Close and Distant Reading Reflection

Oresteia and Exodus both end in destruction. In Oresteia, the trilogy is surrounded by the theme of fate of destruction, while Exodus is founded on the theme of self-destruction. The two stories tell different stories, but they ultimately lead to destruction. Using close and distant reading allows us to understand the type of destruction and its severity. For example, in Oresteia I discussed the quote “There’s a rule that lays it down that spattering of life-blood spilling on the ground must summon further bloodshed. Murder calls upon an Erinys to draw on deadly retribution for the murdered” (Aeschylus 69). Analyzing a quote allows the reader to visualize the scene and conceptualize the severity of the scene without any leading events. Having descriptive adjectives allowed us to feel the amplification of the scene. On the other hand, in my distant reading, I discuss how Pharaoh caused his own destruction. In the distant reading, you are told the leading effects that caused the many conflicts, such as each plague that God sent to Egypt. Instead of describing every detail from each plague I simply emphasized their ten plagues and after each one Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites. It allows the reader to contextualize the story without visualizing every scene of the story. 

Close reading is used to analyze a specific quote to prove something, while a distant reading is used to analyze the plot of a story to prove something. An author would use close reading when there are vibrant quotes that allow a reader to understand the significance that of that exact moment. An author would use distant reading when the multiple rising actions and falling actions that would be difficult to contextualize in one quote. If an author has a descriptive writing style using close reading would help understand the significance of the scene to the theme. Alternatively, if an author was more interested in creating a dynamic plot, rather than descriptive storytelling, then distant reading would be better to prove a claim. Both reading styles allow readers to understand different elements of a story. 

Visualizing with words

ProQuest Ebook Central – Reader
. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nu/reader.action?docID=5475383&ppg=158.

Aeschylus, et al. The Oresteia: The Texts of the Plays, Ancient Backgrounds and Responses, Criticism. Norton, 2018.

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