Annotating a Passage

To “annotate” means to make notes or comments on a text or document. It’s a good idea to get in a habit of doing this regularly with texts we read for this course–particularly if you’re going to write about them.

To get started, select a passage of about 100 – 150 words from Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Perform a “close reading” of the passage by first annotating it. Offer commentary in the margins, on any word or phrase that stands out to you as relevant or interesting. This might include identifying rhetorical techniques, defining unusual words, noting repetition, identifying images or symbols, or pointing out ways in which the passage reflects course themes or discussion.

Send your annotation to your writing group and to me, via email, by midnight on Thursday, February 7 at midnight. Include a few sentences explaining why you annotated the passage the way you did.

Read the annotated passages members of your writing group send you. Then, send a brief reply to each, making observations about the annotations. Point out details you think are interesting. Suggest other interesting details. If you understand any of the details in a different way, mention that.

You may choose to make your notes directly on the page of your copy of the book. If you do this, you’ll have to scan the page so you can send it to the group. Alternatively, you may retype the passage and use a word-processing program or html to make your notes. You can use boldface, underline, colored text, etc. If you’re using a program like Microsoft Words, you can insert comments.

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