close analysis The analysis sticks

close analysis The analysis sticks

*The analysis sticks close to the text itself, shows me how the language (and its metaphor, symbols, figures, voice, etc.) works to produce a certain effect or result in the reader. When addressing concerns about the social or political context, but the analysis makes very clear the connection between what is going on in the passage, and what is happening outside. There is concrete evidence, not mere speculation, linking the analysis of the text and socio-political concerns.
*The analysis itself has a sense of structure and direction – it is not simply a random collection of observations seemingly disconnected; instead, it ties nicely to a discussion of the critical concept being demonstrated. Through this analysis, the reader not only has a better sense of how the concept works, but also how the passage works as well.
*The analysis “shows” us how the rhetoric of the text works, and does not merely “tell” us what it means. Rather than summarizing the text of the passage, and then saying it’s “important,” or “symbolic,” it actively describes, analyzes, and dissects the actual words on the page to show us why their important.
*Analysis is organized into paragraphs that have topic sentences. The paragraphs themselves are of reasonable length, neither too short (less than three sentences) or too long (over a page). The sentences themselves are clear, concise, and demonstrate proper grammar and syntax. One or two barely noticeable grammatical (including spelling) mistakes are acceptable. Correct punctuation, quotation, and attribution followed throughout. It is a clean draft.
*Instructions for completing and turning in assignment were scrupulously followed.
Pick ONE critical term (some terms will be introduced in coming lectures):


Like the first assignment, you will select a passage (about one paragraph, should not be more than half a page single-spaced, and from a different text) from one of the fictional works we’ve read so far and perform a close reading.


However, in this assignment, you will be asked to use your close reading to help explicate a critical term we’ve studied in the course and listed below. So in addition to picking out a passage, you must also pair it with a critical idea. How can you use the skills of close analysis to help us understand how a particular critical idea works?


Pick ONE critical term (some terms will be introduced in coming lectures):


class stand


socialist realism



Root-seeking literature

the “dao”


Your analysis (minus the passage with which you will begin your paper) should be about 2.5-3 pages, double-spaced.


The goal of this exercise is to demonstrate your ability to perform two levels of analysis. One is close, concrete, textual analysis, whereby you walk me through a passage. The other level is that of conceptual and abstract reasoning. Can you explicate one of these critical terms in a comprehensive and nuanced way, and moreover, can you integrate this discussion with a close reading analysis?


This is how most literary analysis works – we discuss abstract concepts and ideas, but through a concrete, meticulous exploration of the texture of the text itself. We do not simply impose an idea on top of a text – by unfolding the text carefully, we demonstrate our ability to discuss, in a nuanced manner, the idea at hand.


You will begin your paper by first quoting the actual passage, so we know exactly what you plan to discuss. Please note author, title, and page number in the manner demonstrated below. As you will need to feature a “block quotation,” please indent the passage in question a full one-inch from the left. Because you set off a block quotation from the margin, you have already signaled that it is a quotation – there is no need for quotation marks. After you are done with your quotation, you will then tell us where it comes from in the following manner:


(Author, Title or “Title,” #)


When quoting novels, you italicize the title. When it’s a short story, you do not italicize the title, but place it in quotation marks.


For example:


(Wu Jianren, Sea of Regret, 110-111).




Lu Xun, “Diary of a Madman,”


Remember, with Chinese names, the surname goes first, given name second. To stay on the safe side, write the whole name throughout. With pen names, like Lu Xun, Lao She, and Mao Dun, you never abbreviate.


In this assignment, you are being evaluated on your ability to:


*Select an appropriate passage that lends itself to a close analysis

*Perform a close reading based on the actual passage you choose

*Show a nuanced, thoughtful exploration of a critical idea through examining a passage that helps to illustrate this idea

*Write up your analysis in an organized, clear, and convincing manner.


You are asked to stick as close as possible to textual analysis, and to avoid trying to “decode” the passage in a facile way in order to try to make it fit your own preconceived notion of what the text ought to be about, whether it be “China,” “feudalism,” “society,” etc. In this exercise you must also be careful about “showing” me how the text comes together rather than “telling” me.


Instructions for Turning in Assignment