Reading Practices in the Literature Curriculum by Catherine Noske


Um, okay, hi guys. Lovely way to start your Monday morning, with a nice dose of literature to prep you up in a good curriculum related topic. Bit of a straw poll before we crack on, who finds the concept of
reading practices somewhat vague or confusing? Couple hands, yep, that’s a good
thing. That means you guys are starting to
appreciate exactly how complicated, nuanced and subtle reading is as an activity. This isn’t a concept which should be easily grasped. Reading is
something you will continue to hone, the whole of your career within literature, um and I don’t think anybody who works within literary criticism ever feels
like they have completely got a handle on what it is to read. So I’m hoping that
across this overview will give you guys a bit of support coming into the
exams and some context to what you’ve been covering in classes. What we want to
start with then is looking at your knowledge of this concept in so far
as you are able to illustrate to the examiner your understanding of it, and
basically this boils down to some really simple questions, we are asking
“what is a reading practice?”, “what is it to read”, what is this activity we partake. I
want to start with a fairly theoretical definition. Louise Michelle Rosenblatt conceptualizes reading through a metaphor of the electric circuit. “As with
the elements of an electric circuit, each” “component of the reading process
functions by virtue of the presence of” “the others. A specific reader and a
specific text at a specific time and” “place. Change any of these and there
occurs a different circuit, a different” event, a different poem.” And here when she
says poem, she’s not talking about a poem in a sense of what is written on
the page, she’s talking about what you take away
from that text, how that poem lives for you. If you change your time or your
context, if you change the text that you’re dealing with, or
somebody else is reading the same text as you a different understanding, a
different conceptualization will emerge so reading is a live circuit and it
depends on all of these elements to emerge. She continues there, “the reader
carries on there for a dynamic, personal and unique activity.” That’s a really
important point and we’re going to come back to that, but basically what this boils
down to is, that it means that reading is not any one thing. It is a range of
strategies by which we engage with the text in its entirety, and when I say
entirety again not just the words on the page but everything that comes with that.
The context, moment in time, the activity you are partaking in, and engaging with it.
And reading really therefore; is how we make meaning, it involves responding to the text
constructions, to its themes, its subtext, its silences and Omissions as well as
what is present. The intertextual relationships in which its embedded, its
context and the moment in which is being read and so on and so forth. You could
list any number of factors in that process. But this ultimately stipulates a
relationship between reader, text and context and there, those elements in that
live circuit that Rosenblatt was pointing to. And it’s important to
recognize that given this relationship, your reading is only ever
one possibility in interacting with the text. There’s going to be different
possibilities emerge from different situations, from different interactions
and your reading will always be dependent on the linguistic strategies you employ
when you’re involving yourself with it. So the ideas you take to the text, the
things you perceive in, and the things which you find have emphasis or which
have power over your thoughts, your way of thinking. This includes not
only the linguistic structures in terms of syntax and in language devices but
again, also the context, your perspective and the theoretical ideas you take to the text so the ideas which
holds sway over you. And similarly the text emerges from its own context of
time and place, so its production has been influenced by those three things as
well, on the part of the writer. it will have been written in the context of its
own time and place, it will have been written according to certain generic and
linguistic strategies, and it will hold its own array of beliefs, values,
attitudes, and ideas. All together then. woops, wrong way. Reading is thus not only an
event, but a fluid event, it’s one which will continue with time. it’s a process.
Your understanding the text will develop as you continue in your interaction with
it, and your reading will therefore be unique. your reading will be
unique, both to your perspective and your process. This is really important. This gives you guys a huge power coming
into the exam. This means that you don’t have to worry
about providing something brilliant something, or thats original, or something that nobody else will
mention because you inherently always already are. Your perspective, your strategies, the unique way
which you apply yourself to a text is already unique Okay? So, that takes a lot of pressure off
you and this idea of reading practices as this fluid event means that you are
always going to be delivering something that nobody else will be able to, and I
want you to remember that because that means that as you present yourself to an
examiner, all you’re doing is justifying your own perspective. You don’t need to
worry about anybody else’s because yours will already be inherently unique.
