rooted in the techniques espoused by the Cambridge critic I. A. Richards.

He felt it was essential that students put aside their preconceptions and learn to appreciate the liveliness and multiplicity of language.

With that in mind, he gave students poems without any information about who wrote them or why they were written.

In the hands of subsequent critics, like William Empson, the technique became a way to offer virtuoso accounts of particular poems and literary works, with an emphasis on ambiguity and the multiplication of possible meanings.

In essence, close reading means taking a step back from the larger narrative and examining the constituent parts of a text.

Think of close reading as something that you do with a pencil and book in your hand. Mark up the pages; fill the margins.

“Annotate to appreciate; annotate to understand… It builds reading confidence; it helps us understand how literature is made—because it puts us there among the phrases.” Sometimes the Best Way to Read is to Mark up the Book - on the revelatory power of annotations

And then transcribe the poem, the passage, the quotation.

Accurate transcription of quotations is, for some, the first and last rule of close reading. If your passage isn’t transcribed meticulously, down to the last comma and (with poetry) spacing on the page, you can’t read it closely.

Careful transcription will also help you get inside a passage: you’ll get a feel for its rhythms, its twists and turns, its breathing. Look at the words.

Don’t take your eyes off the words. Work from the actual text in front of you, not from a sort of mental paraphrase of what the text says. As you do so, remember to think carefully about sound, not only when reading poetry but also when analysing prose.

Read the passage aloud, paying close attention to the rhythms of sentences. You might be surprised by what you hear: the eye can often glide over aspects of a text that the ear is keen to pick up. Remember, too, that it’s important not only to detect certain features but also to consider their effects. If you need to pause to catch your breath in the middle of a sentence, ask yourself why. How are form and content working together?

Close, not closed readings

Close reading has been criticised for being divorced from context and for pulling away from the historical and political engagements of the literary text.

Partly for that reason, it is important to think about the purpose behind your close reading – we are looking for close readings, not closed readings. Essentially, the close reading is the starting point for your essay, letting you find what is interesting, intricate, and unexpected about a literary text.

In the essay itself, you need to stitch that revelation about the complexities and ambiguities of particular terms, phrases and passages into a larger argument or context – don’t simply list everything you have found; craft it into an argument, and be prepared to downplay or leave out some of the elements you have spotted if they don’t relate to the larger picture.

For this reason, you might want to follow the “Rule of 2”. Your analysis of your quotation should be twice as long as the quotation itself. It's a nice reminder that we always need to go back and explain the textual evidence that's being cited.

Each piece of textual evidence needs and deserves detailed analysis if it's being used to support the argument's claims. It also helps to remind us to vary the lengths of quoted textual evidence so that an essay doesn't end up with only very brief quotations or long block quotations, but includes a mixture of different lengths that will best suit the claim being developed at any given point in the argument.

Some questions you may like to ask

  • Who is speaking? Who is being spoken to? What is the reader assumed to know/not know? (University essays aren't written for an interested aunt or friend on a different course, but for an audience familiar with the themes and readings under discussion. Students are writing for an audience of engaged and interested peers. This means that the writer can assume that their reader knows the text and doesn't need extensive plot summary in the introduction or start of the essay. This frees up space for analysis and the laying out of each section's claims. It also helps to develop an authoritative voice: you are an expert speaking to other experts.)
  • What is the point of the details included in the passage (eg if mundane things are mentioned, why is that; if there are elements of description that don’t seem to contribute to the plot what do they do instead)? 
  • What generic clues are here (what kinds of writing are hinted at)? 
  • Are there words or phrases which are ambiguous (could mean more than one thing)? If so, are we directed to privilege one reading over the other or do we keep both in play? Does one meaning open up an alternative story/history/narrative? What are the connotations of the words that are chosen? Do any of them open up new or different contexts? 
  • Are there patterns which emerge in the language (the repetition of words or of certain kinds of words? Repeated phrases? Rhymes or half-rhymes? Metrical patterns?). What effects do they create? 
  • Is there any movement in the passage you are reading? Are there any shapes or dominant metaphors? 
  • What kind of rhythm does the passage have? What is its cadence?
  • Is there anything that troubles you about the passage or that you’re not sure you fully understand? 
  • Have you been to the dictionary (remember the full Oxford English Dictionary is available online through the library)?

For more specific advice, you might want to read our Ways of Reading series

  • Ways of Reading a Novel
  • Ways of Reading a Poem
  • Ways of Reading a Film
  • Ways of Reading a Play
  • Ways of Reading a Translation

Extra Reading (and remember you can close read secondary as well as primary texts)

Thomas A. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor: a Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines (Harper, 2003). Elizabeth A. Howe, Close Reading: an Introduction to Literature (Prentice Hall, 2009). George Lakoff and Mark Turner, More than Cool Reason: a Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor (Chicago, 1989). Frank Lentricchia and Andrew DuBois (eds), Close Reading: the Reader (Duke, 2002). Christopher Ricks, The Force of Poetry (Oxford, 1995). Elaine Showalter, Teaching Literature (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002).

For more on Practical Criticism, with some useful online exercises, try the Virtual Classroom on Practical Criticism

There’s a neat example by Patricia Kain at Harvard College’s Writing Center .

Trev Broughton , Alexandra Kingston-Reese , Chloe Wigston-Smith , Hannah Roche , Helen Smith , and Matthew Townend April 2018

This article is available to download for free as a PDF for use as a personal learning tool or for use in the classroom as a teaching resource.

Department of English and Related Literature University of York , York , YO10 5DD , UK Tel: work +44 (0) 1904 323366 | [email protected]

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Write a Close Reading

Choose a passage, step 1: read the passage, step 2: analyze the passage, step 3: develop a descriptive thesis, step 4: construct an argument about the passage., step 5: develop an outline based on your thesis.

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If you have not been assigned a passage or poem, then you must select a text and a specific passage.

Limit your selection to a paragraph or two at the most. In some cases, a sentence or two (or a few lines, if you are dealing with a poem) will be sufficient. Keep in mind that literature (and especially poetry) can be very dense. You will be surprised at how much you can glean from a short section – and how easily you can be overwhelmed by selecting a section that is too long.

Look for unusual or repetitive images or themes and passages with rich imagery or language.

Also pay particular attention to passages that relate to central characters or definitions of keywords; you may decide to focus on one section and how it helps you understand a character, relationship, issue, or idea.

Take notes as you read. Mark anything that seems relevant or interesting to you – even if you are unsure why a particular section of the text stands out.

Ask yourself: How is language and/or argument being used? Take notes about your observations of the passage, even if these observations seem simplistic or self-evident. Also pay attention to how language use changes over the course of your passage. For example, if the same word appears at the beginning and end, does it mean different things in both places? Does the author's tone or attitude change?

After you have read the entire text, you can return to these sections to look for repeated patterns, themes, or words. Often, a close reading will focus on one example of a theme or pattern to study the significance of this theme or pattern more in depth.

Begin by writing answers to some of the following questions, focusing on the kinds of rhetorical and literary devices you see in the passage.

  • What words are being used here? 
  • Are any words repeated in this passage? 
  • What adjectives are used? What nouns do they describe?  How do they alter your understanding of these nouns? 
  • Are any two (or more) words used in this passage connected in some way?

If any words are unfamiliar, look them up. If you are analyzing an older text, keep in mind that words may mean different things at different points in history—so be sure to look up any words that may be familiar but used in an unfamiliar way. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) will provide you with definitions as well as histories of word use.

Whether you are looking at an historical or contemporary text, remember that words can be used in different ways. Ask yourself: Are any words being used in unusual ways? Are any words referring to something more than what is simply stated? Are any two (or more) words in the passage connected in some way?

Narrative Voice

  • Who is speaking in this passage?
  • What narrative perspective is being used in this passage?
  • What does the narrative voice tell you?
  • What characters does it give you access to?
  • Is the speaker being straightforward, factual, open?
  • Is the speaker being direct or ambiguous with their message?
  • Does the voice carry any emotion? Or is it detached from its subject?
  • Do you hear irony (what is said is different from what is meant)? If so, where?

Rhetorical and Literary devices:

  • Do you notice any figurative language, such as metaphors and similes?
  • Do you observe any imagery?
  • Is the sound of the language and sentences important (e.g., rhyme, repetition, choppy or long sentences)?
  • What is the effect of these devices and techniques? (e.g., do they add emphasis or connect key ideas?)

Once you have finished looking at the language in detail, you can use your observations to construct a descriptive thesis. For example, you could argue that a passage is using short, simple sentences, or that it is using irony or a combination of these things. Your descriptive thesis should attempt to summarize the observations you have made about HOW language is being used in your passage.

Remember, this is not your final thesis statement. It's just your first step to arriving at an analytical thesis.

Now that you have some idea of HOW language is being used in your passage, you need to connect this to the larger themes of the text. In other words, you now need to address WHY language is being used in the way (or ways) you have observed.

This step is essential to a successful close reading.  It is not enough to simply make observations about language use – you must take these observations and use them to construct an argument about the passage.

Transform your descriptive thesis into an argument by asking yourself WHY language is used in this way:

  • What kinds of words are used (intellectual, elaborate, plain, or vulgar)?  Why are words being used in this way?
  • Why are sentences long or short?  Why might the author be using complicated or simple sentences?  What might this type of sentence structure suggest about what the passage is trying to convey?
  • Who is the narrator? What is the narrative voice providing these particular descriptions? Why are we given access to the consciousness of these particular characters?  Why not others?
  • What images do you see in the passage? What might they represent? Is there a common theme?
  • Why might the tone of the passage be emotional (or detached)?
  • To what purpose might the text employ irony?
  • What effect/impact is the author trying to create?

After you have established your thesis, you’ll need to write an essay that supports this argument with examples and analysis.

For example, you might argue that in the novel Jane Eyre , Jane’s friend Helen Burns uses language and imagery to describe God in a very different way from characters who represent religious authority. To prove your argument, you must organize your essay to show examples of how Helen Burns describes God and interpret her description. You must also analyze how her description differs from the status quo in the novel and tell readers why this difference matters to our understanding of the novel.

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2.1 Introduction to Close Reading

Learning objectives.

  • Introduce the basic principles of textual analysis.
  • Examine an essay looking for the author’s complex argument and gather a list of evidence from the text that best reflects that author’s argument.
  • Identify a central concept that we feel best explains the core of the author’s complex argument.
  • Focus on the specific evidence that we feel best enables us to analyze the author’s complex argument.
  • Make an initial exploration into a potential thesis that proposes a critical examination of the author’s complex argument.

Writing an essay at the university level means entering an  ongoing scholarly conversation . Before you select an essay subject, you should know that throughout history, scholars have addressed and articulated similar concerns and ideas; many have dedicated their lives to these problems and arguments. So, rather than worrying about generating a new idea, it would be wise to aim for active and informed participation in that conversation. This is done via the process of analysis.

