Monday, September 27, 2004 WRT105
With the group at your table, produce a brief guide on interpretation.
Your guide will serve an audience of peers (others who are working
with the Homeland (In)Securities sequence). It will:
- consist of 5-10 (no more than 15) edicts, commands or instructions
related to interpretation, addressing the basic points suggested by
Rosenwasser and Stephen. You may number them if you choose.
- reflect a team or group reading of all of chapter three, from pp.
37-52 (note: pp. 42-52 was assigned reading for today; in your group,
you will work through the first five pages together). What do R&S
want you to do when you interpret a text?
- refer to a single, recurrent illustration or example to elaborate
confusing points. Use a spatial example that could, hypothetically,
serve as a site for analysis in essay two.
This is an exercise in summary and close reading. It will require you
to shift conceptually between texts and spaces as readable or inferential.
You should share the group's workload by assigning specific group members
to specific sections of the chapter and, as well, by managing your time
carefully. Email your work to dmueller -at- syr.edu before the end of
the hour, and ask any questions you have as they come up. Your guides
will be published on our course web site.
Notes from class:
Text: anything that can be read (in the broadest sense of reading)--visual,
spatial, literary, rhetorical, graphical, auditory/musical. All texts
are subject to interpretation framed by analytical processes.
parsimony (49) - simple can be most effective
Ashley, Adrienne, Fiona, Frank, Dan
Guide to interpretations
1. When you find something strange or interesting think about why
is it strange or interesting.
EX: The statues of the naked men shooting arrows in the quad is both strange
and interesting. It is strange or interesting because it is something
that does not fit in with the educational buildings and why are they shooting
arrows? Why is it there? It is interesting because there is so much unknown
about it when you first see it?
2. When something strikes you as significant, think about how what it
EX: The Carrier Dome is a significnt structure. It signifies school spirit
around the school community.
Hidden meanings, Reading between the lines.
3. Say you are walking across the quad or are sitting in class. You see
people left and right, dressed in sweats and pajamas. Ask yourself why
that person is really wearing the sweats or pajamas. Is it because they
rolled out of bed late? Did they just finish working out at the gym? Do
they not care about what they are wearing and just wish to be comfortable?
4. Interpretive analysis should never generalize any topic or itme that
is being interpreted. the analyst describe what is seen, and not what
is percieved. Dont brush over lightly things in interpretations.
Basically, when one interprets a text, one should always keep in mind
the relativity and relationship that the interpretation has with the text.
Dont jump to conclusions pr prejudge the meaning of a text.
5. Using "Mulitple meanings and interpretive contexts" to interpret
SU buildings. For example, te John Crouse Memorial Hall serves different
purposes and students go there for a number of reasons. In the past, the
hall is a college for women. Nowadays, some students see it as a music
school; some students or maybe parents see it as a place for concerts.
This is an interpretation by jus taking the name of the building.
Saidi, Alexa, Lee Anne
1) Meanings are made through the relationship between the text and the
2) Evidence is needed in order to make a meaning valid.
3) There is more than one interpretation, always.
4) The readers experiences and backgrounds lead to how they interpret
a work; everyone has different views.
5) When searching for a meaning, do not overanalyze, but do search for
hidden meanings. At the root of indirect communication lies metaphor.(47).
Metaphor is prevalent in todays language.
6) The Fortune Cookie School of Interpretation says that things
have a single hidden meaning and there is no room for multiple meanings.
The fortune cookie approach forecloses on the possibility of multiple
plausible meanings, each within its own context.(48)
7) The Anything Goes School is the opposite because it states
that all interpretations work because each person has their own thoughts
and ideas; evidence is not crucial to backing a persons thoughts
or viewpoints. 8) Only use evidence that is essential to supporting your
claim, basically watch the fluff (parsimony).
9) Making inferences is used to describe your personal thinking process,
whereas implications describe something suggested by the material itself.
Interpretation- A theory, a hypothetical explanation of what something
A spatial example that demonstrates these points is the dorm housing
on the border of the campus, closest to the city. According to R &
S, we cant make claims about this area without first hand experiences.
Many people come to conclusions about this area from reading newspaper
articles. However, we cannot jump to conclusions because we do not know
if the evidence is valid (i.e. what theyre saying might be over
exaggerated, sources could be wrong, or their opinions could be biased).
Its very important to draw your own inferences because your background
and individual thoughts would lead to your own personal interpretation
of the area.
Mahalia, Missy, Elda, Cristina
1. Meanings must be reasoned from sufficient evidence, and have to make
sense to other people.
2. Evidence could support more than one interpretation, depending on context.
3. Notice prompt words: interesting, strange, significant, revealing;
ask yourself, what do these words do.
4. Begin to formulate and lay out possible interpretations.
5. Ask yourself, "So what?", and "Why does this matter?"
6. Make observations from the text.
7. Move beyond patterns and try to come to conclusions about what these
observations suggest; don't generalize.
8. Read between the lines/read into-don't just use direct communication
9. Don't assume a single context, or limit yourself to one interpretation.
10. Look for omissions and ask yourself why it was omitted.
11. What details repeat, are there repetitions?
12. the better interpretations have more evidence and rational explanation
of how the evidence means what they claim.
13. Organize contrast s and comparisons.
14. Tone and context relay messages as well.
Annie, Andrew, Lisa, Allie, Jennifer
1. Identify the mood of the piece that you want to convey
2. Observe the spatial surroundings
3. What areas are more significant than others
4. Notice the oddities rather than the normal
5. Analyze hidden meanings
6. So what? Why is this important?
The quad has both positive and negative components to its size and location
on campus. Its used differently during weekdays and weekends. On weekdays
people study, rush to classes, and catch up on some sleep before they
head to their next class. During weekends, it becomes a place of entertainment
and social activities such as movies, sports, and tanning. The lawn can
create problems for those trying to get to class because of its large
size, making them late, but on weekends its largeness provides a lot of
open space to all of its students. It can be looked at as a place of security
because its a central location surrounded by strong buildings. Although
at night, when people have dispersed from the quad, it becomes unsafe
because it is dark and open. The center point of pathways are more important
than the grassy patches because it is a place of convergence. The quad
can represent the campus of Syracuse because it is a large university
with many different people who attend. The pathways are a symbol for how
the students come from different backgrounds and locations, and the quad
is where we all congregate and share a central location. The quad makes
Syracuse an attractive campus and is the one of the major pieces people
take with them when they leave. Without the quad, Syracuse would lack
the typical university feel and lose some of its luster.
Key-words to think about when analyzing:
2. Mood of the piece (exciting, interesting)
3. Significant 4. Interpret
7. Origins of the ideas
8. Hidden meanings (reading between the lines)
9. So what?
10. Making inferences
11. explicit vs. implicit