When we got this assignment, it made me think of a paper I had to write last semester. We had been reading the novel Serena by Ron Rash and my professor told us to write a paper about the importance of one word. She did not give us many guidelines and I freaked out. Describing a book’s significance using just one book seemed to me to be a special type of sorcery, like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia type of sorcery, and the fact that I got that paper done and did any kind of well on it was a version of sorcery all its own.
For this paper, I decided to go in a different direction. In the paper I discussed in the last paragraph, I used the word “balance I decided to use a word that I was not as familiar with and go from there. I was really drawn to words similar to simulacra and aponine because they have much packed into their few letters. My learning of their meanings and uses can help inform me of the author and his choices. It is as if they represent a microcosm of the assignment in general. The more closely I look into them, the more closely I will have to look into Pattern Recognition itself. I know that I will have to choose one of them at one point, but I like putting them together at present.
One of the most interesting things about close reading is that the more specific you get with it, the more the universal themes of a work present itself. The original quote is below.
It would have been very helpful if I had done the blog last week with the close reading of a passage, but since WordPress currently does not like me that became an issue.
I will definitely be needing a dictionary, specifically Oxford English Dictionary. Not only does it have several definitions but it gives years of relevance and places of origin and all kinds of other wonderful nuggets of awesomeness. It is also really helpful that we have a PDF to work from. For my Serena paper, I had to go through and individually find all of the mentions of my word. That was awful and it took forever. For this paper, I can spend more time actually doing substantial amounts of writing it and less time pulling my hair out.