I Finally Get Close Reading!

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Instead of reflecting on what John Desmond had to say in his "Flannery O'Connor's Misfit and the Mystery of Evil," I just wanted to mention that this assignment really helped me to better understand how to write a close reading paper (To see our assignment, click here).  By highlighting and underlining the claims and evidence, I was able to see how a published author properly integrates opinions, claims, and text into a close reading essay.  I really wish we could have done this prior to writing our close reading essays because I think I would have done much better on my first and second drafts; however I am still very glad that we were given this assignment.  I honestly got more out of this exercise than from the ideas presented by Desmond on O'Connor.

3 Comments

Kaitlin Monier said:

I agree, being able to read an example of close reading and to identify the claims is helpful. Next time we have to do a close reading in any class, I plan on using this reading assignment to remind me how to do a close reading

Erica, thanks for the feedback.

My thinking was that I felt we needed some time to get to know Flannery O'Connor before we were ready to look this closely at an academic article *about* one of O'Connor's stories.

When I taught "Literary Criticism" last year, almost every week some student had an epiphany and wrote in a blog entry, "If I'd read *this* article the first week of class, I wouldn't have had to spend so many weeks being confused!"

But during the weeks you felt you were struggling (and reading, and discussing, and thinking, and writing about your experiences), you were learning.

The neural pathways that are right now buzzing and throbbing with excitement now that you've got it all figured out may not have even existed a few weeks ago.

The last three weeks of class we'll write a "Researched Essay," which will include more close reading, so you will get the opportunity to apply these skills.

I agree, Erica. The exercise itself helped me more than actually reading Desmond's ideas. Overall, I did not like Desmond's close reading, but I did benefit from picking out his claims and evidence, etc.

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