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Higher Close Reading Analysis


Reading the Question Make sure you recognise what you are to do do in an analysis question. In your answer are you being asked to refer to: • Named features

How many features?

• A closed list of features

• One or another?

• An open list of features • The writer’s language and make your own list

• One and another • One and/or another • More than one


Word Choice • When you are being asked about word choice you are being asked to look at the words and see why the writer has chosen those particular words rather than any other similar words. • Think!!! What would be the effects of describing someone as underweight? What about slim? Or skinny? • Each has different connotations


Denotation and Connotation • Denotation – the plain, basic meaning. If you are asked an Understanding question about a word or phrase, what you are trying to give is its basic meaning in the context • Connotation – when you are asked about word choice in an Analysis question you are asked to give the ideas the word suggests that contribute to its its impact or effect.


So what does this mean in practice? Word

Denotation Connotation

underweight

thin

A clinical, medical sort of picture, in need of treatment. The context might be disadvantaged people

skinny

thin

unattractive, bony, angular (Context?)

slim

thin

attractive, healthy, elegant, neat (Context)


Example 1: Show how the word choice in these lines helps point up the contrast described here. (2A)

Transferring the sultry sensuality of a Latin street dance to Edinburgh on a wet winter’s night would not appear the easiest of tasks. The rain batters the glass roof of the studio, competing in volume with the merengue blaring from the sound system. In the back ground, the castle, lit up, stares down grandly against the foreboding skies. (Write down the words you might choose.)


Method • You are asked for a contrast • You will need to look for two examples of word choice – one for each side • Quote the first choice and suggest its connotations • Quote the second choice and suggest how it connotes the opposite


Example 1: Show how the word choice in these lines helps point up the contrast described here. (2A)

Transferring the sultry sensuality of a Latin street dance to Edinburgh on a wet winter’s night would not appear the easiest of tasks. The rain batters the glass roof of the studio, competing in volume with the merengue blaring from the sound sytem. In the back ground, the castle, lit up, stares down grandly against the foreboding skies.


Answer •

‘Sultry

sensuality’ suggests something hot and sexy which is normally associated with warm sunny places in contrast with ‘foreboding skies’ which suggests something dark and threatening and gloomy (or) ‘wet winter’s night’ which suggests cold and damp, which is inhibiting to the emotions.

• ‘The rain batter’ suggests an assault on the roof, as if the rain is trying to get in and drown out the dancing in contrast with ‘merengue blaring’ which also suggests something loud but this time enjoyable and creating a party atmosphere.


Summary • Quote the exact word or phrase. Do not leave it unidentified in a longer piece of the passage • Give the connotations of the word/phrase, not its literal meaning (denotation) using the word ‘suggests’ • Now try some examples for yourself


Higher close reading word choice