INFERENCE A guess based on clues Inferring Time and Place • Look for objects, example: telephone • Look at weather conditions • Look at style of clothing Point of View • Definition: How the author feels about an issue. Who is telling the story? • Clues: words, actions • Example: The kids were excited when they saw the snow, but the wife and I only groaned. Winter just means more headaches for me. That wet, heavy snow means a backache from shoveling the driveway. I might get stuck driving to work. We should move to Florida. • Point of view on snow? • From whose point of view is the paragraph written? Point of View • First of all, I was late enough for work to get old Ramsey all ticked off. Then Washington Street was all torn up for repairs, so I had to detour and don’t you think that doesn’t get the passengers all shook up. I must’ve explained that detour at least five hundred times. And rush hour— everybody in a sweat to get home. The last straw was this woman who’s so loaded down with groceries that she can’t get to her money. When I tell her to get a move, she just stares at me like some dummy. And then she finally pays the fare, all in pennies. Point of View • I knew the driver was the mean type when I got on the bus, but I didn’t know how mean until this woman and her little boy got on a few stops later. She was tired looking and a little sad, and the kid was crying and cranky. She was carrying two bags of groceries, so it was really hard for her to get the money out of her purse. It looked to me like she was hurrying as fast as she could, but I guess the driver didn’t think it was fast enough because he really got mad and yelled at her. I felt so sorry for her that I wanted to give her my seat. Point of View • The woman waited while her small son struggled up the high steps onto the bus. He was crying, and the woman looked overtired. Can waiting do that to a person? Waiting in doctors’ offices in unemployment lines, for the mail to bring a welfare check. She didn’t really care anymore. The boy could cry, the bus driver could yell. These were only minor irritations in the grand scheme of things. Tone—Author’s Attitude • Clues: choice of words • Imagine how these words would be said aloud • Examples: formal, informal, serious, matter-of-fact, sympathetic, sarcastic Examples of Tone • I love summer vacations. There’s always so much to do that you don’t have time for during the school year—like relaxing around the house or working outside and getting a nice suntan, for instance. You can sleep till noon if you want to, without having a nerve-shattering alarm clock jar you out of a sound sleep to go to school. Or you can get up early and go for a barefoot walk while the dew is still on the grass. • AUTHOR’S TONE? Author’s Tone • I love summer vacations. There’s so much to do that you don’t have time for during the school year—like hanging around the house watching the living-room carpet grow, for instance. Or mowing lawns and pulling weeds just for the fun of getting a sunburn and blisters on your blisters. It’s great! You can sleep till noon and get a gorgeous headache if you want to, or get up early and go for a walk while the pearly dew is still on the grass and catch triple pneumonia from getting your sneakers soaked. Tone • By the time I was ten years old I had mastery over all the big-time sports moves: the spit in the mitt; the fluid infield chatter; the three bounces and deep breath before a free throw. I went in for athletic clothes in a big way. I always looked good because, in truth, I wasn’t really good enough. I didn’t care enough about winning. Given a choice between winning and looking good, I always preferred looking good. • Tone? Clues? Mood—Reader’s attitude toward the subject, characters, or writer • How do you feel after reading a passage? – Mysterious, joyous, gloomy, depressing, peaceful • What makes you feel this way? – Author’s attitude and tone Mood • He was eating a sandwich hungrily. He had eaten nothing since morning. He had been too excited to eat. He finished the sandwich, and taking a flask from his pocket, he took a short sip. Then he returned the flask to his pocket. He paused for a moment, considering whether he should risk a smoke. It was dangerous. The flash might be seen in the darkness and there were enemies watching. He decided to take the risk. • Tone? Serious • Mood? Tense • Taken from ―The Sniper‖ Satire • Definition: Making fun of human weaknesses, poking fun at society in general. • Purpose: Correct or change the subject of the attack. • Clues: humor, exaggeration Satire Example—Dave Berry • URGENT TAXPAYER BULLETIN • The Federal Budget Surplus Crisis has become so bad that there is talk of letting you keep slightly more of your own money. That is correct: The government has been taking so much of your money that even Congress is having a hard time spending it all. Not that Congress isn’t trying! In fact, Congress, faced with the quick build-up of your money, has come up with some truly creative things to spend it on. My favorite is the Greyhound Bus Museum. Inferring the Future • What is the pattern? • What have characters done in the past? • Has anything changed? Infer the Future • I started out life as a pretty baby and learned to be a pretty girl from a pretty mother. Then at ten years of age I suffered one of the worst cases of chicken pox I have ever heard of. My entire body, including the inside of my ears and in between my toes, was covered with pustules which I scratched off my face, leaving permanent scars. A cruel school nurse told me I would always have them—tiny cuts that looked as if a mad cat had plunged its claws into my skin. I grew my hair long and hid behind it for the first years of high school. This is when I learned to be invisible. Situational Irony • Definition: The reader expects one result and something else happens. • Example: A family leaves for the beach on a hot sunny morning, but by the time they reach the beach, it is raining. Situational Irony • Last night I missed two free throws which would have won the game against the best team in the state. The farm town high school I play for is nicknamed the ―Indians‖, and I’m probably the only actual Indian to play for the team with such a mascot. This morning, I picked up the sports page and read the headline: ―Indians Lose Again‖. Go ahead and tell me none of this is supposed to hurt me very much. Verbal Irony • Definition: Saying the opposite of what is meant • Clues: Does the comment make sense in the context of the story? If not, it may be very irony. • Would the situation call for verbal irony?
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