It’s hard to be analytical. It’s easy to read and to know what you’re reading about, and it’s even easier to just go through a book without really caring about what’s happening. But once you start analyzing what a writer is saying, how they’re saying it, and why, that’s where it gets a bit challenging. Through Mr. Ziebarth’s class, I feel like I’ve definitely learned how to analyze writing with accuracy and competence, and with relative ease.
You know how many times Mr. Ziebarth had us doing style analysis? Cuz’ I don’t. There were too many damn intercalary chapters in The Grapes of Wrath and too many excerpt worksheets to count. After every reading section, we went into detail as a class discussing and analyzing the every chapter. Every. Single. Chapter. Especially those intercalary chapters. And then we also had all those worksheets with writing excerpts on them in which we had to analyze. I swear, man, no one has talked about style before as much as we did. I think I’ve about had my fill of style analysis essays.
But if I’m being honest, I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done with it. I was actually surprised when my Grapes of Wrath style analysis essay came back with a 96%. I was sure I bombed the test, but after getting that back, I felt a lot more confident in my analytical skill and much more prepared for the AP exam than I had before. Not only am I proud of the work I’ve done with style analysis, I also think that it’s one of the most fun and interesting parts of Mr Z’s English class. I know it looked like I was sort of bashing on it earlier, but that was just because of how much of it we were doing. But seriously, getting into the minds of the authors and picking out how they convey a message with their style is really cool. It’s an aspect of reading I hadn’t touched upon much before, and it’s made reading a much more enjoyable experience for me.
You want to know one of the most important ways I’ve found people form their message? Word choice. I know that seems pretty obvious𑁋of course it’s people’s words that create their message𑁋but it is often through the connotation of the words that authors use that they build the tone of a piece of writing. It is with that tone that the message often becomes clear.One of the best places we see how diction is used by the author to convey a message is in the book Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.
Holden Caulfield is absolutely the funniest character I have ever read. He’s witty, intelligent, insanely perceptive, childish (though he likes to think otherwise), crude, and downright insane.His vocabulary, or lack thereof, does a great deal in showing us some of these characteristics. When he was leaving his boarding school, Pencey Prep, in the middle of the night, he tells the reader that he was, “…sort of crying. I don’t know why.” Rather than completely owning up to it he said he was only “sort of” crying. This implies that he was not fully crying and sort of dampens the image of crying down, so that the reader might think he wasn’t really crying too hard. This shows how immature Holden is. He doesn’t have the confidence or maturity to own up to the fact that he started to cry over flunking out of yet another school and having to return home.
Holden’s words don’t only illustrate to the reader his own characteristics, but also his life and relationship with other people.Throughout the story, Holden calls people things like “phony” or “fake”, and calls many others “stupid” or “moron. ” It’s very clear that he dislikes almost everybody. Even when he acts decently towards people, his inner monologue suggests otherwise. When going on a date with Sally Hayes, he acts kindly to her at first and carries on decent conversations, but in his mind he calls her the “queen of the phonies.” Eventually he outright calls her “pain in the ass.” It’s clear that Holden’s relationships with people outside his family are never friendships. But despite that, Holden is much more complicated than disliking everybody. After his fight with Sally Hayes, Holden reflects on what he said to her before the fight. He asked her to run away with him and live together in a cabin in the woods. Reflecting on it, he says, “…I really meant it when I asked her.” The reason Holden meant it was because he was lonely. Holden is always lonely. Throughout the story he is looking for companionship, whether it be with Sally, his sister, a taxi driver, or even a prostitute. Holden is always looking for companionship throughout the whole book, and when he inevitably ruins the relationship through his immaturity, he claims to be “depressed.” Whenever things go wrong, he’s “depressed.” This depression, the complete sadness at the lack of human companionship, shows how his life and relationships are a constant contradiction. He hates almost everyone he meets, but craves a connection with them. It is through Holden’s words that we discover this cycle of depression he puts himself through.
So that’s how you be analytical. Look at the words. I’m sure I could go into more detail, but this post has an 800 word minimum, and I’m pretty sure I’ve gone past it, so I’m gonna stop right here. Thanks for reading my blog, whoever you are, I appreciate it. Welp, this is my final post for this school-sanctioned blog, so I guess I better end it with something cool. I guess I’ll put a curse word at the end. Scroll down if you want to see it. This is Colin from Mr. Ziebarth’s 4th period AP Language class, signing off.
Haha gotcha! I’m good boy, and I never curse, EVER!