Annotation Experience- A Second Look
My experience from the first time reading and annotating Michael Erard’s essay “See Through Words” to the second time through was completely different. While I initially agreed with Erard on many of his points in my first annotations, rereading and looking with a deeper eye allowed me to better analyze and unveil what Erards essay was really getting at. Like many first readthroughs, my instincts were to trust the author, they were not to question if his ideas were valid or reasonable. Examples of annotations from the first glance at “See Through Words” included short phrases such as “interesting point”, “I never thought of this”, and “great example”. After taking a step further towards understanding, my comments in my second round of annotations switched to phrases including, “but could this cause confusion?”, “should this need to happen?”, and even “too many examples”. From my first glance to a deeper understanding, I automatically began to question more and more points and whether Erards opinions really matched what I believe to be true or false. A major way my mind shifted was regarding how many examples Erard was providing in his essay. It is easy to say that the more examples, the better. However, in this case, the excess examples began to generate more confusion than clarity. Less really is more. If Erard was able to stick to 2 or 3 strong examples I believe his essay would benefit greatly and prevent any further confusion to a topic that is already confusing enough to the general audience.
The strategy of ‘glossing the text’ was beneficial because it created more clarity to the text. Even though I was able to read the text without needing to understand the exact meaning of a word like “provocation”, after searching on Dictionary.com a more accurate and descriptive definition of the word provided a much more clear image of what the essay was trying to explain. Although I was able to understand a general sense of the word from the sentences surrounding it, from what I initially would assume meant “to make do”, to really knowing it means “something that incites or instigates“, glossing the text created a much deeper picture and understanding in my mind. Glossing the text may not be the most important part of reading an essay, but in the end, it will further your comprehension as an active reader that much more than if it were a skipped step in the process.