Close-reading and building text-based arguments

March 28, 2017

  1. In your groups, share the close-readings you completed. Discuss your process of close-reading, then write a definition of close-reading below that answers what close-reading is and why we do it:

Writing Rams:

Heel Yeah!:

 Close reading is dissecting a piece of literature (a poem) into smaller bits to look at the possible meanings, uses of language, punctuation, etc, in each section.

Team 23:

Close reading involves paying attention to the author’s word choice, point of view, punctuation, literary devices, structure, speaker identity, key themes, symbolism, and big picture message. You need to take into account social factors of the time as well as the author’s personal life.  

Team Quatro:

Close-reading: critical analysis of text that pays close attention to the author’s strategies, literary devices and methods used in his/her writing; used to interpret a work of literature, movie, or visual text in order to understand the author’s purpose

2. Read the linked article that utilizes close-reading skills to analyze an image. What details/evidence does the author use to accomplish her close-reading? What arguments are suggested?



Veil and blue background/garments

She is trying to channel the Virgin Mary

She released Formation the following year during Black History Month-possible correlation

She waited to announce her pregnancy in during Black History month

Caption said “the Carters”

She is carrying twins

Light blue underwear and veil

-She is being likened to the virgin mary, with the color light blue and the veil

-Her attire is similar to a painting of virgin mary

Similar outfit colors (bright blue and pink) to renaissance madonna painting where two babies are shown

She is having twins

Reference to Jay Z not being in the picture allows the author to argue and make the connection that this is a “fully- branded Beyonce moment”.

Flowers surrounding her

Idea of “madness” is contrasting the virgin bride persona created by blue underwear and veil

The picture of the tweet by Grainne Maguire

This statement also takes a hit at the political standings of America right now by saying there are more black people in Beyonce’s stomach than on Trump’s cabinet. There is social strife in America

Bright blue sky background and blue and pinkish red outfit

Her reference to the renaissance madonna could suggest biblical names for the twins

3. If the author were to expand this close-reading into a critical essay, what broad topics or ideas might she focus on, based on the evidence gathered in the close-reading?

4. Practice close-reading with this painting. Citation: J.M.W. Turner, “Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway” (1844). Oil on canvas. 36”x48”. National Gallery, London.