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hyper doings

fawei's picture

 Generalized descriptions of reading styles are kind of difficult to grasp... Hyper reading might be different from ‘close reading’ but the definition of ‘close reading’ itself is shaky. If it means reading every word, can you both hyper read and close read a very short text? And can the outcome of ‘critical thinking’ then the same for both methods? Assuming critical thinking to be the formation of some kind of opinion of the text, another layer of variation is added due to the reader’s subjectivity. If the reader has some kind of theory already in mind (ie if they are oriented towards feminist/Marxist/deconstructionist) does that mean that, when they come out with an analysis based only in that theory that by ignoring certain other themes or features they were just ‘hyper reading’? Or since their criticizing process is shortened by their intention, it could be ‘hyper thinking’?

The thing that brings this to mind is my high school English classes. We slugged through a bunch of books and poems but since we were following this method of literary study called ‘new criticism’ (I didn’t know it at the time,) we were told all the literary devices we pulled up were to go towards a certain default conclusion. This conclusion was always something along the lines of ‘the author is being ambiguous.’ And so we carefully dug out through ‘close reading’ metaphors/alliteration/etc that were going for a premade purpose that we didn’t even have to think about. I guess that combination would be called some extent of ‘close reading’ and ‘hyper thinking’…

Not sure if that makes sense, or if it applies to other fields/leisure reading. I guess I am arguing about the variation of things again. I can’t read minds, but I think what we read and what we ignore is affected by what we are taught/trying to find and nobody ever does completely close reading and full on critical thinking at the same time, at least on their own.




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