Ultimately, though, reading practices are the means by which we gain and
illustrate this individual relationship with a text and today we’re going to
look at the three distinct practices the syllabus requires in doing this. So this
boils down to a very simple trilogy of demands on you as a student, and if you
take nothing else away from my lecture today, I really hope you take this away.
Texts are capable of generating multiple readings. Okay, that’s the nature of what reading is.
Interpretation is therefore never fixed. Okay that means you have to prove
why your interpretation is functioning in the way it is. Your job therefore is
threefold and this is the trilogy, this is what you take away. This is like the
Star Wars parts four, five, six. Show the examiner your interpretation, okay, number one: every good response must
clearly show the examiner your interpretation. number two: in order to do
this you have to point specifically to what in the text influenced your
interpretation, and we’re not saying simply quote here, we’re pointing to the
strategies, the ideas the complexity of the text. which created those ideas for
you. so what, not just quoting, but going
beyond that identifying, the characteristics of the text which
created your interpretation. And finally illustrating how those things functioned
for you, how those things worked and boiled away in the back of your head to
produce your interpretation, because showing what alone won’t be enough, we
have to show what and how it works in order to fully explain what it is we’re
taking from this text. So a very, very simple equation there: show the examiner
your interpretation by pointing out what in the text influence you and
illustrating how those things functioned. Just as a side note it’s
important that we recognize the difference between reader response and
also intention. It’s a huge fallacy that we can
never claim to know what the author intended, we can’t. That’s impossible,
nobody can mind read. The reading, moreover, as we’ve just pointed out is
yours, it’s yours alone. They are your original ideas coming from
that text, so you have to justify them as your own. And these two things together
mean that we can only ever illustrate what we gain in interacting with a text.
The moment you step sideways into trying to suggest you know what the author
intended is the moment you’re signaling to the examiner that you’ve got a crystal ball and gypsy scarves and everything’s getting a bit goofy and
crazy. So avoid this, work on what you take from the text work on your
interpretation, make sure you make clear that you understand that your reading
is yours. This takes us to the first of these
reading practices. But just before we skip right ahead, we want to
understand therefore that the text is composed of different layers. So given
that there are multiple practices, there must be therefore inherently more than
one thing operating in a text at one time. And the different practices we
participate in speak to these different layers within a text. So a text is
composed of firstly, right at the top we’ve got the
overt high level meaning and this is basically the simple narrative plot we
understand to have taken place. Underpinning that is
subtextual and thematic meaning, The things which boil away conceptually
beneath that plot to give us the richness and complexity of the text. And
finally we’re talking about linguistic meaning as the bottom level of that
trilogy. We’ve got the things which operate purely on a language function to
create theme, to create subtext, and create that over high level meaning. Those
different layers and strategies have to be attacked by different practices and
the examiners perspective shows that they really want you to illustrate you
can engage with these multiple layers through multiple practices and that
combine those into a cohesive whole reading. So this is actually an exam report
from 2014 but I’ve kept this quiet because it shows so beautifully and
simplistically and what they’re looking for and very similar statement was made
in the 2015 exam report but a successful reading will engage with its
exploration of ideas, ideologies, context, value and attitudes, and specific use of
genre and techniques. Okay, successful reading pretty much has to
cover everything What they’re saying in that sentence is
successful reading does not leave a man behind. Such an approach, and this is
where we get interesting, such an approach shows a candidate’s
ability to comprehend a text, allows a candidate to reveal their understanding
of literary devices and conventions, and allows a candidate to discuss and
develop their ideas and context, and draw conclusions based on the observations of
the text. Three things there should start to sound a little bit familiar. These are your three tasks: show the
examiner your interpretation, show your ability to comprehend text, point out what in
the text influence your interpretation, reveal your understanding of literary
devices and conventions, and finally illustrate how these things influenced you
in developing your interpretation. Discuss and develop your ideas in
context and draw conclusions based on those observations. So those three things
which I pointed out telling you to have to do, they are embedded in the examiners report. They are exactly what
the examiners will be looking for. It’s not a simplistic formula. It is
something which you have to demonstrate for the examiners to recognize the
richness, the complexity of your perspective, your rating on the text.
