Close Reading

The first assignment of the semester was Close Reading, which is a critical analysis based on evidence from the text that looks at different moments from the play in order to develop a deeper understanding of The Tempest.

I came up with my overall topic of the paper through pinpointing what particular passages of Shakespeare’s The Tempest most intrigued me. For me, those moments were when the characters judged solely on appearances. From this, I devised a rather tentative theme of the characters’ view that the “familiar” as good and the “unfamiliar” as bad shows our own faulty preconceptions.

This was a rather hard paper for me to write because with everything I wrote I thought, “I could probably talk about this, or maybe that, too.” My brain was moving faster than my fingers could, so I tried incredibly hard to not think as I wrote. Because of this method, the evidence did not exactly match up to my claim, nor was there any clear organization in my first draft.

After the peer review, I was a little bit more clear about what my paper was about: the natural and familiar as good and the unnatural and unfamiliar as bad.

From this peer review, I explored my ideas further and tried to provide more organization, leading to a second draft submitted for grading. However, I did not reach the terms “natural” and “unnatural” until the very end, which is included in the feedback I received from my professor.

After I received the feedback, I revised to create the third draft, expanding on some themes, cleaning up sentence structure, and introducing a whole new passage for analysis.

I went back and read this essay at the end of the semester to provide me with a feel for how far I have come with my writing process, and wow. Though at times we are our worst critics, I can say with certainty that this essay is to my portfolio like the tadpole stage is to a frog’s life‒ interesting but rather simple.

From this first attempt of writing in English 305, I learned that I am very interested in the way that Caliban is treated throughout The Tempest, and threads of this can be found in my critical contextualization essay.