Select a passage from Pepy’s Diary.docx (ideally, your passage should constitute between 8-10 lines of text).
Copy the passage out, single-spaced, citing line numbers if it is poetry or page numbers if it is prose.
Following the passage, write a 2-3 page double-spaced close reading in which you:
1) Identify one significant detail or pattern of details (i.e., groups of similar kinds of words, or an extended metaphor) in the passage you’ve chosen. Describe the detail/pattern in more depth so it is clear what specific elements of the passage you are drawing from (1 pgh).
2) Offer a plausible explanation for the significance of that detail or pattern of details to broader themes in the text (1 pgh). [You can cite other passages in the text as a means of demonstrating your original passage’s significance, but you should stay largely focused on your original passage.]
3) Consider and describe an alternative explanation for the significance of that detail or pattern of details (1 pgh). [Hint: if you cannot come up with a convincing, thoughtful one, maybe this isn’t the right passage to cite! Choose another.]
4) Weigh the relative benefits of each explanation for your understanding of the text, coming to some conclusion regarding the significance of your chosen passage for understanding the text as a whole (1-2 pghs).
Remember that this is a piece of formal writing. Formal writing should be crafted, thoughtful, polished, and proof-read and—though you are welcome to use “I” in this essay—should not be casual in tone.
The point breakdown is as follows:
50 points for handing in a formally-written, 2-3 page paper that exactly follows the format above.
50 points for identifying an interesting, significant detail/pattern of details in the text.
50 points for proposing a convincing plausible explanation for the significance of that detail/pattern of details.
50 points for proposing an equally convincing alternative explanation.
50 points for a thoughtful, extensive weighing of each explanation.