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Basic Tips On How To Organize A Close Reading Essay


One way that you are taught to analyze literature is by doing a close reading essay. It is where you will choose a certain passage from a piece that you are reading and analyze it in detail. Include in your close reading essay an analysis of the writer’s style and your reactions to this style. It is used specifically to build a larger analysis of the entire piece later on. The main focus is to look at how you perceived the piece rather than on how others may have perceived the same piece. Here are some basic tips on organizing your essay.

Accumulating ideas

You will need to first start by accumulating your ideas. Choose the passage that you want to analyze and then jot down some ideas about what it means to you. Ask yourself questions about the passage and then write down your answers as well. To help you decide on some things that you may want to talk about, think of these aspects when developing your questions.

  • First impression
  • What was the first thing that you thought about when you read the passage? What other things followed the initial thought? Did your first thought coincide with additional thoughts or had it changed the more you thought about it? How did you feel after reading it? Did it move your or invoke an emotion?

  • Word choice
  • The author chose the words carefully to invoke certain emotions or to get a desired response. What do you think they were trying to get from presenting the passage using this word choice? Was it effective? Could it have been better using different words?

  • Patterns
  • Does the passage relate to another in the piece? Is there a pattern of writing that the author uses? Does it serve a particular purpose or do you believe it is just coincidental?

Organizing your thoughts

Once you have an idea of what you will write about, it is time to start organizing your thoughts so that you can present them in a logical manner. You will want to make sure that you create an outline that presents your thoughts in a format. The five paragraph essay format works great for this type of essay.

If you feel like you are still struggling, this site can help you work through this entire process. They can help you decide which passage to write your essay on, what questions to ask yourself, how to organize them properly, and even edit your final piece.