Key Term: Analysis

Analysis is when you read a text, find specific details from that text and use those details as evidence to examine that text’s argument and purpose.

In order to analyze and contribute meaningfully, you must first understand all parts of this scholarly conversation. Therefore, the ability to closely read and understand others’ writing is vital.

Key Term: Close Reading

A close reading first gathers specific evidence from a text before analyzing those observations in order to provide a reconstruction of that author’s complex argument.

Gathering Evidence

Introduction to Close Reading

Every close reading relies on evidence. Without evidence, a writer is simply stating their opinion. As such, writing an essay begins well before you start writing with the process of gathering evidence. In fact, very little essay writing is actually “writing.” Rather, most of the essay writing process is:

  • Gathering evidence  (reading the text and taking notes)
  • Pre-planning  and  pre-writing  (outlining and brainstorming)
  • Research  (of definitions, other scholars’ concepts, statistics)
  • Drafting  (early attempts at thesis paragraphs and body paragraphs that will be revised as the process continues).

The rest of the writing process will be explored in more detail in the next chapter, but for now, let’s focus on how to perform a close reading of a piece of writing by focusing on gathering evidence.

We will outline how to gather evidence by modelling the task of slowing down and recording all the observations that are to be had within a text.

Putting the Pieces Together Copyright © 2020 by Andrew M. Stracuzzi and André Cormier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Honors291g-cdg’s blog, how to write a close reading essay.

CLOSE READING The purpose of close reading is to suspend personal judgment and examine a text in order to uncover and discover as much information as we can from it. In close reading we ask not just “what does this passage say?” but also “how does it say it?” and even “what does it not say?” Close reading takes us deeper into the passage, below its surface to the deeper structures of its language, syntax and imagery, then out again to its connections with the whole text as well as other texts, events, and ideas. Desired Outcomes: • Identify and reflect on major themes in the book. • Analyze specific details, scenes, actions, and quotations in the text and discuss how they contribute to your interpretation of the meaning of the larger text. • Extract as much information from a chosen passage of writing as possible. • Listen to and understand others’ differing (perhaps) interpretations of the same text. • Generate questions and topics for further inquiry.

Assignment One: A Close Reading Instructions Now that you’ve finished the book, choose a passage from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and compose your own close reading of it. Apply the same techniques to this paper that were applied in in-class close readings and discussions, now taking into account the context of your chosen passage, additional selections from the text, as well as the book as a whole. Following MLA documentation style, correctly cite your chosen passage and any other quotations from the text that support your interpretations and claims. For help with MLA style, go to the Commonwealth College website ( and search for “MLA format.” Organizing your close-reading essay In writing your close-reading essay, you may wish to start by introducing the book and describing your chosen passage’s importance within it. You could then offer relevant details to support your thesis. Questions you raise may appear as part of your conclusion, suggesting avenues for further thought and study. Paper length Your paper should be 650-750 words long, maximum. Be detailed but concise. Edit out unnecessary words and redundancies. (Include your selected passage in your paper, but do not count it as part of the total length.) A sample close reading essay is available online. Search the Commonwealth College website ( for “close reading essay.” Questions to consider as you prepare to compose your close reading Examine the passage by itself • What does this passage explicitly say? • Is there a meaning beneath or beyond the explicit message? What is it? How is it communicated? • What might the passage suggest about the writer’s motivations? • How do the writer’s style, imagery and choice of language create a tone or intensify a meaning? • What specific examples in the passage (and additional passages) support these observations? Examine the passage in light of surrounding passages and the rest of the book • What themes running through the book are evoked explicitly and implicitly in this passage? • How does this passage fit—or not fit—into its immediate context as well as the book as a whole? What insights into the book does it reveal? • What questions does the passage raise about the story being told? • What conclusions can be drawn from this passage about the author and the text? A note about writing You should consider this paper a final version: pay attention to the quality of your writing and proofread your work. Strive to be concise and clear as well as correct. This means writing in a style that’s both academic and accessible. Always keep your audience in mind. You are writing for your interested peers. Grading This essay will be worth 15% of your final grade. Note: You will submit your paper at next week’s class. You will also be asked to summarize your paper and present its main points orally during class discussion. Therefore, you may want to jot down a few “talking points” in preparation.

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Close Reading a Text and Avoiding Pitfalls

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Writing about a story or novel can be difficult because fiction is generally very complex and usually includes several points or themes. To discover these interwoven meanings, you must read the work closely. Below are three techniques for reading fiction actively and critically. Close reading takes more time than quick, superficial reading, but doing a close reading will save you from a lot of frustration and anxiety when you begin to develop your thesis.

Close Reading a Text

Use these "tracking" methods to yield a richer understanding of the text and lay a solid ground work for your thesis.

Pitfalls: Highlighting too much Highlighting without notes in the margins

These should be questions, comments, dialogue with the text itself.

A paragraph from Doris Lessing's short story "A Woman on a Roof" serves as an example:

The second paragraph could have a note from the reader like this:

Then they saw her, between chimneys, about fifty yards away. She lay face down on a brown blanket. They could see the top part of her: black hair, aflushed solid back, arms spread out.

"She's stark naked," said Stanley, sounding annoyed.

Write quickly after your reading: ask questions, attempt answers and make comments about whatever catches your attention. A good question to begin with when writing response entries is "What point does the author seem to be making?"

After close reading and annotating, can you now make a statement about the story's meaning? Is the author commenting on a certain type of person or situation? What is that comment?

Avoiding Pitfalls

These four common assumptions about writing about fiction interfere with rather than help the writer. Learn to avoid them.

Assumes that the main task is simply recalling what happened in detail. Plot summary is just one of the requirements of writing about fiction, not the intended goal.

Assumes that writing about fiction is a "no win" game in which the student writer is forced to try to guess the RIGHT ANSWER that only the professor knows.

Assumes that ANY interpretation of any literary piece is purely whimsy or personal taste. It ignores the necessity of testing each part of an interpretation against the whole text, as well as the need to validate each idea by reference to specifics from the text or quotations and discussion from the text.

Assumes that writing the paper is only a way of stating the answer rather than an opportunity to explore an idea or explain what your own ideas are and why you have them. This sometimes leads to "padding," repeating the same idea in different words or worse, indiscriminate "expert" quoting: using too many quotes or quotes that are too long with little or no discussion.

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Chapter 1: Time is on Your Side

Introduction to Close Reading

Writing an essay at the university level means entering an ongoing scholarly conversation . Before you select an essay subject, you should know that throughout history, scholars have addressed and articulated similar concerns and ideas; many have dedicated their lives to these problems and arguments. So, rather than worrying about generating a new idea, it would be wise to aim for active and informed participation in that conversation. This is done via the process of analysis .

In order to analyze and contribute meaningfully, you must first understand all parts of a scholarly conversation. Therefore, the ability to close read and understand others’ writing is vital.

We will focus the first six chapters on producing a close reading .

For the first assignment, you will do a close reading of an essay and then write a 750-word essay analyzing an author’s complex argument based on evidence from the text.

Write Here, Right Now: An Interactive Introduction to Academic Writing and Research Copyright © 2018 by Ryerson University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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"What is Close Reading?" || Definition and Strategies

"what is close reading": a literary guide for english students and teachers.

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What is Close Reading? Transcript (English and Spanish Subtitles Available in Video, Click HERE for Spanish Transcript)

By Clare Braun , Oregon State University Senior Lecturer in English

24 October 2022

You may have encountered the term “close reading” in high school or university settings. It’s been thrown around a lot in recent years thanks to its inclusion in the Common Core Standards for K12 education in the United States.  But the practice of close reading has been around a lot longer than the Common Core, and at this point the term has been used in so many different contexts that its meaning has gotten a little muddled.

So how does the Common Core’s use of “close reading” compare to a literary scholar’s use of the term?

The Common Core Standard mentions citing “specific textual evidence” to “support conclusions drawn from the text,” and this could function as a very basic definition of “close reading” in the way that scholars conceive of the term.


Close Reading Common Core Definition

For scholars, “close reading” is a mode of analysis—one of many possible modes, many of which can be used in conjunction with one another—that moves a reader beyond comprehension of the text to interpretation of the text.

A lot of the time we use close reading to uncover and explore a text’s underlying ideologies—or the ideas embedded in the text’s point of view, ideas that aren’t givens (like the laws of physics) but that are culturally or socially constructed, and usually ideas that aren’t universal even within a given culture or society.

We use close reading to make new knowledge out of our interactions with a text, which is why your instructors in high school and college might ask you to use close reading to write an essay, since the United States higher education system values the production of new knowledge.

So what does it look like to “do” close reading?

When you close read a text, you’re looking at both what the text says (its content), and how the text says what it says—through imagery , figurative language , motif , and so on.  You might have noticed that the Oregon State Guide to Literary Terms includes videos on imagery, figurative language, motif, and so on—most of the videos in this series employ close reading!


Close Reading Using Literary Terms Example

But how do you look at what the text says and how it says what it says?

I like to think of close reading as a process with two major steps, plus a bonus step if you’re using the process to write a paper.

The first step is to read and observe.  These observations would include the “specific textual evidence” the Common Core Standards mention—concrete things you can point to in the text.  Direct observations are pretty much the defining element that makes close reading close reading.

Usually, you read the text multiple times to make note of as many observations as possible.  And speaking of making notes, close reading usually involves some form of notetaking, which might be annotating in the margins or collecting observations in a notebook or computer file.


Close Reading Annotation Example

The second step is to interpret what you notice.  Look for patterns in your observations, and look for places where those patterns break.  Look for places in the text that snagged your attention, even if at first you don’t know why.  What implicit ideas are embedded in these patterns and anomalies?  What is significant about your observations, and what conclusions can you draw from them?

These questions are pretty broad, but you can ask yourself more specific questions based on the particular text you’re analyzing and on the general direction of your observations.

One thing I want to clarify is that steps one and two of this process aren’t necessarily sequential, as in, “I have completed my observations and I will now interpret them.”  It’s more likely that you’ll interpret as you observe, and continue to observe as you interpret.


Close Reading Strategy Example

If you’re using close reading to write a paper, the third bonus step is to corral your observations and interpretations into a cohesive argument.  This may involve cutting out the observations and interpretations that aren’t relevant, and going back to the text for additional observations you can interpret for the argument you’re developing.

So, what isn’t close reading?  It’s not focused just on what happened in the text—the content; that’s summary.  It doesn’t speculate on the effect of the text on the reader, which is not something you can directly observe in the text.  It typically doesn’t require secondary sources, though you can use close reading with other forms of analysis that do rely on secondary sources.  It’s not the discovery of the one “right” answer of what a text means, because there are many ways to observe and interpret a text.  But it's also not a free-for-all where any reading of a text is correct because everything is interpretation anyway.   

Close reading isn’t the only way to usefully and productively engage with a text.  But it is often a useful mode of analysis because it is so grounded in the text, digging deeply into its layers of meaning.

Want to cite this?

MLA Citation: Braun, Clare. "What is Close Reading?" Oregon State Guide to English Literary Terms, 24 Oct. 2022, Oregon State University, Accessed [insert date].

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How to Write a Close Reading Essay

How to Write a Good Critique Essay

How to Write a Good Critique Essay

A close reading essay is an in-depth paper that carefully studies a short work or a section of a longer one. Rather than treat the larger themes of the work alone, a close reading essay goes into details and substantiates observations with examples from the work being examined. Analyze the techniques that writers employ to convey their ideas and feelings and then explain the results of your analysis. You need to not only make observations about parts of the work that stand out, but back them up with examples from the text.

Carefully read the work or section of the work being studied several times. Make notes as you read; don't wait until you have finished with the belief that you will remember everything. This part of the process is about gathering information. Note anything that stands out, symbols that recur or turns of phrase that don't make sense. Oftentimes the things you do not follow can lead to an important observation, so trust your instincts.

Develop an outline of your essay based on your notes, putting together observations that seem related. Delve into details that puzzle you, such as why something is described oddly, or an action by a character that may not make sense. Assemble the observations into groups, and note details to cover in the essay under each group. Draw out some of the persistent themes or significant characteristics and think about how they add to the overall mood of the work. To identify themes, ask yourself what lesson the author of the work likely wanted readers to know. Look for words or phrases that repeat since these often indicate an important idea that may be related to the theme or some other significant characteristic of the work.

Write your essay from the outline fleshing out details, presenting your observations, drawing conclusions about what you feel the author is saying and backing up those conclusions with examples from the text. The more you can substantiate your observations with the author's own words the more convincing the essay will be. If the conclusions you have drawn can't be reasonably supported by the text, modify them until you have adequate text support to back them up.

Go back and read the work you are examining again, in light of what you have written, to see if anything further stands out, or even if you still agree with what you have written. You may find some surprising new things, or want to modify your thoughts a bit. Proofread carefully before turning in your essay.

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Close Reading

Close reading as analysis.

Close reading is the technique of carefully analyzing a passage’s language, content, structure, and patterns in order to understand what a passage means, what it suggests, and how it connects to the larger work. A close reading delves into what a passage means beyond a superficial level, then links what that passage suggests outward to its broader context. One goal of close reading is to help readers to see facets of the text that they may not have noticed before. To this end, close reading entails “reading out of” a text rather than “reading into” it. Let the text lead, and listen to it.

The goal of close reading is to notice, describe, and interpret details of the text that are already there, rather than to impose your own point of view. As a general rule of thumb, every claim you make should be directly supported by evidence in the text. As the name suggests this technique is best applied to a specific passage or passages rather than a longer piece, almost like a case study.

Use close reading to learn:  

  • what the passage says
  • what the passage implies
  • how the passage connects to its context

Why Close Reading?

Close reading is a fundamental skill for the analysis of any sort of text or discourse, whether it is literary, political, or commercial. It enables you to analyze how a text functions, and it helps you to understand a text’s explicit and implicit goals. The structure, vocabulary, language, imagery, and metaphors used in a text are all crucial to the way it achieves its purpose, and they are therefore all targets for close reading. Practicing close reading will train you to be an intelligent and critical reader of all kinds of writing, from political speeches to television advertisements and from popular novels to classic works of literature.

Wondering how to do a close reading? Click on our Where to Begin section to find out more!

  • Where to Begin and Strategies
  • Tips and Tricks
  • How it works
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A Guide How To Write A Close Reading Essay

You may wonder what is meant by a close-reading essay. Consider an example of an individual going to a museum. He will stare at a picture until he finds out information he did not see initially. This is what is happening while writing a close-reading essay. While writing this kind of essay, you are expected to be flexible in your observation and be analytical in your interpretation of texts. When your tutor gives you this assignment, treat it as the best opportunity for you to show your teacher that apart from having the ability to identify minutes in a poem, passage or short storytelling, you can say something significant about your identification. Take it if you are looking for a hidden treasure. All the details you discover are your treasures, and at this moment you have all the freedom of deciding how to handle them.

A Guide How To Write A Close Reading Essay

In most occasions, you will discover that you enjoy the process of writing a close-read essay. Because you will give meaning to every single word used in a text, you will find the process fascinating. Taking a more in-depth look at the discovered details will also help you find out a deeper and more detailed meaning of the text enlightening your experience of it. Before you make your conclusion to leave your assigned task on writing a close-reading text, give yourself a chance to see the beneficial side of it.

Definition of a Close Reading

As the name suggests, a close reading essay refers to an essay that is focused on the tiny themes within a literary story, passage, or poem. Most of the essays you might have come across or written were concerned on broader topics like justice, adulthood, loneliness, love, and jealousy. The mentioned issues are called broader themes because they deal with problems that are common in texts. They are not hard to find in any document. They are readily seen like traffic signs. Characteristics explained in the text would sometimes refer to them directly. At some point, these themes would be repeated in the text. They come in the mind of readers once they reference their work.

On the other side, close reading assignments seek to explain what would be disclosed if one decides to look at these broad themes deeply. It is like examining the bottom of the rock and describing your experience and discovery (“How to Write a Close Reading Essay,” 2019). In close reading essays, the writer is expected to explain in detail how smaller teams have been used creatively to connect to the larger theme. In such articles, you should be in a position to tell how the writer has used his language and what has been left out. This essay is like a deep scuba that dives to the bottom of the text, ocean to find out how the author’s choice of words, imagery, tonal variation, and other literary elements work together to bring out a unified theme in the text.

Though the close essay intends to look beyond the typical focus of the book, most aspects uncovered in the text acts as a road map towards the larger theme. Most items you identify in a close reading essay help you understand other issues of the essay. Also, they will give you a better understanding of both nuance and understanding. This refers to both big and smaller themes that are found within a text.

Despite the reader looking at hidden information within a text, you will be expected to gather a lot of information from any given portion of information. This essay requires you to interpret the text correctly and be in a position to apply it in the larger theme or the rest of the story. Your writing should have the ability to inspire readers to research and learn more about what you have discussed. Once you are through with this article, you will get a better insight into all that is needed from you as far as close-reading essays are concerned. You will be more than confident to handle one essay and get not just a passing grade but a grade you have ever yearned to get.

Steps of Writing a Close Reading Essay

The first thing to do after given a close reading assignment is to read it at least thrice. Your first reading is to equip yourself with the content. Then your second reading is to extract some finer details within the text. Your final reading is for you to understand the whole text and is achieved when you read slowly and keenly. As you read the text, you might have come across information that you find essential. Underline it for quick reference while writing. Necessary information can be repeated words, unusual syntax, provocative punctuation, or details you did notice during your first reading. You should invest your time in this stem by reading the text slowly. Remember discoveries are not made through a rush.

Note down all the information you have underlined in the text. Try to figure out what might be connecting them or even a portion of them. From your list, what can you conclude about the theme, the larger piece, and the author’s intention?

Then write down the conclusions you have made above in a piece of paper. Your most robust finding should be circled and redesigned into a thesis statement.

From your underlined evidence, circle the one that strongly conforms to your thesis statement. Then come up with a hook that will connect to your broader idea of your thesis statement. For instance, if your thesis statement was about being watched unaware shown in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, you may decide to start using a quote or interesting statistics on being watched unaware.

Then make sure you discuss the above concept in an additional three to four sentences but still in your introduction. At the end of your submission, state the thesis statement you had prepared. In the first paragraph of your essay body, discuss the primary textual evidence. It should be brief and direct to imagery, language, syntax, repetition and any other thing you had noticed while reading the text of. Explain why it is essential and how it supports your thesis statement.

Repeat step 8 with the other two body paragraphs in your essay.

In this step, you will have to summarize your argument using a new fashion of language. You should do this without the slightest kind of repetition. Try in your summary to remind your readers how the details will help them get an understanding of the text. To achieve this, you have to connect your thesis statement to the bigger picture of the era. If for instance, you are discussing uncanny found in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” you may have to link your thesis statement to the human lineage to make people understand afterlife.

The Format for a Close Reading

The format for writing this kind of essay is not different from other essays you have come across. First, you begin your essay with an introduction and insert a thesis statement at the end of your introduction. After the introduction, you will write three body paragraphs in support of your thesis. In these body paragraphs, you will use detailed textures that are shown as quotes. In your conclusion, you will restate your thesis statement but using a new fashion of language making reference to the content of your essay.

In case you are writing a close reading on a short story book or poem, then there is no need for you to specify the section your essay will deal with. But for longer pieces of writing or stories, you will have to specify using your introduction. For instance, you can decide to write something of this sought: “The paper will explore the author’s use of color in chapter one of The Red Badge, of Courage.” Also, you can state it this way: “The paper will examine repetition of the gerund in the Burial of the Dead in T.S. Eliot’s poem, ‘The Waste Land.”

Close Reading Essay Topics

  • Daisy’s voice and words in ‘The Great Gatsby’: Explain their indication on the author’s character.
  • The Beverage used in ‘The Great Gatsby’: how they display both emotional and actual events.
  • How does the phrase ‘old spot’ help in identifying the time when the novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ was created?
  • What was the author trying to pass across by using Cigarettes and Smoking in the novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’?
  • In the novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ pick one slung word used by Holden and argue on it.
  • In ‘This is just to say,’ discuss the word choice, structure, syntax, and visual elements that William Carlos used.
  • What makes inscrutability more mysterious in Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’?
  • Discuss how Biblical and religious symbols have been used to drive the narrative in “The Red Badge of Courage”?

An Example of A Close Reading Essay

The most known form of punishment associated with solitary confinement that lies in isolation is torture and its associated structures. It is manifested in the prevention of human association, stimulus, or exposure to the outside world. The above premise helps in shaping the renewed short story, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Majority of scholars who have read the story interpret it as a tale by a woman who went mad because of stimulus, isolation and excessive bearing of men who were in her life. Though their interpretation seems legitimate and valid factors for the heroine, the author places a very deliberate hint in the story that proposes that sees the story as a ghost story and there is something hidden that was influencing the main character in this story.

It takes the author great pain to describe the grand empty house that was rented by the couple during summer. The house seemed to be having an exciting story of darkness. The house itself is in an environment that is isolated about three miles from the nearest town. These make me imagine English places I have read about. They have hedges, walls, and gates that are surrounded by other several little houses for workers. Even though the experience described in the story does not sound dark, the author aimed at provoking the subconscious mind of the readers. Coming across the word ‘English places’ will make readers think of dark, expansive, and gloomy places. The use of hedges, walls, locks, and gates helps in bringing the idea of captivity for those associated with such places. The author’s reference to several small houses surrounding the place shows that there are numerous places for individuals and bad things to hide in.

