When you close read, you observe facts and details about a 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aim may be to notice only selected features of the text—for instance, oppositions and correspondences, or particular historical references.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.
The main idea behind a close reading is that you work very closely with a text in order to investigate its meaning. The conclusions you draw about this meaning emerge directly from words or sentences in the text; do not “hypothesize” about what the meaning is; use the text to inform your ideas.
Take a look at this source for how to write a close reading essay:
Keep in mind that your paper will be shorter, so you should write an introduction of 1-3 sentences.
You will be writing a close reading of the Haitian Declaration of Independence (2 pages).
1. Pick one paragraph from the document and explain the argument.