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Offer an interpretive argument about the work, Winter in the
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Offer an interpretive argument about the work, Winter in the Blood, based on your own close reading of the text. Your argument should explore any of the following: 1.A historical aspect of the text and its significance 2.Connections to community and family 3.Oral tradition concepts present in the written narrative 4.Issues of identity 5.Connections to contemporary social or political issues 6.Stylistic elements of the narrative Again, the essay should be grounded in the text. You should use evidence provided by your close reading to support this argument. (See attached explanation of close reading.) You may use outside sources, but only in support of your own close reading of the primary text. What Is Close Reading? Close reading is the most distinctive and important tool of the textual critic (i.e. anyone writing about literature, film, or other cultural texts). It is the chief means by which we support our large interpretive claims with evidence. Close reading helps to sharpen, specify, and develop observations about a text’s content and meaning and how that text is put together. Close reading allows us to see how a text works, through its content, style, and through its form. Through close reading we can come to understand not just what a text means but how it generates that meaning. Successful close readings include the following (Note that these bullet points are not an order for how to structure your essay): Description: evocative characterization of what you see as important features of a text; Paraphrase: restatement of textual contents (. elements of the narrative discourse) to show a reader their meaning and ambiguities or to foreground problems they raise; Explanation of an important or difficult component of the text relevant to your discussion; Analysis of patterns or distinctive features in the text (. motifs): patterns of ideas, images, of grammar, word choice, tone, rhetoric, figurative or literal language, of contradictions or other features that subvert expected conclusions or patterns, of repetitions and variation; Quotation AND explanation of what you quote. That underlined “and” is important. Don’t assume that others will understand and think about the words and about the story in the same way you do. We will all understand them a little differently. You must explain HOW you understand the words, tone, terms, images that you quote as working, or your reader may not follow your argument. Every important claim about a text in a close reading will offer evidence from the text to support it. If you assert that a certain passage in a story “uses imagery having to do with the body as a way to draw attention to the unjust and uneven impacts of objectification,” you should identify and explain how the imagery is in fact focused on the body and how it functions to draw attention to objectification in this way. If you characterize a narrator as “emotionally closed off,” you must show where in specific passages in the story you think he or she is represented as closed off. (As above, you cannot assume your reader will see things as you do, but must go over your thinking about the evidence explicitly.) Your claims should be presented in this way as debatable: a reader of your paper must be able to evaluate how convincing your argument is by assessing the evidence you present and how well you analyze it. Close reading takes a general, fuzzy, abstract idea or claim, such as “the novel is about the Chicano Movement”—meaningless if left unqualified—and by specifying it, makes it interesting and worthy of discussion: “the novel develops an argument about the Chicano Movement’s significant impact on urban life and on Latinx economic and social power, and it does this by using intense imagery and developing the city itself into an anthropomorphized character in the plot.” The latter is a good thesis statement and even hints at the evidence that the close reading will have to provide. The former is vague and says nothing. Close reading techniques get you to focus on the contents, style, and form of a work at the molecular level, so to speak. Close reading slows down your reading and can help draw attention to noteworthy features of a text—both central ones and minor points of interest. Making as many of a text’s visible and invisible claims and operations explicit as possible can help you get a purchase on a paper topic or an argument, turning a vague claim into a lively and specific one. You are showing your readers how the engine of the text is put together. consider using as an outside source
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