The concept of the dark history of the mentioned house is found in the following information. “There were greenhouses, too, but they were all broken now.” This is a provocative technique used by the author, and he deliberately avoided to mention that the houses were empty, or had rusted or needed some renovation. The only possible way of breaking a greenhouse – to break the glass used to construct it. This shows that there is an existence of some violence, provocation, or rioting that resulted in the described situation.

Further detail leaves the reader in anxiety. “There was some legal trouble, I believe, something about the heirs and coheirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for some years.” This technique is highly suggestive, and one would wonder the kind of trouble that would keep the place empty for that long duration. If there would be a suggestion, then it is like heirs are trying to vie to get to live in the place. This is if the situation is as described above. The situation suggests an ugly situation between family members or even chaotic in the country.

“Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars.” The above statement shows that there was someone who was held captive early. In the story, we are told severally that in the windows, there were bars and “rings and things” were also found on the walls. The fact the author tells us of gouges and plasters that had been dug shows that someone was really trying to escape from this place. This further creates a picture in the readers that someone was trying to escape but might have died and the ghost would possibly be observing the heroin in another part.

To sum up, Gilman relied heavily on several details in his book, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ to bring out the aspect of the ghost story in the traditional setting. In this story, what drives the heroine insane is the existence of a supernatural being as well as forced seclusion. Information on the occult and uncanny is prevalent. It would be possible that the house was possibly a hidden place for murder. Because of torture and murder that took place in this house, it is full of marvelous energy and dark spirits and is waiting for any vulnerable individual like the main character in this case. Though the character goes mad, it would be even more challenging to start blaming all those surrounding her. The author intentionally suggests that there is something unusual with the room and the house in general and the history of this mysterious house would be sordid.

A close reading essay helps you to put in place your detective gears and examine a piece of writing more keenly. The intention of teachers giving out this kind of assignment is to test your ability to notice smaller details and relate them to the whole work. As a student, we would advise you to concentrate on the minor aspects of either poem or story provided. This is where most students and some scholars fail as they only focus on the major themes and forget about the smaller issues. After discovering them, then let the details you have found guide you throughout your discussion. This would be more fun as it gives you an opportunity to view the literary piece from another perspective.

As we always advise students, if you still think you have a challenge handling this kind of assignment contact us. Our writing team is well equipped and has enough experience on this assignment so you should not worry at all. It will take them the shortest time to help you get on track with your writing, or if you are going in circles, they will guide you refocus your work.

introduction to a close reading essay

English and Comparative Literary Studies

Example close reading.

Below is an example of a close reading written for the module by a now-graduated student. It demonstrates how to focus on the text and balance close reading with cultural context (although is slightly longer than the essays we now ask you to write).

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 'Mont Blanc' (ll. 1-48)

(Chloe Todd-Fordham)

In A Defence of Poetry , Shelley states: ‘[poetry] creates for us a being within our being. It makes us the inhabitants of a world to which the familiar world is a chaos […] it compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know’ (954). In 'Mont Blanc,' Shelley illustrates a vision of familiarity turned to chaos and creates a landscape of ‘dizzying wonder’ (Journal-letter to Thomas Love Peacock) ‘an awful scene’ (l. 15) that terrifies with its immensity. Shelley’s subject is a vast, immeasurable, all-encompassing landscape; an ‘everlasting universe of things’ (1). In 'Mont Blanc,' the reader is, at first, confronted with ‘the receptacle of a thousand unapprehended combinations of thought’ ( A Defence of Poetry 949) as Shelley confuses imagery of enormity and confine, interior and exterior, permanence and transience and separates the human mind from the natural world. To Shelley, the mind is no more than a constant creative channel through which nature flows and ‘rolls its rapid waves’ (l. 2). It is the poetic imagination that unites this limitless landscape with the miniature mind. In a ‘trance sublime and strange’ (l. 35), Shelley transforms perception into feeling and knowledge into poetry. The imagination turns ‘some unsculptured image’ confused by ‘many-voiced’ sounds, and ‘many-coloured’ images, into ‘one legion of wild thoughts;’ a unique sensibility exclusive to the individual. For Shelley, the mind and the natural world are organically connected, bound together by the imagination and expressed through the medium of poetry. In exploiting the natural world, Shelley exposes the individual poetic mind.

'Mont Blanc' is a conclusive poem. Certainly it is primarily descriptive but as the poem unfolds and the reader is exposed to more of Mont Blanc, an educative narrative appears which culminates in Shelley’s reasoned assertion in the final three lines of the poem. 'Mont Blanc,' in its entirety, traces the transformation of the naïve and vulnerable poet into the controlled, rational rhetorician and this progression is also apparent in the first two stanzas of 'Mont Blanc.' The first image of the poem is not supported by the comfortable invocation of the subjective ‘I’ as in Clare’s 'I am,' or Keats’ 'Ode to a Nightingale'; instead the speaker of the poem is belittled by a vast landscape, diminished by a terrifying permanence and lost in ‘the everlasting universe of things’ (1). The casual yet precise use of the word ‘things’ in the opening line suggests that Shelley’s natural world is neither specifically located nor easily contained; instead, it is ubiquitous, sweeping and all-inclusive. In comparison, the individual is tiny and alone. The speaker in 'Mont Blanc' is an absent presence. His physicality is swallowed by the aggressive surroundings so that only the restless voice of an overwhelmed mind remains in the poetry.

A clutter of inconsistent images characterises the poetic voice, reducing it to a mere ‘sound but half its own’ (l. 6). In the first two lines alone, Shelley moves from the colossal to the miniature, the exterior to the interior, and the panoramic to the personal. In a tight, controlled, eleven line pentameter verse, the reader is exposed to a slideshow of images which come into focus briefly and then dissolve each into each. Permanent vocabulary – ‘ceaselessly’, ‘forever’, ‘everlasting’ – follows sporadic, fleeting, kinetic verbs; ‘bursts’, ‘raves’, ‘leaps’, passive mountains and constant rocks are attacked by ‘vast rivers,’ while darkness is usurped by light within a single line. The rhythm and movement of lines such as: ‘Now dark, now glittering, now reflecting gloom Now lending splendour…’ (ll. 3-4) imitate the constant fading and illumination of images. With the incessant repetition of ‘now’, the line seemingly blinks between dark and light, and the concept of time is lost to the imminent urgency of the word ‘now’. Until line 34, Shelley’s landscape is not exclusively his own; instead it is a collective experience, ‘many-coloured’ and ‘many-voiced’. The vision of 'Mont Blanc' is ‘a dizzying wonder […] not unallied to madness’ (Journal-letter to Thomas Love Peacock 844). Thoughts are likened to ‘chainless winds’, the senses are confused and mingled in lines such as ‘to drink their odours’ (l. 23), dark transforms abruptly into light in the line; ‘…caverns sail / Fast cloud-shadows and sunbeams’ (ll. 14-15), and the landscape is filled with this ‘old solemn harmony’ (l. 24), ‘a loud lone sound no other sound can tame’ (l. 31). Nature is both assuredly permanent and restlessly ephemeral. Shelley vividly describes ‘an awful scene’ (15); frightening, savage, destructive and devoid of human contact. With these images, Shelley seeks to overwhelm his reader. Both the reader and the poet are vulnerable and impressionable, their minds exposed to the terrifying force of the natural world.

Paradoxically, fear and irrationality are conveyed in a rigid, formal structure. The iambic pentameter becomes the heartbeat of the poem, driving it forward to a conclusion. Like Mont Blanc, the regular pulse of the metre and the delicately placed rhymes and half-rhymes make the poem an organic construct. Ironically, 'Mont Blanc' is not ‘some unsculptured image’ but is a carefully chiselled poem, from start to finish. Shelley’s oscillating images are seemingly ‘spontaneous overflows’, ("Preface" to The Lyrical Ballads ) ‘wild thoughts’ that ‘burst and rave’ but the elevated blank verse suggests that, while Shelley seems forever searching for his own voice in the ‘many-voiced vale’, it is, in fact, there from the beginning. The exclamatory climax to Part II, ‘thou art there!’ is forty-eight lines too late.

When the iambic pentameter does fall apart it is calculated. As ‘the voices in the desert fail’, Shelley is subjected to a dialogue implicit in nature. Both the speaker and the reader are made dizzy by a sickening of the senses and the continual oscillation of imagery. In the following quotation, Shelley employs anaphora, caesura and repetition to create an accumulation of replicated words, an intense build-up of enduring imagery and a didactic, pulsating rhythm which climaxes with the exclamation. ‘Dizzy ravine!’: ‘A loud, lone sound no other sound can tame: Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion, Thou art the path of that unresting sound…’ (ll. 31-3) With the expletive ‘Dizzy Ravine!’ there is sudden release and the overwhelmed mind of both the poet and the reader is soothed by the comforting evocation of the subjective ‘I’. Shelley has experienced – in his own words – ‘the sublime’. ‘Dizzy ravine!’ is an ‘awful’ expression of fear, a temporary paralysis of language, a sudden gasp which disrupts the natural rhythm of blank verse; indeed, the shape, movement and pace of the poem in these lines imitates the sensation of the sublime.

With the introduction of the first-person, Shelley claims the language as his own and asserts control. At last, specificity invades the terrifying collage of contradictions cocooned within the mind of the poet, and trapped in the pentameter of Part I; Shelley sees Mont Blanc with a cleansed perspective. As rationalist, Shelley takes possession of the language, vocabulary and metre of the poem; ‘the voices of the desert’ meld into one unique voice and the oxymoronic images of dark and light, sleep and unrest, interior and exterior are arrested in ‘one legion of wild thoughts’ by a formal, empirical - almost scientific and political - language: ‘My own, my human mind, which passively Now renders and receives fast influencings, Holding an unremitting interchange…’ (ll. 38-40) Nature and the poetic mind become one and the same thing at this point in the poem. The human mind is a microcosm of the natural world; it is both untamed and tranquil. Just as ‘the woods and winds contend[ing]’ in part I allegorise the divided conscience and the ‘secret springs’ act as a metaphor for the private, unfathomed wealth of the imagination, the mingling of ‘thou’ with the pronoun ‘I’ in lines 34-35 confuses the subjectivity of the poem so that the natural world and the human mind are bound together by the imagination. The human mind is constant and fixed - as is Mont Blanc – while nature is constantly changing and moving – as is Mont Blanc’s verdant decoration; ‘the vast rivers’ and ‘the wild woods’. As Shelley states in a Journal-letter to Thomas Love Peacock, nature and the mind inseparable: ‘…one would think that Mont Blanc was a living being, and that the frozen blood forever circulated through his stony veins’ (844) Unlike the passive human mind, the imagination is active; it ‘seeks among the shadows’, processes knowledge into art, sorts through the ‘many coloured’ perspectives of a terrifying world and arrives at one single unifying vision, unique to the individual. The imagination is real, unlike the images it creates. Like the material delusion that is poetry, like the artificial literary construct of ‘the gothic’ that Shelley alludes to in the following lines: ‘Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee, Some phantom, some faint image…’ (ll. 46-47) poetry, to Shelley, cannot be wholly authentic. Shelley cannot replicate reality as Wordsworth sought to do in The Lyrical Ballads ; instead, Mont Blanc is ‘a faint image’ of the natural world. Indeed, in 'Mont Blanc,' Shelley’s vulnerable, frightened speaker arrives at the conclusion that poetry is ‘a mirror which makes beautiful that which it distorts’. ( A Defence of Poetry 947) The imagination is a means to control ‘the everlasting universe of things’, to process thoughts and prompt the ‘secret springs’ of poetic expression; it ‘compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know’ (954).

