Textual Event Analysis
Understanding how the observable and perceptible produces “below-the-waterline" effects
Words, Phrases, Images, Chapter Titles, Epigraphs, Graphics (i.e., capital letters, line length, bold face print, italics), Typographical eccentricities or signals, etc.
outlooks and values
shared hopes, dreams, and desires
thematic significance or import
established power structures
considerations of what is “natural” or “normal”
thinking/biases of a historical moment
dominant mood or tone of the text
dual or double meaning
subversive undercurrents or “double-voicedness”
shifts in perspective, tone, or mood
underlying or figurative meaning
intertextuality (references to other texts, cultural and literary)
subconscious motivations, fears, and desires
common assumptions and belief systems (i.e., about gender, politics, religion, etc)
The Third “I”: Interpretation
Questions to Help with the Process of “Dwelling in Analysis”
“Questions are the important thing, answers are less important. Learning to ask a good question is the heart of intelligence. Learning the answer – well, answers are for students. Questions are for thinkers.”
- R. Schank (in “The Connosseur’s Guide to the Mind”)
In effect, these are “so what” questions, asking you to draw broader, rhetoric-stage conclusions about your element’s multiple significances. Remember, you can never go wrong with “how,” “why,” and “so what” questions.
The Third “I” cont.-
Surface-level Textual Phenomena and the
Underlying Concepts They Point To
x reflects y
x signifies y
x symbolizes y
x suggests y
x serves as a barometer of . . .
x offers a metaphorical
picture of . . .
x serves as an indicator of . . .
x connotes y
testifies to an implicit American belief in . . .
We can draw plausible associations between x and y
x demonstrates the typically American fascination with . . .
x is associated with y in American culture
has connections to
is a visible demarcation of economic marginalization