Different practices, different reading practices contribute different things to
this complete relationship. And the syllabus calls attention to three main
reading practices, three forms of engagement. These should be pretty
familiar, we’re talking close reading, contextual reading, and theoretical
reading. I’m not going to say much more terribly much about each practice in and of
itself because there are other lectures today, your teachers will be all over
this sort of stuff, and you guys will have plenty of opportunities to develop
your skills in each area. What I want to talk about today primarily is how we
bring these three practices together and articulate the reading which comes out.
But this means that we have to be aware of what each one is, so we will go over
each briefly and talk about how to use them. Firstly the syllabus makes clear that
readings need to engage with the construction of the text, and this
necessitates a close reading at all times. So in your exam you have part one:
Demanding close reading and part two: questions to seven, something like
that. Those are the questions which demand the full essay, demand all of the
ideas being brought together. Do not neglect close reading simply
because it has happened in the first section. Okay? Close reading needs to happen the
whole way through. And close reading engages directly with the language of the
text its linguistic structures and the high-level effect of these structures on
the reader. This reading produces both the high-level narrative, so our overton
understanding of what the hell’s going on here and draws attention to the subtext
and themes which simmer underneath and that’s how it relates to both contextual
and thematic readings. What can we pick up in a close reading?
Ideally we’re basically looking for language techniques and this means we’re
looking for things like figurative language, imagery, connotation, nuance, all these
subtleties of word choice and representation. We’re looking for
sentence structure, looking for dialogue, and we’re looking for forms such as in
enjambment, antithesis, chiasmus. We’re looking for
sound mapping in terms of how things play out orally. Rhythm, emphasis,
metre. Some of these might be unfamiliar. Who can uh, who is aware of what enjambent is? Is
everybody familiar with this technique? Okay, I’m going to quickly going buzz over there, and we’ll be using
them in a sec. Enjambments the break-in lines in poetry, the way in which lines flow on to each other. Antithesis, anti thesis, anti suggests an opposition, thesis an idea, antithesis is a form of opposition building on
juxtaposition for example, which focuses on diametrically opposed ideas,
specifically ideas, and they have to be completely polar opposites within the
text. Chiasmus, chiasmus is a repetition a form of repetition which structures across
the patterns. Has anybody heard of chiasmus before? Props to you if you have thats huge. Chiasmus is really, really fun. It’s used a lot in Shakespeare for example. It’s a
repetition wherein the second half is inverted. So you’ve got ideas or words,
doesn’t matter, whatever, A, B and then opposition is switched, B, A. So the
classic example is Macbeth. Its got fair is foul, foul is fair, hovering smog and
filthy air. Really, really classic, gutsy, simple repetition which has that
inverted structure to bring it home. These are the sort of techniques that we
immediately grab onto, that stick in our heads. And it’s asking why and how and
what they’re doing which impacts this reading practice. Anything else there,
sound mapping and rhythm, they should be pretty obvious. We’re looking for the way
in which sounds are patterned. The beat and the emphasis throughout. Metre
again, likewise how its structured across sound. All of these techniques are things
which you should at least be familiar with and start playing with in
identifying them in a text. And this is really how close reading functions, its
unpacking all of this trying to pull it apart in the text. Okay, because it’s doing this we should
always start with it. It gives us a good basis to build a reading from because it
lets us pick out things which could be important, and
things which will give us ideas about how to continue. And in terms of
demonstrating close reading as a practice; it’s essential that you not only
illustrate your capacity to break down the text like this but also your
understanding of what these techniques are how, they function Okay, so why you’re highlighting this
specifically and not that; what this here offers you, specifically and not that. And
this is this is how we develop the close reading to to move towards a
comprehensive and whole articulation of interpretation. So we can move on at
this point to contextual reading Context implicates everything
surrounding both the texts production and its reception. Your moment, your
perspective in engaging with it. This is vital the two go together. You can’t
have one in context without having the other Context, it’s an elastic idea it can’t be
separated out from one point of focus to another. So when we are looking
at things which fall into context and theres a whole list there for example, looking
at the genre, generic constraints imposed upon its composition and your
reception at the same time, the texts history, the social moment of its writing,
avert social comment in terms of dystopian or utopian functions, political
influences, intertextual relationships, your personal response to it and its
relevance to today’s world. All of these things functioning as a context go
across production and reception so that the classic example would be in the
genre, for instance. Here we’re talking about generic constraints which