It is ‘in the still cave of the witch Poesy’, ‘among the shadows’, where the imagination marries nature to the human mind. Here, the ‘universe of things’ is no longer alarmingly permanent, idealistic and ‘everlasting’; instead, it is definitive, exact, ‘clear.’ In contrast to the destructive, ‘Power’ that bursts ‘through these dark mountains like the flame’ (l. 19), the final image of Part II is one of softness and tranquillity:

‘Now float above thy darkness, and now rest […] In the still cave of the witch Poesy.’ (ll. 42-44) With the affirmative exclamation ‘thou art there!’ Shelley’s desperate search for external stimuli has led him, not into the wilderness of the natural world, but inside himself, into ‘the still cave of the witch poesy’, to the reality of his own poetic imagination. no longer supports Internet Explorer.

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Close Reading

Profile image of Mark Byron

Oxford Encyclopaedia of Literary Theory, ed. John Frow (Oxford and New York: Oxford Universsity Press, 2021)

Close reading describes a set of procedures and methods that distinguishes the scholarly apprehension of textual material from the more prosaic reading practices of everyday life. Its origins and ancestry are rooted in the exegetical traditions of sacred texts (principally from the Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Islamic traditions) as well as the philological strategies applied to classical works such as the Homeric epics in the Graeco-Roman tradition, or the Chinese 詩經 (Shijing) or Classic of Poetry. Cognate traditions of exegesis and commentary formed around Roman Law and Canon Law of the Christian Church, and also finds expression in the long tradition of Chinese historical commentaries and exegeses on the Five Classics and Four Books. As these practices developed in the West, they were adapted to medieval and early modern literary texts from which the early manifestations of modern secular literary analysis came into being in European and American universities. Close reading comprises the methodologies at the centre of literary scholarship as it developed in the modern academy over the past century or so, and has come to define a central set of practices that dominated scholarly work in English departments until the turn to literary and critical theory in the late-nineteen-sixties. This essay provides an overview of these dominant forms of close reading in the modern Western academy. The focus rests upon close reading practices and their codification in university English departments, although reference is made to non-Western reading practices and philological traditions, as well as to significant non-Anglophone alternatives to the common understanding of literary close reading.

Related Papers

Minnesota Review

Barbara Herrnstein Smith

The article is concerned with the history of “close reading,” understood as a practice crucial to the field of literary studies, vis-à-vis “distant reading,” a range of computational methods identified with the digital humanities. I look at some early controversies regarding close reading and “the New Criticism,” the movement associated with it, and at how the practice has figured in Anglo-American literary studies over the course of the past century. I turn then to how a certain idea of “close reading” has come to figure in the discourses of the digital humanities. At the end, I offer some general reflections on methods, past and possibly future, in literary studies.

introduction to a close reading essay

New Writing

An examination of the status and impact of close reading practice within the discipline of Creative Writing, arguing that the overly narrow, practice-based form of textual interpretation that dominates in the writing workshop is limiting and unhelpful within the context of a broader sense of student writing and learning development. What is required instead is for reading to be broadened to take into account a much wider sense of culture and knowledge, and for other subject domains to be brought into the Creative Writing classroom in order to bring to life the words on the page far beyond the implications of the process of learning the writing 'craft'. The history of close reading theories in the twentieth century is referenced as a means of identifying a potentially more symbiotic relationship between 'close' and 'cultural' reading methods. It is only when such cultural knowledges are taken into account that the texts students are expected to read and learn from can truly become useful, encouraging writing students with a much sharper awareness of the cultural and ideological implications of language and text, within a discipline that much more readily acknowledges its wider role as communication in praxis.

Joydeep Bagchee , Vishwa Adluri

Hans Walter Gabler

Steven Mailloux

Angus Connell Brown

Why has it taken so long to start writing the history of close reading? For the best part of a century close reading has grounded literary studies in the university, structuring assessment, teaching, employment, and publication. A basic proficiency in close reading has long been a professional obligation for faculty members and a course requirement for students. It makes sense, then, that Caroline Levine's Forms begins with a description of our method in action.

Phyllis Rackin

Rethinking History

Hannu Salmi

This article discusses the idea of distant reading and explores the ways in which it can be conducted in research. It focuses especially on how distant reading can contribute to the study of cultural history, which is often regarded as a domain of close reading. The article argues that distant reading methods can successfully be applied in the analysis of cultural transmission in the past, where it is often essential to combine the study of textual signification with the idea of textuality as material flow. The article draws on an example from press history and especially discusses text reuse detection as a strategy for identifying textual amplification.

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DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals - DOAJ

Fabio Ciotti

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Longxi Zhang

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introduction to a close reading essay

IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay: Topics, Samples and Tips to Score Band 9!

Are you aiming for excellence in your IELTS Writing? Do you dream of achieving that elusive band 9 score? Look no further! In this blog, we will embark on a journey of transforming your essay writing skills from good to great. Scoring a band 9 in the IELTS Writing module requires not only a strong command of language but also a deep understanding of the assessment criteria and effective writing strategies.

Whether you're a beginner looking to improve or an experienced test-taker seeking that extra edge, this guide will provide you with valuable insights, practical tips, and real examples to help you unlock the secrets of achieving a band 9 in your IELTS essays. So, let's delve into the world of high-scoring IELTS Writing essays and discover how to take your writing prowess to new heights!

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IELTS Writing test syllabus, exam pattern, and duration

Duration: 60 minutes

Writing – Academic

The Academic version of the Writing component consists of two tasks, each addressing topics of broad relevance and suitability for individuals entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies, or those seeking professional registration.

You will be presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise, or explain the information in your own words

You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem

You may be asked to describe and explain data, explain the stages of a process, how something works, or describe an object or event

Responses to both tasks must be written in a formal style

Writing – General Training

The General Training version of the Writing component comprises two tasks that revolve around topics of general interest, designed to assess candidates' ability to communicate effectively in common real-life situations.

You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal, or formal in style

You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay

IELTS Writing task 2 essay writing – Step-by-step guide for scoring a band 9

Here's a step-by-step guide to the IELTS Writing Task 2 :

Step 1: Understand the task requirements

Carefully read and comprehend the task prompt

Identify the type of essay you are required to write, such as opinion, discussion, or problem-solution

Take note of any specific instructions, word limits, or key points to address

Step 2: Plan and organise your ideas

Spend a few minutes brainstorming and generating ideas related to the task.

Create a clear and coherent outline that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Organise your ideas logically and decide on the main points for each paragraph.

Step 3: Write an engaging introduction

Begin your essay with a captivating opening sentence that grabs the reader's attention

Provide some background information or context related to the topic

State your thesis or main argument clearly, which will guide the rest of your essay

Step 4: Develop coherent body paragraphs

Commence each body paragraph with a topic sentence that presents the primary concept

Support your ideas with relevant examples, facts, or evidence

Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs to maintain coherence and flow

Step 5: Showcase language skills and vocabulary

Employ an extensive array of vocabulary and grammatical structures

Demonstrate your ability to express ideas accurately and precisely

Show awareness of cohesive devices, such as linking words and phrases

Step 6: Conclude effectively

Provide a concise summary of the key points addressed in the body paragraphs

Restate your thesis and provide a concise closing statement

Leave the reader with a lasting impression or a thought-provoking question

Step 7: Revise and edit

Allocate time to review your essay for any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or typos

Check the coherence and coherence of your ideas and arguments

Make necessary revisions to improve clarity, coherence, and overall quality

Step 8: Practice time management

Allocate the appropriate amount of time for each task (Task 1 and Task 2)

Practice writing essays within the given time limit to build speed and efficiency

Monitor your progress and adjust your writing speed accordingly

Step 9: Seek feedback and continuous improvement

Share your essays with a teacher, tutor, or native English speaker for feedback

Identify areas for improvement and focus on enhancing those skills

Regularly practice writing essays to refine your technique and boost your confidence

By following these step-by-step guidelines and consistently practicing, you can improve your IELTS Writing Task performance and work towards achieving your desired band score. Remember, practice and perseverance are key to success in the IELTS Writing module. Good luck!

IELTS Writing Task 2 sample essays to achieve a band score of 9

Here are a few IELTS essay samples for band 9 that demonstrate a high level of language proficiency and can help you understand how to score a band 9. Please note that these are samples for your reference and should not be copied/used as they are presented below:

IELTS Writing Task 2 essay topic: Advantages and disadvantages of technology in education

Introduction: In recent years, technology has revolutionised the education sector, providing both benefits and drawbacks. This essay will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating technology into education and argue that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Body Paragraph 1 (Advantages): One major advantage of technology in education is enhanced learning opportunities. With the help of interactive multimedia tools, students can access a vast range of information and resources, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of complex concepts. Additionally, technology promotes student engagement and active learning, as it enables personalised and interactive teaching methods.

Body Paragraph 2 (Disadvantages) : Despite the numerous advantages, there are some disadvantages to using technology in education. Firstly, excessive reliance on technology may lead to a decrease in face-to-face interaction and hinder the development of crucial social skills. Moreover, the availability of inaccurate or biased information on the internet can pose a challenge in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of sources used for academic purposes.

Body Paragraph 3 (Benefits outweigh drawbacks) : However, the benefits of technology in education far outweigh the drawbacks. By incorporating technology, educational institutions can bridge the gap between traditional teaching methods and the digital world, preparing students for future careers that heavily rely on technological literacy. Furthermore, technology can facilitate distance learning, reaching students who are geographically isolated or have limited access to educational resources.

Conclusion: In conclusion, technology has transformed education by offering enhanced learning opportunities and promoting student engagement. While there are some disadvantages associated with technology, the benefits of incorporating it into education outweigh the drawbacks. It is crucial for educators to strike a balance between traditional teaching methods and technology to maximize the potential of both.

IELTS Writing Task 2 essay topic: Effects of global warming on the environment

Introduction : Global warming, caused primarily by human activities, has become a pressing issue with far-reaching consequences for the environment. This essay will explore the effects of global warming on the environment and argue that urgent action is required to mitigate its detrimental impacts.

Body Paragraph 1 (Rise in temperatures) : One of the most significant effects of global warming is the rise in temperatures worldwide. This leads to the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, resulting in sea-level rise and an increased frequency of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and heat waves. Moreover, higher temperatures disrupt ecosystems, endangering various plant and animal species.

