Close Reading. Analysis Questions. Close Reading Questions. (U) Understanding- demonstrate your understanding of what the writer has said, usually in your own words. (A) Analysis- identify and analyse features of the writer's style
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Close Reading Analysis Questions
Close Reading Questions • (U) Understanding- demonstrate your understanding of what the writer has said, usually in your own words. • (A) Analysis- identify and analyse features of the writer's style • Evaluation- expressing a an opinion, supported by evidence- on how successful the writer has been
Features of Style • Word choice • Imagery • Sentence Structure • Tone • Use of anecdotes • Use of evidence/ statistics • Use of humour
What is Analysis? • Analysis is not simply describing something. • It is explaining how something works or why something has occurred.
Not Analysis • The lad’s headed the ball and it’s gone in. • The word choice of ‘outrageous talent’ shows Best was very talented.
Analysis • The home team’s zonal-marking system meant that the striker was allowed a free run into the box. This allowed him to meet the ball unchallenged and at pace. • The word choice of ‘outrageous’ suggests something so out of the ordinary it was barely feasible. This helps to convey the unique nature of Best’s talent as a footballer. There are also connotations of scandal, which remind us of Best’s behaviour that curtailed his talent.
Word Choice • Identify the words that are most effective in conveying the writer’s point. Try to focus on one or two words at a time. • Quote these words. • Comment on their connotations, not their meaning. • Link these connotations back to the writer’s point.
Connotations • An infant- • A baby • A neonate
Connotations • An infant- social categorisation • A baby- affectionate, personal, closeness, vulnerability • A neonate- medical, classifications, objectivity
What are the differing effects of: • Starving babies • Malnutrition among the infants • Neonatal death rate
1. In paragraph 2, what impression of Soccer A.M. is created by the writer’s word choice? (4)
Aside from the flabbergasting hypocrisy of Sky Sports dismissing a man for sexism when its own Saturday morning Soccer AM lad-fest regularly includes a sub-Nuts item in which a young "Soccerette" writhes onscreen for the delight of a baying mob,
‘writhes’ has sexual, provocative connotations, suggesting that the show looks to titillate its viewers by portraying young females as sex objects. • ‘baying mob’ has aggressive and rather unthinking connotations. This suggests that the show appeals to quite unpleasant traits in its male viewers. They sound like a drunken stag group at a strip club. This reinforces the idea that the show encourages the sexual objectification of women.
3. In paragraph 3, what impression of football commentators is created by the writer’s word choice? (2)
‘Yap’ has connotations of unintelligent and quite annoying behaviour, suggesting that their conversation is of little substance or value. • ‘Oaf’ ,again, has unintelligent and slightly annoying connotations. This creates the impression that the commentators are idiotic and slightly unpleasant, but are not overly harmful.
4. In paragraph 7, how does the writer’s word choice help to convey his point about ‘context’? (2)
In the context of a live club appearance, a standup will say things that would be a sackable offence if repeated in the workplace, or lead to death threats if hysterically recounted on the front page of a national paper accompanied by a portrait snap.
‘Hysterically’ has overwhelmingly negative connotations, particularly of harmful, irrational behaviour and a mob mentality. This is used to describe newspapers reporting controversial remarks out of context. Therefore, this reinforces how we can only fully understand remarks when we consider their context.
5. In paragraph 8, what impression of the language of ‘the writers’ room’ is created by the writer’s word choice? (2)
Every writers' room of every comedy show on TV consists of nothing but the unsayable being said out loud, for hours. In 1999, an assistant on the sitcom Friends took out a harassment case, claiming she had been subjected to "vulgar and coarse language" by the show's writing staff. In 2006 the case was thrown out by California's supreme court, which ruled that this kind of freewheeling babble, albeit offensive and embarrassing
‘Babble’ has mindless, almost nonsensical connotations. This suggests that the language of ‘the Writers’ Room’ when considered in context, was almost meaningless, and therefore it should not be taken seriously.
Imagery • A non-literal comparison • Usually metaphor, simile or personification.
Answering • Find the image • Quote the image • Explain what the literal root is • Clearly state what it is being compared to. • Explain how the impression created by this comparison helps to convey the writer’s point.
Exemplar • ‘That same musk has a nasty way of turning to poison gas at home,’ • Poison gas is a lethal substance, often used in war. This is being compared to Best’s destructive behaviour within a domestic setting. This suggests that, like poison gas, his behaviour had disastrous consequences and created victims.
1. Explain how the writer uses imagery in paragraph two to express his feelings about (i) Gray and Keys, (ii) their treatment. (4)
Cavemen they may be, but they were advanced enough to know what was suitable for broadcast and what wasn't. Ultimately, they were tarred and feathered for holding a private conversation. And that's ominous.
‘Cavemen’ are prehistoric men. This is used as a metaphor for Gray and Keys. This suggests that they and their attitudes, particularly their sexism, are extremely old-fashioned and outdated. Like cavemen, their sexist attitudes have no place in the modern world.
