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May 19, 2023
A close reading begins with a paraphrase of a short passage and complicates it. It is a coherent,
precise analysis of a passage from a literary text which acknowledges its primary obvious meaning;
its secondary, implicit meanings; and most importantly, considers how one arrives at those
meanings. A close reading tries to answer the questions: What is it like to read this passage? How do
I come to conclusions about what it means? To answer these questions, it is essential to pay
attention to the unique characteristics of the passage’s language. How is the language organized?
What imagery is used? What figures of speech? What kind of diction? A close reading links such
particulars of the reading experience to the creation of primary and secondary meanings. Finally, a good close reading can gesture toward how that passage fits into some larger theme or issue
addressed by the whole text from which it is taken.
Any of these:
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four (Chapters 1-6)
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four (Chapters 7-12)
Susan Sontag, “AIDS and Its
Metaphors” (DSR 153)
David Hevey, “The Enfreakment
of Photography” (DSR 367)
Davidson, “Universal Design: The Work of Disability in an Age of Globalization” (DSR 117)
Tobin Siebers, “Disability
in Theory: From Social Constructionism to the New Realism of the Body” (DSR 173)
Erving Goffman, “Selections from
Stigma” (DSR 131)
Coleman, “Stigma: An Enigma Demystified” (DSR 141)

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