shaped the way in which the author set out to write the text, so, okay, Shakespeare’s decided he’s gonna write a
drama in Macbeth, rather than a comedy. The way in which he structures it, the
way in which he puts this together, the opening with the witches as a dramatic
entreé. All of these things are generic conventions, they are structured through genre. And
yet when you read Macbeth you’re not going into into that play looking
for a good time. You’re not assuming that this will be light, will be easy, So your reception is function of the
same generic conventions which shape its production. You assume certain things
about the text because you know it is a drama, or it is a tragedy, or it is
whatever. So this is really vital that when you approach your reading, you’re
assuming the context is going to function at both ends across the text
history. Drawing your impression of context together will be really powerful
if you can illustrate how it functions at both ends. When I say your personal
response just as it is another point within context, we’ve got here your personal response
and its relevance to today’s world. You need to be quite careful with this. This
is not a reading based on how you’re feeling that morning, how you slept the
night, before how your weekend was, this is a reading which recognizes the social
structures in which you yourself are implicated. So how does the fact that you are
Australian, how does the fact that you live in a democracy, how does the fact
that you’re female or male, how does the fact that you’ve got
parents who are English, you’ve got parents who are Asian, you’ve got parents
who are Italian, how do these things influence your reception of the text? How did the structures in which you
yourself experience the world influence your understanding what’s going on? Using
“I” in this sense is fine, but don’t use it to say I bought coffee this morning, so
I’m really hopped up on caffeine ,and as such the pace in this piece is really
getting to me. You need to use it in ways in which show that you’re aware of the
structures behind what’s going on here. So use it, for example to say as an
Australian living within a democracy the dystopian politics of this tensor are
emphasized in the contrast to my current lifestyle. Use structures around you to illustrate context as much as your own
perspective and to go one better; talking about production as well as
reception here, knowing that when you’re talking about yourself you’re focusing
on reception. This contrast between our democratic reality and the dystopian
politics of the text echoes the moments of its production, so if we’re talking
all well in 1984, we’re going to say that, you know, we were in a democracy he was
in a Democratic Society, it shows the same anxieties of political tension
operating at both ends in production and reception. Ok, use context to draw your knowledge of
the text right across its history. All right moving right along then
finally the syllabus requires theoretical reading and this is wherein
the text is understood through a conceptual framework. Most productively
really only way in which it can be productive: is when this is drawn from an
ideology or chain of thematic reference which is built up in the text. I cannot
emphasize that enough. This means reading specifically the
ideas in the text which can be understood through a certain theory, so
which can be understood as feminist or as Marxist, or through psychoanalysis, or
through eco-poetics. Think of theoretical reading as drawing a map it
demands that several key ideas be taken from the text, key landmarks, key points,
and connect it to give a shape, to give a structure to your understanding of how
that land lies. Because if you don’t relate these ideas to the text if you
don’t draw from the text to produce a theoretical reading then you’re not
actually reading anymore. Might be really lovely essay showing wonderfully detailed
awareness of exactly what feminist criticism is, what feminist literary
theory is, but it will have absolutely nothing to do with reading. So what you
need to do when you’re applying a theoretical reading is aim always to
elucidate the text. Aim to elucidate the ideas which stand out
through during this structure around them. You’re not going to do
very well, and a very common mistake is to apply theories which have little
relevance and try to make fit try and stamp them over. This
means that your priority in preparing for theoretical readings shouldn’t be to
learn the theories but to learn the texts. Look for those ideas that you can
shape from the texts. Okay? It’s really really important and i
cannot stress enough, the theoretical reading must be drawn from the text, it
must be built up in the text and it must elucidate the text. otherwise it’s not reading anymore. So to
put these three practices together, I’m going to demonstrate each in play in response
to a text and we’re going to come back once we’ve talked about articulating a
reading and draw all into one cohesive coherent response. I really hope, we’ll see how
this goes. Not every practice is applicable in every situation so what
I’m applying here in terms of applying each of them one after the other will
generally be possible but it may not always be possible so don’t feel that
you have to be constrained because again ultimately the reading has to come
from the text. It has to be what is in there, what you take from that text .which
shapes how you respond. So we have a lovely poem from John Kinsella. “Smells of
the wheatbelt”. This is from his “Shades of the sublime and beautiful” in 2008. I’m
just going to read this through because it’s really cool, i really love this poem.
