FIRST CLOSE READING ASSIGNMENTStart by chosing a 8-12 line passage in either The Awakening or The Red Badge of Courage that interests you. Copy that passage out, word for word, as the first section of your paper.
Then, in about 350 words of your own (1½ - 2 typed pages), discuss what you think the passage means. Be specific about the details of your passage -- the exact words, images, tone, themes, etc., you see as most significant, and be as clear as you can about what you think those details say or suggest about a larger theme or issue the novel is concerned with.
You might need to begin by briefly identifying the context of the passage, how it fits into the story of the whole novel, but your analysis should keep its focus on the specific passage. In your discussion, support your ideas with evidence -- i.e. quote the exact words and phrases you're discussing as you interpret them.
Then, when you've finished your analysis, give it a title that will let me know what the main emphasis of your interpretation is. And if you want to see examples of good close readings from other classes, you can find some in the following places: