Noughts and Crosses: sub-text

Noughts and Crosses: sub-text

Sub-Text Definition and Importance

  • Sub-text in ‘Noughts and Crosses’ refers to the underlying and implied meanings portrayed through the dialogue, actions, and emotions of the characters, which are not overtly stated.
  • Understanding the sub-text in ‘Noughts and Crosses’ is crucial to perform the play effectively. The actors must convey not only the literal words but also the hidden meanings, themes, and emotions.
  • Sub-text helps to make performances rich and layered, contributing depth to the characters, driving the plot, and generating emotional responses from the audience.

Sub-Text Themes in ‘Noughts and Crosses’

  • The play’s sub-text is largely revolving around racial segregation, discrimination, and interracial relationships. It portrays an alternate version of a modern-day society where dark-skinned ‘Crosses’ hold the power, and white-skinned ‘Noughts’ are marginalised.
  • Sub-text raises silent questions about prejudice, racism, control and power, by spotlighting the struggles faced by the ‘Noughts’ and how it affects their identity, behaviour and relationships.
  • The complicated relationship between Sephy and Callum is a sub-textual element carrying the theme of forbidden love, showcasing the effects of societal pressures on personal relationships.
  • Don’t forget that sub-text is often connected with the themes in the play. Therefore, understanding the main themes in ‘Noughts and Crosses’ such as racism, power, and love can help you understand the sub-text.

Revealing Sub-Text through Characters

  • Sub-text is often revealed through characters’ actions and reactions. For instance, Callum, a ‘Nought’, being reluctant to partake in certain activities reveals his feelings of oppression and the societal segregation.
  • Sephy represents racial superiority, and her actions and behaviours, especially towards Callum, give an insight into the sub-textual racial divide. Her internal conflict is a significant sub-text, representing the battle between societal norms and her personal beliefs.

Analysing Sub-Text in Revision

  • Paying attention to stage directions, dialogues, character’s internal thoughts, reactions to different situations and conflicts within the scene will help in better understanding and interpreting the sub-text.
  • As you revise, try analysing scenes from ‘Noughts and Crosses’, identifying the sub-text, and thinking about how it can be portrayed through performance. Create different scenarios to understand how sub-text changes the meaning and interpretation of the scene.