Wednesday, September 01, 2010

For tomorrow's Ethics of Close-Reading class, we each have to write a "lexia" of our own from a passage of a text. This means that I have had to imitate Roland Barthes's S/Z style in close-reading a passage from... well, I chose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Garrett told us to "have fun" with the assignment, which he devised on the spot during class on Tuesday, and not to be "afraid of parodying Barthes." So I thought, why not take something utterly unacademic and attempt to make it into something incredibly academic?

Lupin was lowering his wand, gazing fixedly at Black. The professor walked to Black’s side, seized his hand, pulled him to his feet so that Crookshanks fell to the floor, and embraced Black like a brother. * Remus’ actions are all presented as very deliberate and decisive. The use of “was lowering” rather than merely “lowered” suggests that the act is done slowly, taking up more time. Such concentrated thought is characteristic of Remus Lupin in general (SEM. R.J. Lupin). ** “Gazing” not only cements the idea of how much time is passing, but also lends an air of admiration to the type of look Remus bestows upon Sirius. (HER. – What is the relationship between Remus and Sirius?) *** That Remus walks to Sirius’ “side,” rather than to the space directly in front of him, indicates both to poor, confused Harry and the reader that he is, both figuratively and literally, siding with him. Crookshanks falls to the floor as Remus succeeds him as Sirius’ closest ally (SYM. Loyalty). **** From “like a brother” we deduce that of course Sirius is not Remus’ actual brother. Though we receive a hint at the depth of the intimacy between the two with “like”, we still do not know the nature of it. In fact, the simile points us more directly towards the question of what type of relationship they had by specifying in a roundabout way what it was not (HER.- What is the relationship between Remus and Sirius?)

It's not very polished. I'm not sure you can have two of the same HER in one passage. Or that Loyalty is part of the Symbolic over the Semic. But this is what I've been doing for the past hour.