“Be careful what you swallow. Chew!”—Gwendolyn Brooks. “Ask …

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“Be careful what you swallow. Chew!”—Gwendolyn Brooks. “Ask ‘So What?’—not meekly, but in the active voice of a writer who cares”—Bruce Beiderwell and Jeffrey M. Wheeler For this assignment, you will use to record your personal reactions to and interpretation of those aspects that you find most important or interesting in from one of the short-stories that we’ve read for this week. PART I: FOCUSED RESPONSE To ensure you’re not merely summarizing the story, write a substantive paragraph in answer to each of the following sets of questions, which require that you attend to a different level of meaning: The assumption behind this type of close reading exercise is that you will better understand how the whole works once you’ve seen how a piece works. Each level of meaning opens up possibilities for further, extended analysis. Answering the above questions—and watching your response evolve as you work through the reading—will you generate a thesis statement that articulates what you think the writer is doing in this passage and why. Equally ful are the Review Cards at the end of the textbook, cards which provide more specific “Reading and Reacting” questions about some of these texts, as well as “Checklists” that allow you to measure your understanding of the concepts introduced in the assigned chapters. PART II: THESIS STATEMENT Drawing on the textual evidence you have focused in your response, draft a thesis statement about the section of the text you have explicated or about the text as a whole. As you review your notes and annotations, what strikes you as an interesting issue about the text? What idea do you keep thinking about or coming back to in your notes? Consider using templates such as the following: By looking closely at ____________________, we can see __________________. (specific literary elements) This is important because ____________________. In “Title of Text,” author A is ____________________ in order ____________________ (author’s purpose and text’s message) Notice, in the following thesis statements, how the writers have identified key literary devices that shed light on the text as a whole: Review, in the Unit 1 Course Materials folder, the handout put together by Carol DeGrass, who explains what a strong thesis should—and should not do—and provides examples of weak and strong thesis statements. BRASS TACKS See the folder for a sample close reading of selected passages from “The Empty Family,” a short-story by Colm Tóibín. The following “How to do a Close Reading” handout from the Harvard Writing Center s you understand the basic expectations of analytical writing and academic essays: