Close Textual
Analysis
Close Textual Analysis
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Work in sections: paragraph, page, subject, etc
Analyze for intrinsic and extrinsic meaning,
Relationship to the rest of the text,
Rhetorical devices,
Structure and aesthetics.
Even though you are concentrating on a single
portion of the communication, it is important that
you read/listen to the entire work to understand
its relationship to the whole.
Detailed Work
• Work to understand the denotative and connotative
meanings of every word in the text.
– Use your thesaurus and dictionary frequently so that you
understand every possible meaning even when you think you
know what is being said.
• Analyze sentence structure
– (simple, complex, compound, compound-complex) and
paragraph structure and progression.
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Does the passage describe a natural or artificial scene?
What is the degree of plausibility, suspension of
disbelief?
• How vivid and explicit is the descriptive language?
You Ask Many Questions
• Does it describe character as monologue or dialogue,
explicit or unconscious?
• Does it describe an action, develop an argument or an
idea?
• How is the passage sequenced, in other words, what
comes before and after, and why?
• Is the passage devoted to exposition, complication,
turning point, crisis, climax or resolution?
• What are the levels of empathy or emotional
involvement?
• What comedic and tragic techniques or devices are
used?
• In what person is the text written or delivered?
Keep asking Questions
• Who is the audience?
• Analyze language; pay close attention to both
diction, or choice of words, (formal, informal,
colloquial, concrete, abstract) and rhetorical
devices.
• Meter can be analyzed. Prose passages can be
looked at to determine rhythm.
• What socio-political or philosophical knowledge
is necessary to understand the meaning of the
passages.
• Compare and contrast multiple passages for
similar theme, style or objective.
Pull the thing together
• It is not enough to just identify all these
devices and answer the questions.
– you must relate them to the whole,
– evaluate their impact on dramatic structure,
aesthetics, meaning, and objective.
• What patterns emerge?
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Close Textual Analysis - Mesa Community College