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Close Reading Example

This posting offers an example of a close reading analysis with a focus on Figurative language, Diction, Literal content,

Structure, Style, Characterization, Tone, and other devices.

The sample passage includes:

He laughed. "So you are not all that young, to view the world in such terms!" he says. "Then, if you were a man, what woman would you fancy, in ail this flump and finery?" "How can you compare one beautiful thing to another?" Says Iris the Ugly. "Good question. Is there a relative value of beauty? Is the evanescence - fleetingness - a necessary element of the thing that most moves us? A shooting star dazzles more than the sun. A child captivates like an elf, but grows into grossness, an ogre, a harpy. A flower splays itself into color - the lilies of the field! - more treasured than any painting of a flower. But of all these things, women's grace, shooting stars, flowers, and paintings, only a painting endures.

"But words endure too," says Iris. 'You quote the Bible text about the lilies of the field. Those very lilies that Christ taught about are dead for centuries, but His words live. And what about the kind of act, as my mother said? My mother the crab, the irritant in the oyster, what about what she said? The small gesture of charity? Isn't that sort of beauty more beautiful than any other?" "And equally evanescent," says the Master, "for small charities cannot this wicked world amend. But perhaps charity is the kind of beauty that we comprehend the best because we miss it the most.

They look our over the swaying garden of beauties, rustling in their skills, pattering with their slippers, glinting in their jewelry, sweating finely in the press of the crowd. They look for charity, which is hard to see; they find much handsomeness instead.

Solution Preview

This passage contains a plethora of analytical ideas. Here are some suggestions for literary explication:

Alliterations... "Flump and finery," "grows into grossness," "wicked world," "shooting star"
"grows into grossness"

Onomatopoeia: "pattering," "swaying," glinting," "dazzling"

Allusions: References to Christ and the Bible

Metaphor: the use of "flowers" as a correlation to the the ugly bulbs from which sprouts beauty known to drive men mad with love... "lilies of the field" "A flower splays itself into the color"

Lends itself to some powerful feminist implications. ...

Solution Summary

This sample of a close reading offers a solid example of young adult/children's literature analysis.