I have listed several elements to observe in order to write a good close reading. Through the processes of interrogating “so what” on these observations, you should be able to see how the text responds.
A technique that strictly speaking, refuses any hors texte (“outside the text”) in an interpretation (e.g., the author’s biography, cultural information). It is interrogatory, posing questions and addressing objections in order to see how the text responds. It asks and answers “how” a particular portion of the text works.
Subject: What is the text taking as its subject matter?
Claim: What judgement does the text make on its subject?
Purpose: What is the text’s purpose or effect, given its audience(s), stated or otherwise? This sets the text in context.
Tone: What tone does the text strike?
Diction: What can we say about the word choice? The specific word choice a writer makes can communicate a lot. Pay attention to whether the language is formal, euphemistic, familiar, sophisticated, or judgmental.