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S3 - Introduction to Close Reading

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1 S3 - Introduction to Close Reading

2 Imagery Remember that you must be able to identify SIMILE, METAPHOR and PERSONIFICATION If asked to say why this image has been used or why it is appropriate or effective, carry out the following process: Ask what is being compared to what? Think about the features and properties that you associate with item B and then see if any are similar to item A. Finally you should be able to explain effectiveness.

3 Read the following extract from the 2004 Credit Reading paper in which Pelagia has come upon a supposed stranger – Mandras - in her kitchen. Mandras describes his experiences to her: “And the ice screams. It shrieks. And voices call to you out of it. And you look into it and you see people. They beckon and wave, and they mock, and you shoot into the ice but they don’t shut up, and then the ice squeaks. It squeaks all night, all night.” Question: Identify a technique used by the writer which helps to convey the man’s sense of panic and distress. 2--0

4 2) Read the following extract from the 2002 Credit Reading paper about a woman who has been caught shoplifting. He told her to take a seat while he called security, but when he turned away she let out a thin wail that made him recoil from the phone. She had both her temples between her hands, as if afraid her head might explode. She let out another shrill wail. It ripped out of her like something wild kept prisoner for years. It seemed to make the room shrink around them. Question Quote a comparison from this section which shows how emotional or upset the woman was, and explain how effective you find it

5 3) Read the following extract from the 2004 General Reading paper about hummingbirds.
Hovering hummingbirds draw crowds of naturalists from all over the world to South-East Arizona, but hovering does have a major drawback. Pound for pound, beating your wings 70 times per second uses more energy than any other activity in the animal kingdom. Living life in the fast lane means hummingbirds need a continuous supply of fuel. Question: Identify the example of imagery in this paragraph and explain how it is effective 2-1-0

6 Word Choice You will also be expected to understand and comment on why the writer has opted for a particular word in order to convey his/her ideas. You will have to analyse the words used by the writer. The following extract is from the 2001 Credit Reading paper in which the narrator reflects on the first visit of an aunt and cousin. The driver opened the back door of the taxi and my “aunt”, as we referred to her – really my mother’s aunt’s daughter – divested herself of the travelling rugs. She hazarded a foot out on to the gravel – in a pointy crocodile shoe- as if she were testing the atmosphere. She emerged dressed in a waisted black cashmere overcoat with a fur collar and strange scalloped black kid-skin gloves. Question: What impression do you get of the aunt through the writer’s choice of the words “divested”, “hazarded” and emerged” to describe her movements

7 2) The following extract is from the 1999 Credit Reading paper in which the narrator describes a little boy’s experiences of childhood on the Caribbean island of Martinique. The boy is trying to catch a rat. One day the old rat spotted him. Standing on the edge of the tub, he furtively glanced his way, then pursued his quest. Two inhuman orbs of opaque blackness served as his eyes. For a split second these eyes brushed over him, and, in a certain sense, scorned him. Never again did the old rat, even though he knew the boy was watching, grant him a second glance. He modified his routes and always remained far from the overhang of the roof where the boy – changing his tactics, trying to be selective – was perched, rock in hand, directly above the bait on the ground, waiting to crush the Old Man’s back. Question: What does the writer’s use of the word “perched” add to the image created that a simpler word like “sitting” would not? 2-1-0

8 Obtaining Particular Information
This is when you have to quote/pick out specific information written in the passage. You have to be very careful not to quote too much and also not to quote too little. Read the following extract from the 2002 General Reading paper about car boot sales. Behind them, all kinds of people are perched on the tailgates of a variety of vehicles. Is this some bizarre store for recycled rubbish? Well, in a way it is. In other words, you have found yourself in the middle of your first car boot sale. They can be found most weekends in summer, and sometimes in winter too, in villages, towns and cities throughout the country. Question: Write down an expression which shows that the writer thinks this “junk” makes a strange collection. 2-0

9 Read the following extract from the 1998 Credit Reading paper in which the writer gives his impression of an area of Montana. He describes an encounter with a Montana farmer. We sat on for several minutes in an amiable silence punctuated by the cries of the killdeer and the faulty muffler of the pick-up. Then the man said, “Nice visiting with you,” and eased forward. In the rear view mirror I watched his storm of dust sink behind the brow of the hill. Question: Quote an expression that suggests that despite being strangers, the two men are quite comfortable in each other’s company. 2-0

10 In your Own Words Some questions will say specifically that you need to answer ‘in your own words’. However, at Credit level there is an expectation that unless asked to ‘write down’ or ‘quote’ you should try not to simply lift from the passage. DO NOT try to do a word for word translation. Just try to show that you have understood the general idea.

11 Try to express the following ideas in your own words
The child was terribly afraid of his neighbour’s dog. He hastily opened up his presents desperate to find the longed for games console. The wind caught the tiles of the roof and like a violent mugger stole them away. The tears ran gently down the girl’s cheeks. The stranger appeared to find it hard to catch a breath, She watched him move toward the door and then out. Suddenly she felt alone.