‘Tarred and feathered’ is a particularly brutal method of punishment, often carried out by a group on an individual in order to make an example of them. This is compared to Gray and Key’s treatment. This suggests that the writer believes that their treatment was overly harsh, and their was a degree of mob mentality behind it.
2. How does the writer’s imagery in p3 highlight how widespread threats to privacy are? (2)
Paranoia is at an all-time high. MPs can no longer talk to their own constituents without suspecting they may be undercover reporters. Celebrities can't listen to their voicemails without wondering if they have been transcribed and passed to the newsdesk. Football commentators can no longer yap like oafs in their downtime. Everyone has become a reality show contestant nervously awaiting their own Shilpa Shetty moment.
‘Reality show contestants’ are individuals who have entered a television show where their every move and act is recorded and broadcasted. They are compared to ‘everyone’. This helps to illustrate that all of us face increasing threats to our privacy, as it suggests that more and more of our lives are recorded, and that, for all of us, the idea of privacy is under threat.
How does the writer’s use of imagery in paragraph ten highlight the ‘danger’ he is concerned with? (2)
We are in danger of creating a world where that "writers' room mentality" is no longer allowed to exist – not even backstage. Only the bland finished product will do, and everyone has to walk around beaming like an inoffensive gameshow host. Pundits, presenters, prime ministers: hey, nice to see you, to see you ni
Bollocks to a world in which all conversation is shorn of its private context. Bollocks to a world in which everyone's on permanent speakerphone, terrified of verbalising a thought crime.
Answering Sentence Structure • Identify the features of sentence structure that contribute most to the writer’s argument at this point. • Explain, in a detailed and specific manner, how they do this.
No marks • Parenthesis is used to give extra information about the point the writer is making. • There is a short sentence. This emphasises the point the writer is making.
Full Marks • The writer’s use of a semi-colon creates a balanced sentence. The first part of this outlines Best’s potential to have been the greatest footballer of all time; the second part of the sentence outlines the qualities that helped to give him this potential. The balanced nature of the sentence helps to reinforce just how special a talent Best squandered.
But whether he meant it or not, my point is this: without the accompanying facial expressions, we are missing 50% of the context. And context is vital. • Features- colon, short, emphatic sentence starting with ‘And’.
Colon creates a pause after ‘my point is this’. This emphasises that what comes after the colon has key importance to the writer’s argument at this point. We then discover that the ‘point’ is that we are unable to judge whether the remark was ironic because we did not see it in context. This helps to underline the importance of context. • This is reinforced by the following, short sentence, which starts with ‘and’. This emphasises the dramatic importance of ‘context.’
How does the writer use sentence structure to convey his point in paragraph 9? (2)
We are in danger of creating a world where that "writers' room mentality" is no longer allowed to exist – not even backstage. Only the bland finished product will do, and everyone has to walk around beaming like an inoffensive gameshow host. Pundits, presenters, prime ministers: hey, nice to see you, to see you nice.
Parenthesis is used to emphasise the writer’s point that the right to privacy is being erased. He does so by stating that ‘"writers' room mentality" is no longer allowed to exist’, meaning that an environment where people can say potentially offensive remarks without being judged is under threat. The parenthesis is used to emphasise how pervasive this threat is being giving an example of a place, ‘backstage’, that is the opposite of on show.
In the paragraph’s final sentence, an alliterative tri-colon is used. This contains a list of people who are in public life, but with different roles. The effect of this is to show how widespread the threats to privacy are; they affect all of these people. • After the tri-colon comes a colon. This introduces a famous catchphrase form a game show host. This is a particularly bland, inoffensive phrase. This suggests that all the people listed prior to the colon will be limited to such bland statements in future.
“A world in which everyone’s on permanent speakerphone.” A speakerphone is loudspeaker built into a telephone. When it is turned on it means that the speaker can be heard by everyone nearby, not just the person they are speaking to. This is being compared to the danger the writer believes there is of our right to make private remarks being lost. This suggests that all our conversations risk being heard, and judged, by a wider audience, rather than being between two individuals.
How does the writer use sentence structure to convey his point in paragraph 10? (4)
Bollocks to a world in which all conversation is shorn of its private context. Bollocks to a world in which everyone's on permanent speakerphone, terrified of verbalising a thought crime. We'll get nothing done. If you can't make Friends or host football shows without talking crap between takes, how the hell can you run a country?
The writer’s point is that a society where private conversation did not exist would be disastrous. He conveys the strength of his feelings through the repetition of ‘Bollocks to a world in which’. This highlights that he is strongly opposed to a society without privacy. • The short, emphatic sentence ‘We'll get nothing done” highlights how counterproductive the writer believes a lack of privacy would be, helping to illustrate one of the reasons why the writer is so strongly opposed to this.