It continues if anybody likes how This works go find the rest of his work.
He is just got see this is really gutsy. writing, anyway, “Yes the smell of hay being cut, when
slightly damp, that he intoxicating lushness of poison, sustaining allergies
and full heads, yes, the weight harvest the dry stocks
cotton eaten by the header, spilled like alcohol into fieldbins, trucks
overloaded for the silos, both sides of a simile, yes the smell of wet shape on
a frosty morning, warming rapidly, the Sun blazing so far enough away to keep the
temperatures down, the old factories unsure sores stung and bitten, the sweet
putrefaction of a field of flowering canola, the weird anomaly of
wattle bloom, the layering of dust including its own mineral and cellular odor, the perfumed corrosion of herbicides
killing from the roots up, leaf down, inside out, the sting of pesticides washed
from crop to river, the chromatic gleam filming the surface, the collusion of
smell and taste, a trauma of the eye..” Alright, so as I said, we always start
with the close reading we start with our unpacking stuff. first of all the overt narrative here.
What are we dealing with? what’s his poem about? Pretty clearly it is a pastoral
scene. it’s called “smells of the wheatbelt”. he’s
describing the smells in which he engages living in the wheatbelt. So
we’ve got an idea that in yellow here all of these things that have picked out
the smell of hay being cut, that heating intoxicating lushness, the wheat
harvest, eaten by the header and spilled into fieldbins, trucks
overloaded for the silos, wet sheep on a frosty morning, and the sweet smell
of a field of flower and canola, All of these things are pastoral scenes that
he’s describing. Moreover it’s packed with natural imagery, its setting up in
this setting, the normal concepts which are attached to the pastoral,
scenes of health, scenes of fertility and growth, all of these wonderful vibrant
outdoorsy sort of things and we’re tying in, we recognize here to another
tradition an English tradition of writing in the pastoral, so we’ve already
got a hint of what might be emerging in the contextual reading through just
picking out this overt narrative here. As we start to unpack it a little bit more
though, we notice that the yellow stuff the wheat, the harvest, the wet sheep,
the canola, all of these natural images these things of health and fertility are
interrupted or disrupted by an alternate set of images. Things which are speaking
to danger, damage, disruption. So in the very second line emphasized by the
enjambment, there’s one of our techniques that we talked about before, we have
poison unexpectedly creeping in when up to that point we’ve been talking about
hay being cut, slightly damp, beauty and intoxicating
beautiful, lush, healthy poison, the enjambent cuts you away and says poison,
sustaining allergies, and full heads. oh okay so he’s just talking about hayfever, its
fine. But already that little image has snuck-in of something that isn’t quite
healthy isn’t quite right within this natural imagery of health and fertility.
And we notice as we keep reading that this starts to be exacerbated, so it’s
not spilled over flying it spilled like alcohol, something that is a social
product relating from these wheat, from these crops. It has some uncomfortable
associations here. We’ve got the wet sheep on a frosty morning warming
rapidly. The Sun blazing. Slightly uncomfortable image when you’re thinking
over crisp beautiful spring morning, not quite what you imagine. The old
factories, these olfactory unsure as stung and bitten. These aren’t beautiful smells, this is no longer heady intoxicating lushness. It is smells which attack, which offend, which leave
you unsure, and we’ve got again, through the enjambent, the sweet putrefaction, the sweet
rottenness which yes could be just an accurate way of describing that slightly
funky smell akinola but it could too be something which is really uncomfortable.
There’s a sense of uneasiness in the representation here. We’ve got this
developing further and further as we go down so you’ll see if we’ve color-coded
here we’ve got the natural imagery more prominent in the first half and the
unnatural juxtaposition of those disruptive poisonous influences building
up down as we continue to the second half. So herbicides, pesticides killing
corroding from crop to river, that chromatic gleam, filming the surface, the
trauma of the eye. These ideas then developing into an antithesis these
things are developing to the point of extreme opposition. Something which
should be natural and fertile instead, something which has become dangerous, difficult,
damaging. And this antithesis is centered in the poem where I’ve highlighted it in
blue. Centered on the symbol of nation in the idea of the wattle bloom. The
weird anomaly of wattle bloom. We’re not got something natural, this
symbol of nation should be something clean, healthy, it’s a flower it’s
wonderful, it’s bright and natural and generally something seen as positive
but here it’s a weird anomaly. It’s something that shouldn’t be there,
something which is uncomfortable. And this development and then
attachment of the antithesis to the symbol of nation makes this clear just
through looking at these linguistic techniques, that this is a poem that is
seriously disturbed. It’s developing a real unease and anxiety as it goes. That’s shown in the rising pace, the tone
so we’ve got yes repeated at the top which functions to slow it down to break
it up, but that yes disappears and instead the pace picks up, the shorter
sentences sort of syntactic blocks, those semicolons become more
regular, they become uneasy pauses after a short burst of dark and dangerous
imagery, and all this shows the growing anxiety and anger from what started out
as a really clean healthy natural scene. We gonna heap in a close reading here, we
take that forward therefore, into the contextual reading, as we said, okay we’re
dealing with poetry as genre that’s got a long tradition, a long context in the
English tradition of writing, and the pastoral scene in particular is specific
to english poetry as something wholesome, something healthy. So we’ve got our
context here through the genre pointing to a long tradition of English pastoral
imagery. This has been shifted though into the Australian setting, so we’ve got
context of nation as well through the wheatbelt which is a very specific
Western Australian phenomenon in particular. We’ve got wheat harvest and
sheep being Australia’s two main crops. We got the Sun blazing, that idea of a
sunburnt country popping up with canola and wattle bloom. mentioned for good
measure. All of these things shift that context from the history of the English
pastoral into conflict with the Australian setting. I’m going to pick up
on that in terms of the meaning because we’ve already pointed to the anxiety
that developed through that juxtaposition, through that antithesis of
ideas. This takes us then to the theoretical reading. We’ve found that it’s something
that has anxiety, it’s placing that anxiety on the pastoral natural imagery
it’s talking about a history of the natural in an Australian setting
stretching back to an English setting. Okay, so we’ve got a pretty clear theory we
can apply here it’s fairly clearly an eco-critical poem. And this is a comment
on the damage to the Australian environment through European farming
practices. So yeah, okay, this hints at post colonialism in there as well. This sort of reading would need to pick
up on the imagery we already noticed and the antithesis we looked at in the close reading and then build that contextual frame around it in order to make sense
of the theory. So the theoretical reading is drawing directly from what we’ve
already noticed in the earlier reading practices and noting all of those images
of the dangerous, the dark, the disturbed the disrupted, and showing how that
imagery of corrosion, of pesticides, of trauma, speaks to a wider question of what
European farming practices have done to Australia’s natural spaces. These
different reading practices allow us to construct a reading, but we also need to
be able to explain our process, elucidating both our focus ,and the depth
of our understanding. And articulating isn’t, reading is much easier if
can break it down, you need to differentiate between your understanding
of the text meeting, and how you arrived at that understanding, how its
constructed in the text, so as we said at the start, its those three main
steps. Show your reading, show what influenced it, and show how those things function. The syllabus some asks you to
demonstrate what reading means, it asks you to evaluate the dynamic
relationships between all those texts, audience and contexts, demonstrating
that you understand the relationship between the representation of values and
ideas in texts and how they’re received by audiences, and asks you to evaluate and
reflect on the ways in which literary texts can be interpreted exploring a
range of critical interpretations produced by adopting a variety of
reading strategies noting that multiple readings of a text are possible. And it asks
you to do this in order to produce analysis which describes your own reading
using appropriate linguistic, stylistic, and critical terminology to evaluate and
justify your interpretation. So when it’s asking you to articulate a reading, it’s
asking you to prove that you understand what reading practices are, that you