12 Read the following extract from the 2003 Credit Reading paper about the Dodo bird.
Dodomania was born. Soon Dutch artists were copying the first drawings of the bird and including them in the fantastical “menagerie” paintings that were all the rage. Several birds were captured and brought back to Europe. One found its way to London, where it was displayed for the benefit of paying customers. Question: What examples of Dodomania does the writer give? Answer in your own words

13 Read the following extract from the 2001 Credit Reading paper in which the narrator reflects on the first visit of an aunt and cousin. My mother smiled – cautiously – and my father closed the door. “Do come and have some tea, both of you, “ he said. He was forever at a loss with guests to Oakdene, my father: now for some reason a smile was starting to break on his reserved banker’s “business” face my mother and I were so used to living with. Questions: Explain in your own words: a) In what two ways the father reacted to the guests b) Why in each case this was unusual

14 Sentence Structure You will also be expected to comment on the way a writer has built sentences for effect. You will need to be familiar with the following features: punctuation sentence length repetition climax list forms parenthesis inversion

15 Punctuation Commas: 1) Separate items in a list e.g. (Look out for list forms as they are a commonly used feature in Close Reading papers) I went to buy milk, eggs, bread and some flour. They talked, cried, laughed and hugged. 2) Separate clauses within a sentence e.g. Although I like school, I do not enjoy the pressure of exams. Because she slept in, she missed her bus and was late for work.

16 3) Separate additional non-essential information from the rest of a sentence e.g.
My sister, who is a teacher, lives in Edinburgh. Lochgelly High School, a small secondary in Fife, is situated in an ex-mining community. TASK: Now you have a go. Write out three sentences of your own, one for each of the purposes listed previously.

17 Exclamation Mark Will be used for an exclamation. Suggests strong emotion such as shock, surprise and anger. E.g. I can’t believe you’re here! How dare you speak to me like that! Question Mark Always indicates that a question has been asked. Sometimes writers will use rhetorical questions – questions which do not expect an answer but are simply used to emphasis a point or stimulate thought within the reader. E.g. What time do you call this?

18 Colon (:) Can introduce a list e.g. Campers are expected to provide the following: sheets, blankets, and towels. 2) Presents an example or explanation or elaboration of the statement before it. e.g. His thoughts are clear: he intends to become a lawyer. King Midas cared for only one thing: gold. TASK: Put colons into the following sentences She has told me what she will do she will go for the job. There is one thing we should concern ourselves with global warming.

19 Semi colon (;) a firmer break than a comma, but not as definite as a full stop. It links two closely related statements E.g. People are usually willing to give advice; they are much less inclined to take it. 2) separates ‘lengthy’ items in a list (often items that already have a common within them) E.g. The newly elected members are Thomas Smith, president; Emily Wilson, secretary; and Angela Carson, treasurer.

20 TASK: put semi- colons into the following sentences
It was the best of times it was the worst of times. In the meeting today we have Professor Wilson, University of Barnsley, Dr Watson, University of Barrow in Furness, Colonel Custard, Metropolitan Police and Dr Mable Syrup, Genius General, University of Otago, New Zealand. 3) Lisa got stuck into the task Josh just stood and watched. 4) Scotland is a beautiful country the people are friendly and the scenery is stunning.

21 Single dash - a single dash adds impact or drama to a final clause or phrase (i.e. to invite the reader to pause and collect their thoughts against the shock of an unexpected ending to a sentence) e.g. George sat in his chair – dead. It can also sometimes be used like a colon to introduce an example, elaboration or expansion of the previous statement. Inverted Commas - to indicate titles of texts or to include quotations or to show doubt, disbelief or sarcasm (i.e. to indicate that the word or phrase would not necessarily be chosen by the writer, that the writer wishes to distance himself from the use of the word)

22 Ellipsis (…) The three dots at the end of a sentence. Can be used to show that the sentence is unfinished. Can indicate that lists/details are on-going. Can suggest that the person speaking has been cut off. E.g. The winner is … Watch this space… There was much to be done such as buying the food, preparing the hall, setting up the tables, getting the balloons…

23 Parenthesis This is an important technique you should know about and be able to identify. It is when double brackets, double dashes or commas are used to separate extra, non-essential information from the rest of a sentence. Sometimes it will allow a writer to insert their thoughts/views about a particular topic. E.g. My sister, who is a teacher, works in Edinburgh. The exam results (due out in August) will hopefully be good. I am attending a course – advanced computing – on Saturday.

24 TASK: Put parentheses into the following sentences.
My dad a well known musician is playing in concert on Sunday. There are three birds a starling and two sparrows outside my window every morning. The most important thing to this discussion is writing clearly. Before arriving at the station the old train someone said it was too old to be still running caught fire. NOW try to make up some sentences of your own which contain an example of parenthesis.

