AP English Literature & Composition Terms | SUBTEXT | 60second Recap®
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AP English Literature & Composition Terms | SUBTEXT | 60second Recap®

October 16, 2019

One word you’ll hear me use a lot—and one
word your English teachers will probably use, too—is subtext. The subtext on subtext … coming up. Let’s break this word down. Sub. Text. Sub,
as in, below or under. Text, as in, the words you’re reading in some interminable novel
or other. So, subtext is the meaning behind the words
on the page. You know, it’s like when that awkward or annoying
guy or girl asks if you want to hang out sometime. And you’re like, “Sure. Whatever.” But you
don’t really mean, “Sure. Whatever.” You mean, “No way” or “Um, NEVER!” “No way” or “Um, NEVER!” are the subtext! I know, I know. You’re not inside these authors’
heads. So how do you know what the subtext is? Think of it this way: Subtext is all about why. Why did the author choose to have these characters
act this way? Why did the author have this or that happen
in the plot? Why is the author banging me over the head
with this particular symbol? Asking why will help you get to that deeper
meaning. It’ll also make you look like the literary
genius you always knew you were.

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