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Homer, The Iliad
Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
Sophocles, Antigone
Plato, The Republic
Virgil, The Aeneid


The Basics
Close and Critical Reading


Roger Dunkle
Donna Wilson
Hardy Hanson
John Van Sickle


CORC 1110 Study Guide
Perseus Project
Classics Resources
Greek Mythology Link
Glossary of Terms

Close Reading vs. Critical Reading

Close Reading

When you close read, you observe facts and details about the text. You may focus on a particular passage, or on the text as a whole. Your aim may be to notice all striking features of the text, including rhetorical features, structural elements, cultural references; or, your aim may be to notice only selected features of the text--for instance, oppositions and correspondences, or particular historical references. Either way, making these observations constitutes the first step in the process of close reading.

Guides for close reading:

1. Read, and re-read. Read the entire document, taking mental notes. Then when you re-read the document, write down the words or phrases that catch your attention. Note the authors usage of similes, metaphors, personification, and other rhetorical terms. Do this until you get a general idea of the passages meaning.

2. If there are any words that you do not understand, look them up in a dictionary. It does not hurt to learn new words.

3. Determine the author's tone. Is the author being sentimental, ironic, comical, etc. Observing the tone will allow you to identify with the author.

4. Relate the theme or themes to something you have read previously or to a real life situation. It will allow you to get a better understanding.

5. Finally you should be able to build a thesis statement.

Critical Reading

We use critical reading every day. When we see another person talking keeping, we take mental notes of the persons use of words, etc.

Guides for Critical Reading:

1. Read through the introduction of the text to get an understanding of its history. When reading dated material, compare the lifestyles of that time to the current lifestyles.

2. Determine the main ideas and be able to support them with your own examples.

3. Analyze any arguments that you strongly agree or disagree with. Be able to explain your position in relation to the argument.

4. Examine how events relate to one another.

5. Analyze the characters. See what type of traits of human nature they express.

6. Try to visualize the setting.