“Close Reading of Texts”
(Questions to Ask Yourself)

 

 

               1. Behind the text:

 

 A.    What problems are being addressed?

 

 B.    Who is being addressed -- directly and indirectly?

 

 C.    What sources are being used?

 

               2. Within the text:

 

 A.    Clarify any unfamiliar terms or concepts.

 

 B.    Note the use of communication devices such as:

 

 (1)   metaphors, images, etc.

 

 (2)  rhetorical questions

 

 (3)  theme words, repetitions

 

 C.    What objections are being acknowledged, answered or rebutted -- and how?

 

 D.   How does the argument proceed, point by point?
(Outline it for yourself if necessary.)

 

 E.    What points are made in passing?  (These may be more important for you than the author intended.)

 

               3. Around the text:

 

 A.    Are there other passages in the larger work that illuminate the one you are studying?

 

 B.    How might the passage you are studying contribute to a larger argument?

 

               4. Since the text:

 

 A.    Are there unresolved issues that the later tradition will need to address?

 

 B.    What questions might you need to follow up on? 

 

Copyright © 2002 by Gerald W. Schlabach