Textual Analysis Exercise

Instructions: For this exercise, you are asked to analyze two passages from Andrew Solomon’s “Son” (each analysis should be one paragraph, a minimum of 250 words each). This will require you to analyze—that is, close-read or “unpack”—BOTH passages, separately, in order to clearly explain what meaning the language is specifically trying to establish and why this is important in relation to an important theme or concept from Solomon’s “Son.”

– Proofread carefully and cite all quotations using MLA bibliographic conventions (see the model TAEs and MLA Style guide for the simple stylistic conventions you need to be using).

Format: Copy and paste the passages into a word document and write your 250-300 word analysis under each one. To help focus your writing in your paragraphs, choose one theme or key concept for each that you think the passage illuminates and incorporate this theme or concept into your topic sentences for each paragraph (themes or key concepts might include: identity, imagination, conformity, etc).

Passage 1:

Long after childhood, I clung to childish things as a dam against sexuality. This willful immaturity was overlaid with an affected Victorian prudery, aimed not at masking but obliterating desire. I had some farfetched idea that I would be Cristopher Robin forever in the Hundred Acre Wood; indeed, the final chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh books felt so much like my story that I couldn’t bear to hear it, though I had my father read me all the other chapters hundreds of times. The House at Pooh Corner ends, “Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.” I decided that I would be that boy and that bear, that I would freeze myself in puerility, because what growing up portended for me was way too humiliating. (371)

Passage 2:

…While I might have had an easier life if I had been straight, I am now wedded to the idea that without my struggles, I would not be myself, and that I like being myself better than I like the idea of being someone else—someone I have neither the ability to imagine nor the option of being. …I used to think that I would be mature when I could simply be gay without emphasis. I have decided against this view-point, in part because there is almost thing about which I feel neutral, but more because I perceive those years of self-loathing as a yawning void, and celebration needs to fill and overflow it. (377)