Read over the chapter in which the passage is found. Try to
determine if the chapter forms a section or if it is part of
a greater section.
Look at the texttype of the passage at hand. Ask if it is
narrative, procedural, hortatory, persuasive, or expository.
Ask if it has characteristics of any special genr‚.
Mark up the verbs on a copy of the passage with different
color pens or markers, using a different color for each
tense or mood. Try to determine what tenses or moods might
be used for foreground material and what might be used for
Summarize in a topic sentence the paragraph in which the
passage is found. Repeat for any larger paragraphs or
sections of which this paragraph is a part. Determine how
this passage relates to these topic sentences or thesis
Analyze the paragraph structure and roles down to the sentence
level by doing a constituent structure analysis. Determine
how many levels of paragraphs your passage is embedded in
and the relationship of your passage to the central thesis.
Look for structures of chiasm, cycles, inclusio, and
Determine whether your passage is in a main part of the
discourse, such as the inciting incident, the climax, or
dénounment. Ask whether this affects the grammar.
Track any participants and look for patterns among noun and
pronoun usage. Chart this if necessary.
Look for quotations, allusions, and parallels from/with other
Review your findings and try to determine what relevance any
of these factors might have on meaning. Pay special
attention to the relationship between your passage and the
various contexts in which it is found (paragraph, greater
paragraph, section, whole discourse).