Writing a close reading about one specific word is a very different process than writing about a passage from a book. It is a longer process because it is important to identify all occurrences of the word in the entire text. This is necessary in order to see how the meaning of the word changes as the book progresses. It is also important to recognize all forms of the word in the text. For example, when looking for the word “wear,” you would also need to pay attention to “wearing”, “wore”, and “wears,” as well as others. This type of close reading requires an analysis of the book on a micro-level. Patterns will start to emerge as you trace this word through the book. After analyzing these patterns, you can start to explain why this word is important to the book as a whole.

When I began to focus on a specific word as I read the text, one of two things happened. Either I found myself in a trance, looking only for that specific word to jump out at me, or I would get lost in the book and completely glance over the word without realizing it. From this I learned that it is best to complete the entire book before trying to detect patterns that this one word leaves behind. This is different than how I normally go about reading, but in this case it is important to have a clear idea of the novel before trying to decipher the importance of a single word.

In this context, “reading” is the process of detecting and recognizing patterns of a single word’s usage and meaning. This reminded me of the article “Traumas of Code” by Hayles, which talks about computers and the ways they process and “read” code. Each individual word or number has a specific meaning and purpose and entails a specific action. The computer detects patterns in this code, and these patterns hold different meanings. This assignment asks us to read the given text as if we are computers reading code. Furthermore, technology is needed to assist us in this search. It would be an extremely laborious and tedious task to identify all occurrences of a word without the help of technology. Thankfully, computers make this process easier by performing a command that highlights and counts every instance of the word in the text (Control + F on PCs). As well as this command, computers are programmed to perform a large amount of “shortcuts”, which save time for the user. Below is a picture from http://www.computerhope.com/shortcut.htm that provides a list of shortcuts that can be performed on a PC.


An emphasis on technology is a pattern that is occurring throughout the articles and texts we are reading. Take The Familiar, for example. This novel remediates technology and incorporates many patterns inside the various stories. While completing this close reading assignment, I am reminded of The Familiar’s strange format_._ Each chapter focuses on a different character, and in order to follow one character’s story, you must jump around in the book. The same goes for following the occurrence of a single word. I must trail that word throughout the text and sporadically jump from page to page.