Close Reading Assignment

In this excerpt of “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”, Tiptree is describing the process of coming up with P. Burke’s new name. The word that caught my attention in the first paragraph was “always”. This word choice implies that the naming process is nothing new to Dr. Tesla. He is always dreading this part of the process. Made me wonder how many more times they had previously done this.

What also stuck out for me was the amount of people that were part of the naming process. The author points out that Dr. Tesla along with an astrologer, Joe and a semantics girl were all working on figuring out a name for P. Burke. Tiptree jumped from person to person rather quickly making it hard to stay caught up at first. Once I read it a second and third time I realized that she was referring to different people. They all had an opinion on P. Burke’s name except P. Burke. I found it interesting that they had an astrologer there, but I figure they wanted to have all their bases covered.

The fact that Tiptree used the word “gingerly” to describe how they finally decided on P. Burke’s name struck me a bit strange. The way I read this passage I thought it was a quick thing. I couldn’t imagine them being cautious and careful in picking this name. Though it does make sense that they would want to be considerate of the name they choose for her. It’s the name everyone will be saying, so I see that it is important. Having to close read this passage showed me that I missed things when I read it the first and even the second time.

– Julieta 

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3 responses to “Close Reading Assignment

  1. I too was caught by the use of the word “always” when referring to picking the name. Furthermore, Tiptree use of “messy” to describe the complexities of choosing a name, could point to the idea that they are selling a product, not only through Delphi, but in Delphi herself. They are attempting to create a brand, a name that would stand out and help sell their product. It is this complexity that gives Doctor Telsa “an acute pain in the bush”. By describing this pain as acute, I believe that Tiptree points to a direct and specific cause of that pain, not merely an overall disliking for the process of naming their product.

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  2. The word “gingerly” in this passage stuck out to me too. It’s not a very common word, which makes it even more interesting that Tiptree would decide to use it here. The origin of the word can be traced back to the Latin word “genitus” meaning well born, then into the Old French word “gent” meaning graceful. Upon finding the origin of “gingerly,” I think that is very appropriate that Tiptree chose to use this word here as these GDX employees seem very intent on choosing a name that embodies both well born and grace for P. Burke’s new body.

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  3. I too read this passage too quickly and thought they were just coming up with some name for the new girl so I think it was interesting that you brought up the point that a lot of thought actually went into creating her name. They were deciding on her name like a company would do to advertise their product or branding their company. The name actually was an important part of the whole process, and yet another thing P. Burke had no control over. I think it is also similar to how some celebrities today change their names to something memorable and short.

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