Close Reading In Jane Gallop's The Ethics Of Reading

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When taking a detailed look at how society functions, we normally assume it would be through a political or sociological study. Rarely do average people turn to literature to break down our societies inner workings through a slightly metaphorical mode of analysis. In the article “The Ethics of Reading”, author Jane Gallop does just that by informing readers about a technique of reading called Close Reading. On the surface, Gallop claims to only want a new generation of competent readers, who will respect the work that they are interpreting. Beyond that though, Gallop wants students to look past any pre-existing connotations about either the text, author, or both. She truly wishes that, as a reader, we eliminate any bias’s, and examine what …show more content…
Gallop diverges from talking about the technique of close reading, into talking about multiculturalism and how it affects literature. Gallops uses Shakespeare as an example of how once people started paying attention to what his work was about, that they would no longer appreciate it. Many believe Shakespeare to be a legendary playwright, and a master in the dramatic arts, but his worked was heavily laced with both sexism and racism. People in today’s society fear that because of this, Shakespeare could no longer be considered a great writer. Somehow people were surprised by this, that a guy who lived in England in the 1500’s was both sexist and racist. While yes, that doesn’t make it right, it was 600 years ago, and at the time was culturally acceptable. The fact that people are complaining about this 600 years later either means that these groups of people tried to make up some false meaning for the plays, or they just ran out of stuff to complain about. This problem occurs today as well, people have a tendency of tearing apart a piece of work, looking for anything and everything that’s wrong with …show more content…
There are two types of stereotypes, of course everyone knows about the negative stereotypes, but for every negative there is also a positive. Gallop uses the example of an old black woman, and a student who tries to characterize the author as wiser and smarter than the average person, which falls back on a positive stereotype. Just like negative stereotypes, positive stereotypes are engrained into our memory from a young age based on the conditions you were brought up in. TV, Movies, Radio, and occasionally music do not help with this psychological enforcement, as all mediums of media rely so heavily on stereotypes. This is called projection. Projection is where you put your own thoughts or ideas in a medium, and you share those thoughts and ideas. Projection makes listeners only view a subject in only one light, and makes it very difficult to change those views. Gallop understands this, and demonstrates how with close reading you can avoid both projection and pre-existing

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