Textual Evidence

Identifying important details while reading a news article, book, short story… can be daunting for any reader, especially if you are reading for a timed assignment or testing situation. But don’t fret. Here are a few strategies to help you anchor and understand written text more quickly and with consistency. Underline: On your first reading, underline all capitalized words, dates, and numbers. This will help you focus more strategically upon your second read. On your second reading, underline anything that seems to be important to you, now. Because you are reading a second time, you will already have a basic feel for the work. On this read, your underlining will include not only “important details” but a subconscious connection and analysis that you have with the work. If you are in a timed, competitive testing atmosphere, this second reading and underlining is as good as an outline, but more effective. In standardized testing, such as the GRE or SAT, the graders are more concerned that you have logically analyzed and responded to the source content than what you think about it. 90% of your written response will will be a regurgitation (quotations and paraphrasing) of the source content rather than how you feel about it. In this scenario, think of yourself as a news and political writer rather than an opinions writer. (Don’t worry. There are many opportunities for creative writing. There are plenty of fantastic outlets for creative writing, lyric essay and more here at Eckleburg Workshops. But in this situation, hunker down and regurgitate. Vomitous writing. It is the pathway toward conventional success. We’ll help you find other outlets for your creative writing.)

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The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the PresentEric Kandel.

The Banalization of Nihilism: Twentieth-Century Responses to MeaninglessnessKaren L. Carr.

A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.

Cognitive Neuropsychology Section, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition.

Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynne Truss.

The Elements of Style. William Strunk. 

Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Peter Barry.

Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Stephen Eric Bronner.

Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Lois Tyson

The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. David H. Richter.

A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

Literary Theories and Schools of Criticism. Purdue Online Writing Lab. 

New Oxford American DictionaryEdited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.

The Norton Anthology of World LiteratureMartin Puchner, et al.

The Norton Introduction to PhilosophyGideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.

Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.

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