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Close reading essays

Passage one

[Mouse's Nest]

I found a ball of grass among the hay
And progged it as I passed and went away;
And when I looked I fancied something stirred,
And turned again and hoped to catch the bird—
When out an old mouse bolted in the wheats
With all her young ones hanging at her teats;
She looked so odd and so grotesque to me,
I ran and wondered what the thing could be,
And pushed the knapweed bunches where I stood;
Then the mouse hurried from the craking brood.
The young ones squeaked, and as I went away
She found her nest again among the hay.
The water o’er the pebbles scarce could run
And broad old cesspools glittered in the sun.

John Clare


Approaching the close reading essays

  • These essays should not be submitted through Tabula. Submit directly to tutors in seminars in hard copy in Week 9.
  • The essays should be between 800 and 1000 words
  • They are close reading exercises. We have created a guide to close reading here to help you approach the assignment.