Observed vs expected analysis essay

Observed Vs Expected Analysis Essay

Observed vs expected analysis essay

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Overview When your teachers or professors ask you to analyze a literary text, they often look for something frequently called close reading. Close reading is deep analysis of how a literary text works; it is both a reading process and something you include in a literary analysis paper, though in a refined form.

Observed vs expected analysis essay

Fiction writers and poets build texts out of many central components, including subject, form, and specific word choices. Literary analysis involves examining these components, which allows us to find in small parts of the text clues to help us understand the whole.

For example, if an author writes a novel in the form of a personal journal about a character's daily life, but that journal reads like a series of lab reports, what do we learn about that character?

What is the effect of picking a word like "tome" instead of "book"? In effect, you are putting the author's choices under a microscope.

The process of close reading should produce a lot of questions. It is when you begin to answer these questions that you are ready to participate thoughtfully in class discussion or write a literary analysis paper that makes the most of your close reading work. Close reading sometimes feels like over-analyzing, but don't worry. Close reading is a process of finding as much information as you can in order form to as many questions as you can.

When it is time to write your paper and formalize your close reading, you will sort through your work to figure out what is most convincing and helpful to the argument you hope to make and, conversely, what seems like a stretch. This guide imagines you are sitting down to read a text for the first time on your way to developing an argument about a text and writing a paper.

To give one example of how to do this, we will read the poem "Design" by famous American poet Robert Frost and attend to four major components of literary texts: If you want even more information about approaching poems specifically, take a look at our guide: How to Read a Poem.

Make notes in the margins, underline important words, place question marks where you are confused by something.

Of course, if you are reading in a library book, you should keep all your notes on a separate piece of paper. If you are not making marks directly on, in, and beside the text, be sure to note line numbers or even quote portions of the text so you have enough context to remember what you found interesting.

Expected vs Observed Performance

Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth— Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth— A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall?

What is its plot? What is its most important topic? What image does it describe? It's easy to think of novels and stories as having plots, but sometimes it helps to think of poetry as having a kind of plot as well.

A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis

When you examine the subject of a text, you want to develop some preliminary ideas about the text and make sure you understand its major concerns before you dig deeper. Observations In "Design," the speaker describes a scene: The flower is a heal-all, the blooms of which are usually violet-blue.

This heal-all is unusual. The speaker then poses a series of questions, asking why this heal-all is white instead of blue and how the spider and moth found this particular flower. How did this situation arise? Questions The speaker's questions seem simple, but they are actually fairly nuanced. We can use them as a guide for our own as we go forward with our close reading. Furthering the speaker's simple "how did this happen," we might ask, is the scene in this poem a manufactured situation?

The white moth and white spider each use the atypical white flower as camouflage in search of sanctuary and supper respectively.

Observed vs expected analysis essay

Did these flora and fauna come together for a purpose? Does the speaker have a stance about whether there is a purpose behind the scene? If so, what is it? How will other elements of the text relate to the unpleasantness and uncertainty in our first look at the poem's subject? After thinking about local questions, we have to zoom out. Ultimately, what is this text about? When you look at a text, observe how the author has arranged it.

If it is a novel, is it written in the first person? How is the novel divided? If it is a short story, why did the author choose to write short-form fiction instead of a novel or novella? Examining the form of a text can help you develop a starting set of questions in your reading, which then may guide further questions stemming from even closer attention to the specific words the author chooses.

A little background research on form and what different forms can mean makes it easier to figure out why and how the author's choices are important. Observations Most poems follow rules or principles of form; even free verse poems are marked by the author's choices in line breaks, rhythm, and rhyme—even if none of these exists, which is a notable choice in itself.

Here's an example of thinking through these elements in "Design. We will focus on rhyme scheme and stanza structure rather than meter for the purposes of this guide. A typical Italian sonnet has a specific rhyme scheme for the octave: Note that we are speaking only in generalities here; there is a great deal of variation. Why use an Italian sonnet? Why use an unusual scheme in the sestet?

What is the volta in this poem? In other words, what is the point? Italian sonnets have a long tradition; many careful readers recognize the form and know what to expect from his octave, volta, and sestet. Frost seems to do something fairly standard in the octave in presenting a situation; however, the turn Frost makes is not to resolution, but to questions and uncertainty.

A white spider sitting on a white flower has killed a white moth. How did these elements come together? Was the moth's death random or by design? Is one worse than the other? We can guess right away that Frost's disruption of the usual purpose of the sestet has something to do with his disruption of its rhyme scheme.

Looking even more closely at the text will help us refine our observations and guesses. If you are reading something longer, are there certain words that come up again and again?

Are there words that stand out? While you are going through this process, it is best for you to assume that every word is important—again, you can decide whether something is really important later. Even when you read prose, our guide for reading poetry offers good advice: Mark the words that stand out, and perhaps write the questions you have in the margins or on a separate piece of paper.

If you have ideas that may possibly answer your questions, write those down, too. Observations Let's take a look at the first line of "Design": I found a dimpled spider, fat and white The poem starts with something unpleasant: Then, as we look more closely at the adjectives describing the spider, we may see connotations of something that sounds unhealthy or unnatural.

When we imagine spiders, we do not generally picture them dimpled and white; it is an uncommon and decidedly creepy image. There is dissonance between the spider and its descriptors, i. Already we have a question: We should look for additional clues further on in the text. The next two lines develop the image of the unusual, unpleasant-sounding spider: On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth— Now we have a white flower a heal-all, which usually has a violet-blue flower and a white moth in addition to our white spider.

Heal-alls have medicinal properties, as their name suggests, but this one seems to have a genetic mutation—perhaps like the spider? Does the mutation that changes the heal-all's color also change its beneficial properties—could it be poisonous rather than curative?

A white moth doesn't seem remarkable, but it is "Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth," or like manmade fabric that is artificially "rigid" rather than smooth and flowing like we imagine satin to be.

How to compare observed and expected counts with GraphPad QuickCalcs

We might think for a moment of a shroud or the lining of a coffin, but even that is awry, for neither should be stiff with death. Questions The first three lines of the poem's octave introduce unpleasant natural images "of death and blight" as the speaker puts it in line four.

The flower and moth disrupt expectations: The focus on whiteness in these lines has more to do with death than purity—can we understand that whiteness as being corpse-like rather than virtuous?

Well before the volta, Frost makes a "turn" away from nature as a retreat and haven; instead, he unearths its inherent dangers, making nature menacing. From three lines alone, we have a number of questions: Will whiteness play a role in the rest of the poem?

How does "design"—an arrangement of these circumstances—fit with a scene of death? What other juxtapositions might we encounter?

A comparison of observed performance and expected performance

These disruptions and dissonances recollect Frost's alteration to the standard Italian sonnet form: Many texts, especially longer forms like novels and plays, have multiple themes.

That's good news when you are close reading because it means there are many different ways you can think through the questions you develop. Observations So far in our reading of "Design," our questions revolve around disruption: Discovering a concept or idea that links multiple questions or observations you have made is the beginning of a discovery of theme. Questions What is happening with disruption in "Design"?