Reading and “stealing” like a
writer: Academic templates for
writing close analysis
Margi Wald
College Writing Programs
University of California, Berkeley
[email protected]
TESOL 2011
Friday, 18 March
New Orleans, LA, USA
The First Assignment
• Sustained Attention to Written Text
o
[The essay] should reveal the student’s ability to:
 interpret the written text in a meaningful, arguable way
that is stated or implied as a thesis or main idea. The
thesis or main idea is assertive enough so that the
student takes a position on the text and does not
merely summarize,
 elaborate without merely repeating ideas, and
 reflect on the text in an insightful way, not merely
critiquing the writing quality, but engaging with themes
from the reading.
One Possibility
• Close Reading or Analysis
 elaborate without merely repeating ideas,
 reflect on the text in an insightful way, not merely
critiquing the writing quality, but engaging with themes
from the reading.
 Look specifically at the language and
structures the author uses to extend a
theme and create tone, an effect on the
reader -- wording, images, illustrations,
allusions, rhythm, contrasts,
representations
The Pre-Draft Sequence (1)
• Read and re-read text.
• Pull out relevant passages.
• Model close analysis idea creation
(whole group).
• Practice close analysis (small group).
Close Analysis: Group Modeling
An accident of geography sent me to a school where all my classmates
were white, many the children of doctors and lawyers and business
executives. All my classmates certainly must have been uneasy on that first
day of school--as most children are uneasy--to find themselves apart from
their families in the first institution of their lives. But I was astonished.
The nun said, in a friendly but oddly impersonal voice, 'Boys and girls, this
is Richard Rodriguez.' (I heard her sound out: Rich-heard Road-ree-guess.)
It was the first time I had heard anyone name me in English. 'Richard,' the
nun repeated more slowly, writing my name down in her black leather book.
Quickly I turned to see my mother's face dissolve in a watery blur behind the
pebbled glass door.
Textual Evidence/ Information
accident of geography
Commentary / Analysis / Explanation
feels unworthy, mistake to be at
the school
The Pre-Draft Sequence (2)
• Discuss “PIE” arguments/paragraphs
• Point, Information/Illustrations, Explanation
• Claims, Evidence, Analysis
• Examine model paragraph containing
close analysis for rhetorical moves.
o
See handout (Rose, Close Analysis Moves)
• Write first draft.
The First Draft (1)
To show his feelings of weakness, Rodriguez also tells the story of
going to a gasoline station with his father. He describes his dad’s
English: “At one point his words slid together to form one long word—
sounds as confused as the threads of blue and green oil in the puddle
next to my shoes.”(345) “Slid” shows that his dad has no much control
of his tongue. The “blue and green oil” show that his dad’s English is
in fact very poor and Rodriguez actually feels uncomfortable about it.
Not only his dad, but also himself feels weaker in front of Americans.
Rodriguez also describes one time in class, he was being asked,
“silent, waiting for the bell to sound, I remained dazed, diffident,
afraid.”(347) “Silent” shows that he did not want to answer; he refuses
to learn this public language. “Waiting” shows that he is passive,
doesn’t want to take a step. “Remained” shows that he had no
confidence, no pride and that he was feeling nervous about his public
identity. He had no pride in himself before learning English. Feeling
weak actually gives Rodriguez the desire to be strong, to gain public
identity deeply inside his heart and that leads to his reaction later on
when he was pushed to learn English.
The First Draft (2)
"This-Shows" Trap
Like Rodriguez, Anzaldúa writes of her inner turmoil.
She too feels a need for acceptance by the Anglo
educational community. She describes feelings at school:
“faceless, nameless, invisible, taunted with ‘Hey
cucaracho’ (cockroach). Trembling with fear, yet filled with
courage, a courage born of desperation” (p. 326). This
shows that, school was uncomfortable but Anzaldúa’s need
for acceptance by whites gives her courage and motivates
her to gain an education.
The Approach
• Model and Notice
o
o
o
o
Student Texts
Professional Texts
Whole Group
Small Group
• Create
o
o
‘Noticing’ Lists
Substitutions / Expansion
• Practice
o
o
o
Small Group
Revision
Peer Response
The Theory
• Genre-based
o Derewianka, 2003; Hyland, 2004 & 2009); Tardy
2009
• SFL-informed
o Schleppegrell, 2004; Schleppegrell & Colombi,
2002)
• Corpus-inspired
o Not based on frequency, but teaches students the
value of noticing / modeling the language /
structures used in written texts.
Step 1: Modeling & Noticing (1)
• How do writers craft sentences of close
analysis?
o
From a handout of tips on close analysis: “Pull out and echo
the actual words from the quotation. Expand the discussion
of those words to show how they work to help support your
claim.”
• Look at models
o
o
o
Student: CWR1A essays, MICUSP, NAFWiC, BAWE, Viking
corpus
Internet samples: close reading, textual analysis
Professional: Published articles, COCA
Step 1: Modeling & Noticing (2)
• Whole Group
o
See handout (Rose, Close Analysis, Language)
Step 1: Modeling & Noticing (3)
• Small Group
o
o
Examples from MICUSP, online samples
Additional essays from CWR1A students
Noticing: A Sample
He depicts the space in which the characters
interact as a type of theater, likening the two
to “actors in a play.” Naipaul’s use of this
metaphor has implications for how one
should interpret the forces of colonialism at
work in the novel as a whole.
http://engl200e.wordpress.com/2008/03/09/two-excellent-example-of-closereading/
Step 2: Creating templates (1)
Share findings
• MICUSP -- upper division
o a reader can't help but note the abundance of euphemisms– “1,” “2,”
“3.”
o By using the term “power” in an unconventional way
•
o
the sense of comfort that the text creates by using "Be cheerful,
sir."
o
o
Also, the text refers to the spirits as “our actors,” which indicates that
The imagery invoked by the melting spirits reminds the reader of
o
The passage's inclusion of the "globe" along with the fantastical
images of the "towers" and "palaces" also indicates
CWR1A student essays
o By using the images of a “dam” and a “reservoir” to describe border
regulation, he depicts how immigration is restricted except for when
labor is needed by U.S. manufacturing companies.
o By focusing on “whole families” rather than individuals as the subject,
he
o Moreover, his description of families getting run over as “mowed
down” further depicts the scene as horrific and appalling.
Step 2: Creating templates (2)
• Create substitutions
• By using the term/phrase/word/adjective/noun
o
o
The author uses the phrase/word/term/adjective/noun
The author’s use of the phrase/word/term/adjective/noun
• By using symbols/repetition/imagery
o
The author’s use of symbols/repetition/imagery
• A reader can't help but note/notice the abundance/long
list/repetition/repeated use of
euphemisms/images/metaphors/adjectives/slanted
language
Creating Templates: Samples
• See handout (Close Analysis Templates)
Step 3: Practicing with templates
• Small Group
o
Anzaldua discusses her rejection by the dominant
Mexican culture as well, presenting the negative view
Spanish speakers have of Chicanos:
 Pocho, cultural traitor, you’re speaking the
oppressor’s language by speaking English,
you’re ruining the Spanish language,’ I have
been accused by various Latinos and Latinas.
Chicano Spanish is considered by the purist and
by most Latinos deficient, a mutilation of
Spanish. (76-77)
• Individual Work
• Peer Response
The revised paragraph
Being different than Americans caused Rodriguez and his family act
uncomfortably in front of the Americans. Rodriguez tells the story of going to a
gasoline station with his father. He describes his dad’s English in a negative way:
“At one point his words slid together to form one long word—sounds as confused
as the threads of blue and green oil in the puddle next to my shoes.” (345). By
using the verb “slid”, Rodriguez suggests that his father has no much control of
his tongue. The simile of “blue and green oil” further suggests that his dad’s
English is in fact very poor and confused. Also, Rodriguez’s use of oil in the
puddle implies that his dad or his family could never mix with the American
society. This image hints that Rodriguez did not affirm his dad’s English but
actually felt uncomfortable, ashamed about it and that led to Rodriguez’s desire
to be shameless. Not only his dad, but also Rodriguez himself felt weaker in front
of Americans. Rodriguez describes his reaction when he was in his first day of
class at school, noting “silent, waiting for the bell to sound, I remained dazed,
diffident, afraid” (347). He was “silent” because he did not want to answer; he
refused to learn this public language. He was “waiting” passively, didn’t want to
take a step. The fact that he “remained” in a negative state until the end of class
indicates that he had no confident, no pride and that he was feeling nervous
about his public identity. Before learning English, he had no pride in his public
self. Feeling weak actually gave Rodriguez the desire to be strong, to gain a
public identity and this led to his reaction later on when he was pushed to learn
English.
References
•
•
•
•
•
•
Derewianka, B, (2003). Trends and issues in genre-based approaches. RELC Journal, 34
(2). 133-154.
Graff, G. & Birkenstein, C. (2006) They say, I say: The moves that matter in academic
writing. New York/London: Norton.
Hyland, K. (2007). Genre and second language writing. Michigan Series on Teaching
Multilingual Writers. Series edited by Diane Belcher and Jun Liu. Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan Press.
Hyland, K. (2009). Teaching genre in the disciplines—How applied linguistics can help.
Second Language Writing / Applied Linguistics Intersection, TESOL. Denver, CO.
Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP). (2009). Ann Arbor, MI: The
Regents of the University of Michigan.
North American Freshman Writing Corpus (NAFWiC). (2009). Compiled by Gena Bennett
at the Department of English, University of Birmingham, UK.
•
•
•
•
Schleppegrell, M., & Colombi, M. C. (Eds.). (2002). Developing advanced literacy in first
and second languages. Mahwah, NJ: LEA.
Schleppegrell, M. (2004) Language of schooling. Mawah, NJ: LEA
Tardy, C. (2009). Plagiarism vs. legitimate textual borrowing. Workshop presented at The
Symposium on Second Language Writing, Tempe, AZ.
Viking Corpus of Student Academic Writing, Portland State University, USA.
http://web.pdx.edu/~conrads/online_corpus.html
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