Body Paragraph 2 (Loss of biodiversity) : Global warming poses a significant threat to biodiversity. As temperatures increase, many species struggle to adapt or migrate to more suitable habitats, leading to their decline or extinction. The loss of biodiversity has severe consequences for ecosystem stability, as each species plays a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance.

Body Paragraph 3 (Environmental degradation) : Another consequence of global warming is environmental degradation. Rising temperatures contribute to the acidification of oceans, damaging coral reefs and marine ecosystems. Additionally, increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere lead to oceanic dead zones, negatively impacting marine life. Deforestation, driven by the need for resources and land for agriculture, exacerbates global warming by reducing the Earth's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide.

In conclusion, global warming has profound effects on the environment, including rising temperatures, loss of biodiversity, and environmental degradation. Immediate and concerted efforts are necessary to address this issue, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting sustainable practices, and preserving natural habitats. Only through collective action can we mitigate the impacts of global warming and protect our planet for future generations.

These sample essays showcase the structure, vocabulary, and coherence necessary to achieve a band 9 score. Remember to practice writing within the time constraints of the IELTS test (40 minutes for the writing section).

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Donald Trump is going to win the election and democracy will be just fine

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introduction to a close reading essay

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Jared Golden represents Maine’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

After the first presidential debate , lots of Democrats are panicking  about whether President Joe Biden should step down as the party’s nominee. Biden’s poor performance in the debate was not a surprise. It also didn’t rattle me as it has others, because the outcome of this election has been clear to me for months: While I don’t plan to vote for him, Donald Trump is going to win. And I’m OK with that.

There are winners and losers in every election. Democrats’ post-debate hand-wringing is based on the idea that a Trump victory is not just a political loss, but a unique threat to our democracy. I reject the premise. Unlike Biden and many others, I refuse to participate in a campaign to scare voters with the idea that Trump will end our democratic system.

This Independence Day marks our nation’s 248th birthday. In that time, American democracy has withstood civil war, world wars, acts of terrorism and technological and societal changes that would make the Founders’ head spin.

Pearl-clutching about a Trump victory ignores the strength of our democracy. Jan. 6, 2021, was a dark day. But Americans stood strong. Hundreds of police officers protected the democratic process against thousands who tried to use violence to upend it. Judges and state election officials upheld our election laws. Members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, certified the election results.

They all are joined in the defense of democracy by the millions of us who, like me, made an oath of allegiance to the United States and to the Constitution when we began our military service, plus hundreds of millions of freedom-loving Americans who won’t let anyone take away our constitutional rights as citizens of the greatest democracy in history.

This election is about the economy, not democracy. And when it comes to our economy, our Congress matters far more than who occupies the White House.


The prospect of a Donald Trump win is cause for alarm, not acquiescence

The prospect of a Donald Trump win is cause for alarm, not acquiescence

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Some of Congress’ best work in recent years has happened in spite of the president, not because of him. A handful of responsible Democrats, including myself and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, rejected  Biden’s bloated “Build Back Better” bill and instead passed a law that supercharged American energy production, saved Medicare billions of dollars and reduced the deficit. Years earlier, Congress stood up to the GOP establishment who tried to hijack Trump’s agenda to achieve their long-held goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act . Defeating them saved health coverage for tens of millions of Americans and protections for people with preexisting conditions.

It was Congress that wrote and passed the CHIPS Act  and the Inflation Reduction Act  to bring back manufacturing so we can once again be a nation of producers, not just consumers. We wrote laws to unleash American energy by tapping domestic natural resources — oil and gas, biomass, the sun and wind — as well as nuclear power to ensure a steady supply of affordable, reliable energy. And we passed an infrastructure law  that’s already building and improving roads, bridges and ports.

In 2025, I believe Trump is going to be in the White House. Maine’s representatives will need to work with him when it benefits Mainers, hold him accountable when it does not and work independently across the aisle no matter what.

Congress will need to stand up to economic elites and so-called experts in both parties who are already working overtime to stop Trump’s proposed trade policies that would reverse the harms of globalization and protect American businesses from unfair foreign competition. We need to protect from extremists the law I helped pass  that caps seniors’ insulin costs at $35 and forces Big Pharma to negotiate and lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Perhaps more importantly, members must stand up to the GOP old-guard who will use a Trump presidency as cover for handouts to the wealthy and powerful at the cost of America’s working families and communities.

We must stabilize Medicare and Social Security, without cuts for seniors. We must guarantee women’s reproductive rights. And Congress must be ready to once again protect the ACA and to end huge tax breaks for the wealthy and for multinational corporations.

I urge everyone — voters, elected officials, the media, and all citizens — to ignore the chattering class’s scare tactics and political pipedreams. We don’t need party insiders in smoke-filled back rooms to save us. We can defend our democracy without them.

My focus is on representing the people of Maine’s Second Congressional District and working for the common good of all Americans. This Independence Day, we should reflect on the history and strength of our great democracy, safe in the knowledge that no one man is strong enough to take it away from us.

More articles from the BDN

Spring 2025 Semester

Undergraduate courses.

Composition courses that offer many sections (ENGL 101, 201, 277 and 379) are not listed on this schedule unless they are tailored to specific thematic content or particularly appropriate for specific programs and majors.

  • 100-200 level

ENGL 201.ST2 Composition II: The Mind/Body Connection

Dr. sharon smith.

In this online section of English 201, students will use research and writing to learn more about problems that are important to them and articulate ways to address those problems. The course will focus specifically on issues related to the body, the mind, and the relationship between them. The topics we will discuss during the course will include the correlation between social media and body image; the psychological effects of self-objectification; and the unique mental and physical challenges faced by college students today, including food insecurity and stress.

English 201 S06 and S11: Composition II with an emphasis in Environmental Writing

S06: MWF at 10–10:50 a.m. in Yeager Hall Addition 231

S11: MWF at 12–12:50 p.m. in Crothers Engineering Hall 217

Gwen Horsley

English 201 will help students develop skills to write effectively for other university courses, careers, and themselves. This course will provide opportunities to further develop research skills, to write vividly, and to share their own stories and ideas. Specifically, in this class, students will (1) focus on the relationships between world environments, land, animals and humankind; (2) read various essays by environmental, conservational, and regional authors; and (3) produce student writings. Students will improve their writing skills by reading essays and applying techniques they witness in others’ work and those learned in class. This class is also a course in logical and creative thought. Students will write about humankind’s place in the world and our influence on the land and animals, places that hold special meaning to them or have influenced their lives, and stories of their own families and their places and passions in the world. Students will practice writing in an informed and persuasive manner, in language that engages and enlivens readers by using vivid verbs and avoiding unnecessary passives, nominalizations, and expletive constructions.

Students will prepare writing assignments based on readings and discussions of essays included in Literature and the Environment and other sources. They will use The St. Martin’s Handbook to review grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and usage as needed.

Required Text: Literature and the Environment: A Reader On Nature and Culture. 2nd ed., edited by Lorraine Anderson, Scott Slovic, and John P. O’Grady.

LING 203.S01 English Grammar

TuTh 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Dr. Nathan Serfling

The South Dakota State University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog describes LING 203 as consisting of “[i]nstruction in the theory and practice of traditional grammar including the study of parts of speech, parsing, and practical problems in usage.”

“Grammar” is a mercurial term, though. Typically, we think of it to mean “correct” sentence structure, and, indeed, that is one of its meanings. But Merriam-Webster reminds us “grammar” also refers to “the principles or rules of an art, science, or technique,” taking it beyond the confines of syntactic structures. Grammar also evolves in practice through application (and social, historical, economic changes, among others). Furthermore, grammar evolves as a concept as scholars and educators in the various fields of English studies debate the definition and nature of grammar, including how well its explicit instruction improves students’ writing. In this course, we will use the differing sensibilities, definitions, and fluctuations regarding grammar to guide our work. We will examine the parts of speech, address syntactic structures and functions, and parse and diagram sentences. We will also explore definitions of and debates about grammar. All of this will occur in units about the rules and structures of grammar; the application of grammar rhetorically and stylistically; and the debates surrounding various aspects of grammar, including, but not limited to, its instruction.

ENGL 210 Introduction to Literature

Jodi andrews.

Readings in fiction, drama and poetry to acquaint students with literature and aesthetic form. Prerequisites: ENGL 101. Notes: Course meets SGR #4 or IGR #3.

ENGL 222 British Literature II

TuTh 9:30-10:45 a.m.

This course serves as a chronological survey of the second half of British literature. Students will read a variety of texts from the Romantic period, the Victorian period, and the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, placing these texts within their historical and literary contexts and identifying the major characteristics of the literary periods and movements that produced them.

ENGL 240.ST1 Juvenile Literature

Randi l. anderson.

A survey of the history of literature written for children and adolescents, and a consideration of the various types of juvenile literature.

ENGL 240.ST1 Juvenile Literature: 5-12 Grade

In English 240 students will develop the skills to interpret and evaluate various genres of literature for juvenile readers. This particular section will focus on various works of literature at approximately the 5th-12th grade level.

Readings for this course include works such as Night, Brown Girl Dreaming, All American Boys, Esperanza Rising, Anne Frank’s Diary: A Graphic Adaptation, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The Hobbit, Little Women, and Lord of the Flies . These readings will be paired with chapters from Reading Children’s Literature: A Critical Introduction to help develop understanding of various genres, themes, and concepts that are both related to juvenile literature, and also present in our readings.

In addition to exploring various genres of writing (poetry, non-fiction, fantasy, historical, non-fiction, graphic novels, etc.) this course will also allow students to engage in a discussion of larger themes present in these works such as censorship, race, rebellion and dissent, power and oppression, gender, knowledge, and the power of language and the written word. Students’ understanding of these works and concepts will be developed through readings, discussion posts, quizzes and exams.

ENGL 240.ST2 Juvenile Literature Elementary-5th Grade

April myrick.

A survey of the history of literature written for children and adolescents, and a consideration of the various genres of juvenile literature. Text selection will focus on the themes of imagination and breaking boundaries.

ENGL 242.S01 American Literature II

TuTh 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Dr. Paul Baggett

This course surveys a range of U.S. literatures from about 1865 to the present, writings that treat the end of slavery and the development of a segregated America, increasingly urbanized and industrialized U.S. landscapes, waves of immigration, and the fulfilled promise of “America” as imperial nation. The class will explore the diversity of identities represented during that time, and the problems/potentials writers imagined in response to the century’s changes—especially literature’s critical power in a time of nation-building. Required texts for the course are The Norton Anthology of American Literature: 1865 to the Present and Toni Morrison’s A Mercy.

