Ahaze’s Weblog

September 3, 2008

What Do I Look For When I Read?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ahaze @ 2:50 am

I never was really asked to specifically talk about what I look for when I read and for this reason I never really thought that I looked for anything. Throughout my high school career, my teachers told me what to look for. Usually it was the literary elements that were included in the text. My teachers in high school had me look through the lens of New Criticism. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is the throwing out of an idea that there is an author or even an outside world. Everything you need to know is in the text and only in the text. My reading of a text has been sculpted so that I mainly use the lens of new criticism. In college, the teachers encourage us to look through all different types of lenses but I find myself continuously going back to the lens of new criticism. Therefore, the first thing I look for would be the literary elements contained in a text without knowing anything else about it. These literary elements would include personification, imagery, setting, and theme.

The Second thing I look for is the tone of the novel. The tone to me, as to most people I think, is the overall feel of the text. This may sound kind of dumb since the tone should be a no brainer and it usually is, but I need to know the tone in order to know what emotions I should be feeling when I’m reading the text. Should I be happy? Should I be sad? Should I be laughing or should I be crying? Only once I know the tone, can I know how I should feel.

The Third thing that I look for is the plot. This basically means me just reading the story for enjoyment. I try to read the plot and ignore the literary elements. I love reading a story and just enjoying it. I like to just be enthralled in a text without having to analyze it and find the symbolism.

I feel like I’m closing a mini essay. This reminds me of a 5 paragraph format despite the fact that there is only 4 paragraphs. So I don’t think I will add a conclusion more than the one I’ve just written. Also, Andrew, I stole your idea of high lighting the points of what I look for when I read and I did not mean to steal your idea of new criticism, but it just so happens we both look for that while we read.

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1 Comment »

  1. First (and less important): if you’re stealing from me, I’d suggest seeking out someone more smarter than I; if we reach the same conclusions independently, awesome. Good to have someone else onboard for a dead criticism that is trying to be revived with some success! (and don’t worry about me thinking you lifted an idea… I don’t assume people steal from others unless there is an explicit reason involved… free exchange of ideas, yo! All movies/ music should be free in digital format 90 days past the point of original release! Down with oppressive marketing systems! Let the market dictate what a piece of art is worth instead of a standard fee for *all movies and music*! Release the hounds of an instanteous 24/7 global society!)

    Second (and far more important): “This may sound kind of dumb since the tone should be a no brainer and it usually is, but I need to know the tone in order to know what emotions I should be feeling when I’m reading the text. Should I be happy? Should I be sad? Should I be laughing or should I be crying? Only once I know the tone, can I know how I should feel.” Best thing in your post. If you want to take it a step further, WHY should you feel those emotions? Personal history with the subject matter? Style of writing/ filming/ editing? Is the emotion muddled? Do you think that is a failure by or concious choice of the creator/ artist/ editor? You opened up a can of worms with something you consider a no-brainer, so I want you to make sure you know you’ll need to answer those questions when putting together your own projects.

    Comment by AJmC — September 3, 2008 @ 5:46 pm


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