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Text and Subtext: Drawing Inferences

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Bernice Thompson

on 18 February 2014

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Transcript of Text and Subtext: Drawing Inferences

The Art of Reading Between
the Lines

Text and Subtext: Drawing Inferences
Do Now
"What a big burden to put on the shoulders of a child." (Kristina Ward - Facebook)
Ruby Bridges Hall
Background Information:

As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Only one person agreed to teach Ruby and that was Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, "as if she were teaching a whole class." Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her;[7] because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges said "scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us." At her mother's suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks.

Using the worksheet and quote, state what the text and subtext means.
What is Subtext
This is the meaning or message that you can take from the words.

This is the analytical part.

You need to infer and use clues that the author has given in order to understand what the author is trying to say.


What I meant was: The spaghetti was a little dry , but still edible. I don't want to say that though because I don't want to hurt your feelings, so I'll just say something neutral about the spaghetti.
Why do writers leave
information to be inferred?
Writers see their readers as smart!

Writers want their readers to think!

Writers want their writing to be exciting and interesting!
What I say.

What I read.

On the very surface.
What is Text
Text is the
meaning of the words


The spaghetti was okay.
Can't they just say exactly what they mean?
Let's Try Out Some Text and Subtext to Make Inferences!
- Think of your favorite joke! It can be hilarious, corny or cheesy, but it needs to be appropriate for school!

- Write it down on your dry erase board.

- When you have finished writing, turn and tell your joke to a neighbor (or me!)

- Think quietly about what makes a joke funny and what spoils a funny joke.
Here's a Comic in Case You Cannot Remember a Joke
- Why are they laughing?

-What do you need to know about Garfield to get
the joke?

What should you do if you have trouble figuring out the subtext?
1) Gather more background knowledge.

2) Go back and re-read.

3) Look for clues you may not have noticed earlier.
Check Your Understanding
1) What is the difference between text and subtext?

2) What is an inference?

Terrorist Attacks
More than 3,000 people were killed, thousands more were wounded, and the loss of
property was unprecedented in the worst terrorist attack in history. The events horrified
people around the world who understood that two symbols of American global financial
and military dominance had been singled out in a carefully planned and executed mission
of destruction. The event was immediately compared to the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor in 1941.

—Civilization in the West, Fifth Edition, by Mark Kishlansky,
Patrick Geary, and Patricia O’Brien

"The events horrified people around the world who understood two symbols of American global financial and military dominance had been singled out in a carefully planned and executed mission of destruction."
Using your worksheet and quote, state what the text and subtext means.
You Try!
“I want to be in fifth grade again. Now, that is a deep dark secret, almost as big as the other one. Fifth grade was easy -- old enough to play outside without Mom, too young to go off the block. The perfect leash length.”

― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
You try again!
“There is nothing wrong with me. These are really sick people, sick that you can see.”

― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
Choose Your Own Quote
1) On you own, choose a quote from any source you may like. Options include:

- Novels from English Class
- Articles we have read in Resource Room
- Comics/jokes
- Global or U.S. History textbooks

2) Use your text/subtext worksheet to fill in your quote

3) Explain the text

4) Explain the subtext

5) Once complete, share your work with another person and hand in your sheet.
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