WMST 247.S01: Introduction to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

As an introduction to Women, Gender and Sexuality studies, this course considers the experiences of women and provides an overview of the history of feminist thought and activism, particularly within the United States. Students will also consider the concepts of gender and sexuality more broadly to encompass a diversity of gender identifications and sexualities and will explore the degree to which mainstream feminism has—and has not—accommodated this diversity. The course will focus in particular on the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with race, class, ethnicity, and disability. Topics and concepts covered will include: movements for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights; gender, sexuality and the body; intersectionality; rape culture; domestic and gender violence; reproductive rights; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW); and more.

ENGL 283.S01 Introduction to Creative Writing

MWF 1-1:50 p.m.

Prof. Steven Wingate

Students will explore the various forms of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction and poetry) not one at a time in a survey format—as if there were decisive walls of separation between then—but as intensely related genres that share much of their creative DNA. Through close reading and work on personal texts, students will address the decisions that writers in any genre must face on voice, rhetorical position, relationship to audience, etc. Students will produce and revise portfolios of original creative work developed from prompts and research. This course fulfills the same SGR #2 requirements ENGL 201; note that the course will involve creative research projects. Successful completion of ENGL 101 (including by test or dual credit) is a prerequisite.

English 284: Introduction to Criticism

This course introduces students to selected traditions of literary and cultural theory and to some of the key issues that animate discussion among literary scholars today. These include questions about the production of cultural value, about ideology and hegemony, about the patriarchal and colonial bases of Western culture, and about the status of the cultural object, of the cultural critic, and of cultural theory itself.

To address these and other questions, we will survey the history of literary theory and criticism (a history spanning 2500 years) by focusing upon a number of key periods and -isms: Greek and Roman Classicism, The Middle Ages and Renaissance, The Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Formalism, Historicism, Political Criticism (Marxism, Post-Colonialism, Feminism, et al.), and Psychological Criticism. We also will “test” various theories we discuss by examining how well they account for and help us to understand various works of poetry and fiction.

  • 300-400 level

ENGL 330.S01 Shakespeare

TuTh 8-9:15 a.m.

Dr. Michael S. Nagy

This course will focus on William Shakespeare’s poetic and dramatic works and on the cultural and social contexts in which he wrote them. In this way, we will gain a greater appreciation of the fact that literature does not exist in a vacuum, for it both reflects and influences contemporary and subsequent cultures. Text: The Riverside Shakespeare: Complete Works. Ed. Evans, G. Blakemore and J. J. M. Tobin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

ENGL 363 Science Fiction

MWF 11-11:50 a.m.

This course explores one of the most significant literary genres of the past century in fiction and in film. We will focus in particular on the relationship between science fiction works and technological and social developments, with considerable attention paid to the role of artificial intelligence in the human imagination. Why does science fiction seem to predict the future? What do readers and writers of the genre hope to find in it? Through readings and viewings of original work, as well as selected criticism in the field, we will address these and other questions. Our reading and viewing selections will include such artists as Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Stanley Kubrick and Phillip K. Dick. Students will also have ample opportunity to introduce the rest of the class to their own favorite science fiction works.

ENGL 383.S01 Creative Writing I

MWF 2-2:50 p.m.

Amber Jensen

Creative Writing I encourages students to strengthen poetry, creative nonfiction, and/or fiction writing skills through sustained focus on creative projects throughout the course (for example, collections of shorter works focused on a particular form/style/theme, longer prose pieces, hybrid works, etc.). Students will engage in small- and large-group writing workshops as well as individual conferences with the instructor throughout the course to develop a portfolio of creative work. The class allows students to explore multiple genres through the processes of writing and revising their own creative texts and through writing workshop, emphasizing the application of craft concepts across genre, but also allows students to choose one genre of emphasis, which they will explore through analysis of self-select texts, which they will use to deepen their understanding of the genre and to contextualize their own creative work.

ENGL 475.S01 Creative Nonfiction

Mondays 3-5:50 p.m.

In this course, students will explore the expansive and exciting genre of creative nonfiction, including a variety of forms such as personal essay, braided essay, flash nonfiction, hermit crab essays, profiles and more. Through rhetorical reading, discussion, and workshop, students will engage published works, their own writing process, and peer work as they expand their understanding of the possibilities presented in this genre and the craft elements that can be used to shape readers’ experience of a text. Students will compile a portfolio of polished work that demonstrates their engagement with course concepts and the writing process.

ENGL 485.S01 Writing Center Tutoring

MW 8:30-9:45 a.m.

Since their beginnings in the 1920s and 30s, writing centers have come to serve numerous functions: as hubs for writing across the curriculum initiatives, sites to develop and deliver workshops, and resource centers for faculty as well as students, among other functions. But the primary function of writing centers has necessarily and rightfully remained the tutoring of student writers. This course will immerse you in that function in two parts. During the first four weeks, you will explore writing center praxis—that is, the dialogic interplay of theory and practice related to writing center work. This part of the course will orient you to writing center history, key theoretical tenets and practical aspects of writing center tutoring. Once we have developed and practiced this foundation, you will begin work in the writing center as a tutor, responsible for assisting a wide variety of student clients with numerous writing tasks. Through this work, you will learn to actively engage with student clients in the revision of a text, respond to different student needs and abilities, work with a variety of writing tasks and rhetorical situations and develop a richer sense of writing as a complex and negotiated social process.

ENGL 492.S01 The Vietnam War in Literature and Film

Tuesdays 3-5:50 p.m.

Dr. Jason McEntee

In 1975, the United States officially included its involvement in the Vietnam War, thus marking 2025 as the 50th anniversary of the conclusion (in name only) of one of the most chaotic, confusing, and complex periods in American history. In this course, we will consider how literature and film attempt to chronicle the Vietnam War and, perhaps more important, its aftermath. I have designed this course for those looking to extend their understanding of literature and film to include the ideas of art, experience, commercial products, and cultural documents. Learning how to interpret literature and movies remains the highest priority of the course, including, for movies, the study of such things as genre, mise-en-scene (camera movement, lighting, etc.), editing, sound and so forth.

We will read Dispatches , A Rumor of War , The Things They Carried , A Piece of My Heart , and Bloods , among others. Some of the movies that we will screen are: Apocalypse Now (the original version), Full Metal Jacket , Platoon , Coming Home , Born on the Fourth of July , Dead Presidents , and Hearts and Minds . Because we must do so, we will also look at some of the more fascinatingly outrageous yet culturally significant fantasies about the war, such as The Green Berets and Rambo: First Blood, Part II .

ENGL 492.S02 Classical Mythology

TuTh 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Drs. Michael S. Nagy and Graham Wrightson

Modern society’s fascination with mythology manifests itself in the continued success of novels, films and television programs about mythological or quasi-mythological characters such as Hercules, the Fisher King, and Gandalf the Grey, all of whom are celebrated for their perseverance or their daring deeds in the face of adversity. This preoccupation with mythological figures necessarily extends back to the cultures which first propagated these myths in early folk tales and poems about such figures as Oðin, King Arthur, Rhiannon, Gilgamesh, and Odysseus, to name just a few. English 492, a reading-intensive course cross-listed with History 492, primarily aims to expose students to the rich tradition of mythological literature written in languages as varied as French, Gaelic, Welsh, Old Icelandic, Greek, and Sumerian; to explore the historical, social, political, religious, and literary contexts in which these works flourished (if indeed they did); and to grapple with the deceptively simple question of what makes these myths continue to resonate with modern audiences. Likely topics and themes of this course will include: Theories of myth; Mythological Beginnings: Creation myths and the fall of man; Male and Female Gods in Myth; Foundation myths; Nature Myths; The Heroic Personality; the mythological portrayal of (evil/disruptive) women in myth; and Monsters in myth.

Likely Texts:

  • Dalley, Stephanie, trans. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford World’s Classics, 2009
  • Faulkes, Anthony, trans. Edda. Everyman, 1995
  • Gregory, Lady Augusta. Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster. Forgotten Books, 2007
  • Jones, Gwyn, Thomas Jones, and Mair Jones. The Mabinogion. Everyman Paperback Classics, 1993
  • Larrington, Carolyne, trans. The Poetic Edda . Oxford World’s Classics, 2009
  • Matarasso, Pauline M., trans. The Quest of the Holy Grail. Penguin Classics, 1969
  • Apollodorus, Hesiod’s Theogony
  • Hesiod’s Works and Days
  • Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Homeric Hymns
  • Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Iliad, Odyssey
  • Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica
  • Ovid’s Heroides
  • Greek tragedies: Orestaia, Oedipus trilogy, Trojan Women, Medea, Hippoolytus, Frogs, Seneca's Thyestes, Dyskolos, Amphitryon
  • Clash of the Titans, Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts, Troy (and recent miniseries), Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

ENGL 492.ST1 Science Writing

Erica summerfield.

This course aims to teach the fundamentals of effective scientific writing and presentation. The course examines opportunities for covering science, the skills required to produce clear and understandable text about technical subjects, and important ethical and practical constraints that govern the reporting of scientific information. Students will learn to present technical and scientific issues to various audiences. Particular emphasis will be placed on conveying the significance of research, outlining the aims, and discussing the results for scientific papers and grant proposals. Students will learn to write effectively, concisely, and clearly while preparing a media post, fact sheet, and scientific manuscript or grant.

Graduate Courses

Engl 575.s01 creative nonfiction.

In this course, students will explore the expansive and exciting genre of creative nonfiction, including a variety of forms such as personal essay, braided essay, flash nonfiction, hermit crab essays, profiles, and more. Through rhetorical reading, discussion, and workshop, students will engage published works, their own writing process, and peer work as they expand their understanding of the possibilities presented in this genre and the craft elements that can be used to shape readers’ experience of a text. Students will compile a portfolio of polished work that demonstrates their engagement with course concepts and the writing process.

ENGL 592.S01: The Vietnam War in Literature and Film

Engl 704.s01 introduction to graduate studies.

Thursdays 3-5:50 p.m.

Introduction to Graduate Studies is required of all first-year graduate students. The primary purpose of this course is to introduce students to modern and contemporary literary theory and its applications. Students will write short response papers and will engage at least one theoretical approach in their own fifteen- to twenty-page scholarly research project. In addition, this course will further introduce students to the M.A. program in English at South Dakota State University and provide insight into issues related to the profession of English studies.

ENGL 792.ST1 Grant Writing

This online course will familiarize students with the language, rhetorical situation, and components of writing grant proposals. Students will explore various funding sources, learn to read an RFP, and develop an understanding of different professional contexts and the rhetorical and structural elements that suit those distinct contexts. Students will write a sample proposal throughout the course and offer feedback to their peers, who may be writing in different contexts, which will enhance their understanding of the varied applications of course content. Through their work in the course, students will gain confidence in their ability to find, apply for, and receive grant funding to support their communities and organizations.

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  • Zenless Zone Zero guides

9 beginner’s tips to know before starting Zenless Zone Zero

Some advice for players taking their first step into New Eridu

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A Bangboo in an orange neck scarf sits behind the counter at the Random Play video story in Zenless Zone Zero

Zenless Zone Zero is Hoyoverse’s latest installment in their line of mobile RPGs, and while the aesthetic diverges notably from its other games, the systems and mechanics will be pretty familiar.

