For this assignment you will select one of the three assigned passages below. You are asked to write a 350-500 word analysis, tying the passage under consideration to the text as a whole. The main question you are being asked to address is as follows: what is the significance (eg. in terms of themes, significant patterns, etc.) of the passage to the work as a whole. The grading for this assignment will include consideration of the persuasiveness of your argument, the quality of your close reading, and your ability to write in a manner that is clear, concise, grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. For this kind of assignment your introduction and conclusion should be brief, eg. approximately 1 to 2 sentences each.


  1. Passage from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.


  1. Passage from Elizabeth Barret Browning’s Sonnet 43 I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right; I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.



  1. Passage from James Joyce’s “Araby” One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling like I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: O love! O love! many times.


Close Reading Assignment