Aim for 250 words
After reading the excerpt of “Close Reading” by Francine Prose, “Barbed Wire” by Henry Taylor, and “Sea Oak,” by George Saunders (one of my all time favs!) and watching the lecture video, you now have a better understanding of how to close read the masters, and how to identify voice. Now I want you to show me what you understand.
Choose an excerpt from either “Barbed Wire” or “Sea Oak,” and perform a close read in paragraph form. What do specific words and phrases do to contribute to or enhance the piece? Where are examples within your excerpt of the author’s specific voice, or the voice that is underscored in the piece? Note: DO NOT close read what I already highlighted in the lecture video.
Finally, I want you to experiment with your own VOICE. Take a word or phrase that you think is imperative to the piece itself. Now use that word or phrase to write a sentence or two of your own that embodies voice. Your sentence doesn’t have to have the same “sounding” voice as the original piece. For example, in the video I pointed out the phrase “standing around a tractor.” So my new sentences are:
I knew he was bad news right away. He was one of those boys that you would generally see standing around a tractor, smoking cigarettes when he should have been in school practicing his French.
Here are the links:
“close-reading explanation video”