Close Reading Process

The first essay we wrote this semester was our close reading essay, where we simply made an argument based on in-text evidence alone. I had done this before and felt confident in my ability going forward. This was the first instance that I started with the question rather than the argument of the paper. For this essay it was the following: why did Prospero do and act the way he did? Much of the discussion I had in previous classes about¬†The Tempest simply focused on how Prospero was this enslaving dick to everyone, especially Ariel and Caliban. However, this wasn’t how I interpreted the play when I read it. So I decided to look at that question as a way to understand not only what Prospero did but why he did it.

Because I am not a huge fan of free-writing, I simply wrote a draft, keeping my ideas within my own head. I mostly focused on Prospero’s relationships with Ariel and Caliban, while also looking at his past and intentions, as I feel that these two things inform people’s actions. I then received peer feedback on this draft, which mainly consisted of grammatical corrections or comments on how they liked a point I made. While this ultimately was not super helpful to me, it at least told me my ideas were clear and my argument seemed to make sense.

I then turned in my submission draft to my professor, Dr. Scheler, and promptly received feedback. The two big takeaways I had from this feedback were that I was creating a strawman, meaning I was discussing a position not necessarily held by anyone which takes away from my argument, and that I was using evidence that did not directly point to what I was arguing.

From this step, I decided to revise this draft for the presentation portfolio, as I felt that I should be able to nail the backbone of future papers by making sure both my arguments worked better and that my evidence supported my claims. I do believe I accomplished this, which you can see in my process portfolio entry on my close reading revision.