Reading a passage in terms of a single word can seem like a challenge. Looking for every single time a word is used in a given piece of literature sounds like the most fun one could possibly have if there was absolutely nothing else to do in the world. I find this type of reading initially more difficult since so much rests on your chosen word, but it is interesting to look at how one word has the power to decide or change the meaning of a written work. Context is a really cool thing, and that will probably be the part I enjoy the most about this investigation. In the Human Sexual Behavior psychology class I took last year, our professor looked at one word in particular and read to us a short essay by George Carlin that describes the many, many uses of the word “fuck.”
This clever piece of writing, while meant to be comedic, is really like a close reading of that word. It examines every use and part of speech “fuck” can possibly have, and it is fascinating that a word that so many of us use so regularly has seemingly infinite uses. I plan on trying to approach this investigation in a similar way: show everything the word is capable of and then let us know why we care.
Two fall semesters ago I took the 411 Shakespeare class, and for one of our larger papers in that class we were asked to choose a piece of text from the plays we had read over the course of the semester and do a close reading of it. I chose to examine Much Ado About Nothing, specifically Friar Francis’ speech to Leonato about how they should deal with Hero’s accusation of adultery. I am not an English major nor have I taken a lot of English classes in my time at Clemson. In fact, this is my third class ever in almost four years of college, so when I was assigned this close reading in Shakespeare class, I really didn’t know where to start. I eventually figured it out, and I found that a lot of analysis did come directly from the text but also from class discussion, other passages, and thoughts from your own head since you are making an argument. In my experience for this kind of close reading, not a ton of technology is needed per se unless you want to find out what a word or specific use of figurative language or symbolism means because Shakespeare is so full of those.
To attack this investigation, I first plan on really looking at all of the uses of the word “change” in general and then as it applies to Disrupting College. I’m choosing the word “change” because I think it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot by people who want to either make a difference for real or sound like they are affecting some kind of change for the sake of using a buzzword. The difference between those two uses is a huge one, and those aren’t the only ways to use the word “change” by far. Reading this way will literally mean both looking at the words as they are exactly written and also reading the way they are used to convey the point the author wants to make. Since I plan on examining a word in an online document, Control-F is going to be my new best friend. Reading into something is typically something you hear when a person thinks too much about something small or assumes a happening has a meaning, and is typically a phrase used when telling a person what not to do. But for this paper that’s exactly what we need to do.