25 Inversion – when the normal word order (subject-verb-more information) is changed to make an effect. It always alters the emphasis of a sentence. subject verb more information Carly ate a sickening amount of cake The government is adopting this plan with enthusiasm Inversion: A sickening amount of cake Carly ate. With great enthusiasm the government is adopting this measure.

26 Repetition Look out for certain words being repeated for effect. Climax This is when there is a build up to a dramatic point within a sentence. It is often used in list forms. E.g. I shall fight my generation, for my race, for the good of mankind but above all for myself and my future. Sentence Length Be able to identify whether a sentence is short and simple or long and complex. Look out too for minor sentences. These are short sentences that do not contain a verb. E.g. Poor dears No trespassers.

27 Examples for Practice Read the following extract from the 2004 Credit Reading paper in which the narrator describes the smell from the stranger in Pelagia’s kitchen. He was breathing heavily, and the smell was inconceivably foul; it was the reek of rotting flesh, of festering wounds, of ancient perspiration, and of fear. She looked at the hands that were clasped together in the effort to prevent their quivering, and was overcome both with fright and pity. What was she to do? Question: Explain fully how the writer emphasises the smell from the stranger through sentence structure 2-1-0 Question: How does the writer use sentence structure to convey that Pelagic has a dilemma?

28 2) Read the following extract from the 2004 General Reading paper about hummingbirds.
Dozens of special hummingbird feeders, looking like upside down jam jars, are dotted around the ranch. Hanging from trees, bushes, fences and buildings they are full of a simple magic potion (four parts water, one part white sugar) similar to the nectar of hummingbird flowers. Tom and Edith keep the feeders topped up, getting through the mind-boggling 550 2lb bags of sugar in a typical year. Question: Identify and comment on the effect of two features of the sentence structure in the sentence “Hanging from trees……………flowers.”

29 3) Read the following extract from the 2000 Credit paper in which a writer reflects on the changes which have taken place on a coastal area of southern Ireland. But it is the sea, not houses or people, that dominates the strand. To the sea, and the sand and rocks that receive it, belong the images you carry with you when you pass on to the woody slopes of the glen, and the barley fields. Question Explain how the structure of the second sentence in this paragraph emphasises the importance of the sea

30 Tone  You may also be asked to identify what you think the writer’s tone or attitude/feeling is. Remember, the tone is the manner in which something is said and not what is actually being said. The tone may be reflective, sarcastic, critical, informal, formal, contemptuous, sad, positive, optimistic, to name a few examples. Look carefully at the words being used in the passage or extract to decide what you think the tone is. Try the following example from James Herriot, author of the “Vet” books. The narrator describes a dog which he has found:

31 So that was it. He had been dumped
So that was it. He had been dumped. Some time ago the humans he had loved and trusted had opened their car door, hurled him into an unknown world and driven merrily away. I began to feel sick – physically sick – and a murderous rage flowed through me. Had they laughed, I wondered, these people at the idea of the bewildered little creature toiling vainly behind them? Question a)     1) What is the writer’s attitude to the dog? 2-0 b)   2)   How does he convey this through word choice? 2-1-0 c)    3) What is the writer’s attitude towards the dog’s owners? 2-0 d)    4) How does he convey this through word choice? 2-1-0

32 Context Questions Sometimes you will be asked to say what you think a particular word means and then show how the context (the words surrounding the particular word) helps you to understand the meaning. There are three basic steps to answering this type of question. 1.       1) Write down what you think the word means. 2.   2) Quote words/expressions from the sentences surrounding the word which helped you to understand its meaning. 3.     3) Explain how these words/expressions helped you to understand the meaning. Look at the following example of this type of question from the 2003 Credit Reading paper about the dodo bird.

33 When the London dodo died, the animal was stuffed and sold to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Taxidermy not being what it is today, over the next few decades the dodo slowly rotted until it was thrown out in 1755, All, that is, except the moth-eaten head and one leg. Question: Explain how the context helps you to understand the meaning of the word “taxidermy”

34 Link Questions These questions ask you to show you understand how a particular sentence acts as a link in the writer’s argument. There are some main steps you should take when answering this type of question. Quote the part of the link sentence that refers to what came before. Say what this part is referring to. Quote the part of the link sentence that refers to what comes after. Also look out for words like but, however, yet as they may also indicate a change in direction of the argument.

35 2006 Credit Spellbound featured one boy, Neil, whose father hired specialist tutors to coach his son in words derived from French and German. Despite such dedication, Neil didn’t win. But the proclivities of such contestants and their parents in no way represent the general participant. “It’s not just the geeks and the nerds. These are normal kids,” says Ohio’s Beth Richards, whose daughter, Bailey, was making her second appearance in the finals. Explain how the underlined sentence acts as a link between the two paragraphs. (2 1 0)

36 Other Techniques Alliteration – a technique of sound. This is when you have the repetition of a letter/sound at the start of two or more words next to each other. E.g. Round the rugged rocks… Onomatopoeia – a technique of sound. When the wors sounds like the noise it describes. E.g. bang, clatter, crash, shriek…

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