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I always seem to struggle with finding enough information to write a 1500 word close reading essay, and it feels like I stretch my ideas so thin that my essay quality becomes poor.

While only referencing a small section from a prose, how do people have so much to write about in their close reading essays? For example, do people exhaust the 5 Ws and one H, talk about the context of the story and connect it at the end, etc?

(I know StackExchange does not want a question where an entire book could be written about it, so I am asking for the very basic techniques.)

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    I suspect your real problem is not with how to do the writing, but how to do the reading. If you do a thorough close reading, you should have plenty to write about. You might want to ask on the Academic SE about how to do a proper close reading. – Mark Baker Mar 4 '17 at 4:44
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    Here's a tip: follow a structure when you're reading. In my classes, that included going through 'formal' and 'content', including cohesion techniques, rhetorical devices, semantic aspects... Of course it depends on what type of text you're reading. I'd ask the teacher for pointers in order for you to create your own 'checklist' to help you go through the essay. – Sara Costa Mar 4 '17 at 11:37
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    Try to read the essays that others from your class have written. Then you can understand what kind of ideas they got from the text you read. – user5645 Mar 5 '17 at 17:38
  • I think part of this depends on what your teacher wants, but this link may help: Harvard College Writing Center: How to Do a Close Reading – Neil Fein Mar 7 '17 at 19:26
  • Pad it out with comparisons. – aparente001 Mar 8 '17 at 5:08
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The basic material for a close reading is the text itself. Literally, you read it closely, line by line. Is it clear what is being said? Are there allusions to things outside the text that may affect its interpretations? If so, go look them up and show how the allusion affects the reading of the text. Basically it is just like taking a machine apart to see how it works and then looking up and explicating the mechanical principles embodied in those parts. It is simply about what the text does and how it does it.

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