understand how they function and how they draw together an impression that
you take away from the text. And when you break it down, you’re recognizing that there are
several techniques in which we can do this, just in the same way that there’s
several and infinitely possible ratings from a text. So firstly of course we
can work through structure, good structure is imperative and there’s
other lectures on this today. A well-organized essay with structured
paragraphs will be essential in demonstrating the connection between
your ideas the way, in which things tie together to develop a more rich, nuanced,
understanding. Structure, always a good thing. A progressive analysis will help, so one which moves through multiple
reading practices layering different ideas, different details, together so that
you show that you have cohesive use of multiple practices at once and when I
say progressive analysis, I don’t mean necessarily that you just say “and then, and then” more I mean that different parts
of your essay speak to different concepts, different practices, that you
make sure you cover different practices as you develop your plan for essay and
finally, articulating your reading is best when you show how these things
cohere. When you have a cohesive approach. And this is where I’m going to introduce
two new concepts, “syntam”, think Tim Tam and “paradigm” think mime I haven’t’ got really
good rhyme for paradigm unfortunately. These terms in literary criticism are
the two main ways we approach a text, okay, there’s the horizontal approach, by which
I mean how we’ve draw things together, how they logically link up into a line, and
then the vertical approach, the group of ideas, or influences which have functioned to
give you that approach, give you that perspective on the text. These different
axis are the way in which we can illustrate what is influenced a meaning.
All the group of ideas which have come together to influence our
progression through the text. So we want to produce a reading ideally in a
cohesive approach, which functions in both axis. Each question in the exam
demands the application of multiple reading practices to produce a reading as
a whole. And the word produce is really quite important here. The grading scale
considers your work across five categories, okay? It’s looking for an
awareness, critical analysis, and evaluation of language, and language devices.
It’s looking for the same in genre and generic convention, it’s looking for an
understanding of cultural, historical and social context, and how they affect your
reading. It’s looking for the ability to produce some reading supported by
evidence, and it’s looking for the ability to demonstrate a relationship
between the context of the text and its purpose or audience, so clearly
explained your understanding of how a text generates meaning. These five
things, these five categories in the grading scale, asking you to do what
we’ve said at the start, asking for those three steps, asking you to show your
reading as a whole, show your interpretation of the text that’s
the ability to produce the reading supported by evidence. They’re asking you
to show what gives you those ideas, Language analysis, generic conventions,
understanding of context and social and historical effect within the
text and it’s asking you to point to how this functions, so show your understanding
of how reading works. Candidates knowledge of the text is exhibited by
his or her ability to apply and adapt textual knowledge to the specifics of
the question. This simply means that when you’re
producing your reading, it needs to come from the ideas on which it’s asking you to
focus. It’s asking you to read through a specific paradigm, for instance, in
setting up a question. When you are focusing on key topics on the questions it’s really asking you to point to how
you’re responding, your original response, how your reading is functioning, and
terminology and questions like “present” or “evaluate” are asking that you
articulate your reading practice as a whole. So it isn’t just asking for what
you understand is happening with these ideas, it’s asking for you to show that you
understand how reading functions and you understand how that function has led you
to these ideas specifically. Remember always that this is a reading, this is
one possibility in understanding the text. It requires justification and this
is where articulating your practice comes in handy, because when you are
able to show how your practice functions, whenever you’re able to show those two
axis working through a text, bring the text together as a whole, you’re showing that
you’re aware of how reading functions as a concept too, and be careful that you
draw these multiple practices together, that you elucidate meaning drawing from
all three of those levels, because that makes it cohesive, that makes it detailed,
that makes it layered. Ultimately, you need more than a detailed knowledge, you
need to be able to show your interpretation, show how the takes
demonstrates meaning, and that goes right back to what we started with, means that
you’re showing that live circuit between you, the text your moment in time, how it
was produced, what’s influenced it all of those factors which illustrate your understanding,
which create your interpretation. Really that’s all we have to cover in
terms of reading practice and all I have to say is good luck with the exam, I hope you you
have a lovely semester studying some beautiful books and happy reading.

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