As you read, jot down notes, mark significant passages, and then reread them. The
Reading Notes for Eva Tihanyi’s poem
Blind Man in this chapter model the note-taking process.
Try to make sense of the work: what does it mean, and how does it express its meaning? The response can begin with simple questions—how?, why?, and so what?
In particular, consider these questions:
- Subject: What is this about? What is its subject? (sometimes the title helps here)
- Voice: Who is speaking? And why? And how?
- Imagery/Focus: Is there a specific point or focus it seems to explore? Does it raise questions about its subject? If not, what does it focus on describing and how does it do so? Why might that be important?
- Language: How is language being used? (literal/figurative; tone; etc.)
- Form: How does the form work to reflect or develop the meaning? (consider line breaks; stanzas; repetition; etc).
Putting It All Together: Writing
Asking questions is a way to focus your response and begin formulating a thesis—the topic with a point of view. From the notes and answers to the questions above, craft a working thesis, which will help you put the pieces of your notes together into a rough structure. Be sure to have a thesis that reflects key aspects of the literary work, so that it can carry the weight of scrutiny. This will be refined during the writing process, but you need a general idea of what you’re arguing before you begin writing (to help focus on the importance of your thesis and to provide a persuasive argument, keep asking yourself,
so what?). Do not wait to be surprised by your argument at the end of the writing process.
Close Reading Write-up for
Blind Man offers a basic analysis of the poem, but with room for you to expand the discussion.