Whether you’re an expert coming over from Honkai Impact 3rd , Genshin Impact , and Honkai: Star Rail , or a newbie who wants to try out their first gacha mobile game, we’ve listed some things to know before diving into ZZZ .

Yes, ZZZ is a gacha game

If you were wondering if Zenless Zone Zero was just a really stylish mobile RPG or if it has the notorious gambling element to it — yes, it has gacha. That means, when it comes to unlocking new powerful characters and weapons, you’ll need spend hard-earned or bought premium currency for a chance to get your desired character.

ZZZ is the same as the other Hoyoverse games — the free, lower-rarity characters are good enough to clear the story with, and you’ll amass an army of higher-rarity characters as you play the game. Just don’t expect to get every character.

A dog sits behind a news stand in Zenless Zone Zero

ZZZ follows the same gameplay loop as other popular mobile games

The story, combat, and puzzles in Zenless Zone Zero are different from the other games, but the gameplay loop that you’ll follow every day as you do dailies is the same as your average mobile character building RPG.

You collect characters (agents) and weapons (W-engines) via the gacha system. You’ll need to use stamina (battery charge) to farm materials to power up these characters. You will eventually hit a point where you collect sub-equips for each character (drive discs), which have unique passive abilities and gain randomized stats.

There are a few different things, like minigames and specific game modes that sets ZZZ apart from these other games, but at its core, you’ll be doing similar stuff from day-to-day after you complete the game’s story.

Don’t forget about the noodle house and coffee shop

You can get buffs from the coffee shop and noodle house in exchange for money. Additionally, ordering a cup of coffee will let you replenish 60 battery charge per day, so that’s more free materials to farm!

The noodle shop in Zenless Zone Zero, run by a red yokai

Use your battery charge (stamina) as soon as you can

Not too long after starting the story, you’ll unlock the HIA Club, a place you can drive to in order to farm materials for your characters. You should start doing this immediately to burn some of your battery charge (what the game calls its stamina system). Since battery charge caps out at 240 with excess getting wasted, you should spend it on farming materials, since you’re just wasting a valuable resource otherwise.

Completing these levels also rewards you with EXP to increase your Inter-Knot level (your account level), which you’ll need to progress through the game.

Test your agents before you commit to building them

The VR device in front of the Hollow Deep Dive System lets you learn how to use different agents in the Agent Academy. You might want to try out the various characters, not just because you get rewards for doing so, but because the characters you might end up liking the kit for may be ones you weren’t planning on building. Koleda sure looks cool, but maybe after testing things out, Lycaon’s kit suits your fancy more.

Early on, your resources will be limited so you can’t build every character you get. Figure out which ones you like best and go from there.

Turn trial mode off if you don’t want to use the story’s characters

There will be instances where Zenless Zone Zero wants you to play as specific characters who are relevant to the story, but you can toggle this in the bottom-left corner of the character select screen. If you want to use your characters instead, turn this off.

A menu screen in Zenless Zone Zero asking if you want to disable “agent trial mode” so you can use your own characters in battle.

Don’t use your Polychrome to pull on the standard banner

Polychrome is the premium currency that you’ll get to spend on the gacha system (and some other, less important things, like paying to replenish your battery charge). As you play, you’ll amass a ton of Master Tape, currency you can use to roll on the standard gacha banner. This banner never changes and will likely keep the same S-rank agents and W-engines in it.

You should instead use your Polychrome to buy Encrypted Master Tape, which allows you to roll on whichever event banner is happening. Event banner characters are only obtainable for a certain period of time (though they will return in later updates), so rather than spending your precious premium currency on the standard characters who are bound to get power-crept, you should use your Polychrome on the limited characters.

Every gacha game expert will tell you not to waste your precious currency on permanent banners, as you can still get these characters from event banners anyway.

Get used to dodging and countering

The monsters you fight early on will be easy peasy, and it’ll feel like all you need to do is button mash to take them out. As you progress, things will get tougher, and you’ll want to start utilizing that dodge, making sure to time it right when the enemy shines so you can parry and counter them. You might as well form good habits early on and get used to dodging attacks, even if you feel like you don’t need to.

Lycaon in Zenless Zone Zero executing a perfect dodge against a creature

The time of day affects what you can do, but don’t stress about it

Some side quests are only available during certain times of the day, but don’t fret too much about min-maxing your day. There’s no punishment for taking extra days, and you can rest on the sofa to pass the time as needed to access whatever quests you want.

For more Zenless Zone Zero guides , see our list of active codes , and a guide to Officer Mewmew Medal locations .

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  6. Start Here

    The parts of the close reading will depend on the type of assignment. You might be asked to do something like the following: Write a formal essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion that closely examines elements from a text or passage and explains their importance or effect. Write a paragraph or series of paragraphs examining a passage ...

  7. Close-Reading Strategies: The Ultimate Guide to Close Reading

    Close reading will help you write essays and perform well on standardized tests like the SAT Reading Section. Any age group can practice close reading, and it works with any text. This article will outline everything you need to know about close reading, including what it is, why it's important, how to do a close reading, and 5 strategies to ...

  8. Close reading

    Close reading ‌ Elaine Showalter describes close reading as: ... This means that the writer can assume that their reader knows the text and doesn't need extensive plot summary in the introduction or start of the essay. This frees up space for analysis and the laying out of each section's claims. It also helps to develop an authoritative voice ...

  9. Steps for Writing a Close Reading

    Step 4: Construct an argument about the passage. Now that you have some idea of HOW language is being used in your passage, you need to connect this to the larger themes of the text. In other words, you now need to address WHY language is being used in the way (or ways) you have observed. This step is essential to a successful close reading.

  10. Close reading

    The close reading essay is designed to bring out your reading of a text, and as such, will involve you making an argument (remember, close reading is not just a description of the text). ... Remember to include a brief statement of your argument in your introduction: it is best to write the introduction after you have finished a draft of the ...

  11. 2.1 Introduction to Close Reading

    Pixabay. CC0 1.0. Every close reading relies on evidence. Without evidence, a writer is simply stating their opinion. As such, writing an essay begins well before you start writing with the process of gathering evidence. In fact, very little essay writing is actually "writing.". Rather, most of the essay writing process is: Gathering ...

  12. How to write a CLOSE READING ESSAY

    Paper length Your paper should be 650-750 words long, maximum. Be detailed but concise. Edit out unnecessary words and redundancies. (Include your selected passage in your paper, but do not count it as part of the total length.) A sample close reading essay is available online.

  13. Close Reading

    Close Reading a Text. Use these "tracking" methods to yield a richer understanding of the text and lay a solid ground work for your thesis. Use a highlighter, but only after you've read for comprehension. The point of highlighting at this stage is to note key passages, phrases, turning points in the story. Pitfalls:

  14. Introduction to Close Reading

    Introduction to Close Reading Every text has an argument, you just have to look for it. Pixabay/CC0 1.0 Writing an essay at the university level means entering an ongoing scholarly conversation.Before you select an essay subject, you should know that throughout history, scholars have addressed and articulated similar concerns and ideas; many have dedicated their lives to these problems and ...

  15. PDF Close Reading for English Literature Assignments short passage

    ng for English Literature AssignmentsWhat is a close reading?A clos. reading is a very in-depth, careful analysis of a short text. This text can be a passa. e selected from a novel, a poem, an image, a short story, etc. The analysis looks carefully at what is happening in the short text, but. isn't necessarily isolated from references outside ...

  16. "What is Close Reading?" || Definition and Strategies

    We use close reading to make new knowledge out of our interactions with a text, which is why your instructors in high school and college might ask you to use close reading to write an essay, since the United States higher education system values the production of new knowledge.

  17. How to Write a Close Reading Essay

    A close reading essay is an in-depth paper that carefully studies a short work or a section of a longer one. Rather than treat the larger themes of the work alone, a close reading essay goes into details and substantiates observations with examples from the work being examined. Analyze the techniques that writers employ to convey their ideas ...

  18. How to Write a Close Reading Essay (2022 Guide)

    Definition. A close reading essay is an essay that has a focus on the tiny themes inherent in a literary passage, story or poem. Lots of essays out there are more than happy to cover the "bigger themes": these are themes that are concerned with things like justice, love, revenge, becoming an adult, loneliness. These "bigger themes" are ...

  19. Close Reading

    Close reading is a fundamental skill for the analysis of any sort of text or discourse, whether it is literary, political, or commercial. It enables you to analyze how a text functions, and it helps you to understand a text's explicit and implicit goals. The structure, vocabulary, language, imagery, and metaphors used in a text are all ...

  20. College Close-reading Essays: Instruction, Examples

    In close reading essays, the writer is expected to explain in detail how smaller teams have been used creatively to connect to the larger theme. In such articles, you should be in a position to tell how the writer has used his language and what has been left out. ... you begin your essay with an introduction and insert a thesis statement at the ...

  21. Example close reading

    Example close reading. Below is an example of a close reading written for the module by a now-graduated student. It demonstrates how to focus on the text and balance close reading with cultural context (although is slightly longer than the essays we now ask you to write). Percy Bysshe Shelley, 'Mont Blanc' (ll. 1-48) (Chloe Todd-Fordham) In A ...

  22. Assignment: Close Reading

    A close reading is a study of the detail in a short section of a text and an explanation of how that detail and that section are related to the entire text. In thinking about literature, you should always refer back to the detail of a text as well as to its grander effects. The project requires critical thinking and concise writing.

  23. (PDF) Close Reading

    View PDF. Close Reading Mark Byron Summary Close reading describes a set of procedures and methods that distinguishes the scholarly apprehension of textual material from the more prosaic reading practices of everyday life. Its origins and ancestry are rooted in the exegetical traditions of sacred texts (principally from the Hindu, Jewish ...

  24. IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay: Topics, Samples and Tips

    Step 3: Write an engaging introduction. Begin your essay with a captivating opening sentence that grabs the reader's attention. Provide some background information or context related to the topic. State your thesis or main argument clearly, which will guide the rest of your essay. Step 4: Develop coherent body paragraphs

  25. Opinion: Donald Trump is going to win the election and democracy will

    "Democrats' post-debate hand-wringing is based on the idea that a Trump victory is not just a political loss, but a unique threat to our democracy. I reject the premise."

  26. Spring 2025 Semester

    Through close reading and work on personal texts, students will address the decisions that writers in any genre must face on voice, rhetorical position, relationship to audience, etc. Students will produce and revise portfolios of original creative work developed from prompts and research.

  27. Zenless Zone Zero beginner's tips before starting

    Zenless Zone Zero is Hoyoverse's latest installment in their line of mobile RPGs, and while the aesthetic diverges notably from its other games, the systems and mechanics will be pretty familiar