Text as Evidence
Make a claim about the text. This may be a story element, author’s craft, or type of connection.
Give the context of this quote. Answer questions about the Ws. Who? When? Where? What is happening? Why?
Warrant: Connect the evidence to your claim. How does the text prove what you say is true about the text?
The Watsons Go to Birmingham---1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
“Well, a lot of times it’s going to be the way of the world for you kids. Byron is getting old enough to have to understand that his time for playing is running out fast. He’s got to realize the world doesn’t have a lot of jokes waiting for him. He’s got to be ready” (123)
What does this quote reveal? It tells the reader about the time period, the setting of the novel. Most importantly it shows two important conflicts.
At this point in the novel, Kenny and his dad, Daniel Watson, are having a private conversation about the parents’ decision to take Byron down to Birmingham to spend time with Grandma Sands. Kenny is a bit worried about this upcoming change. His dad is trying to make him feel better.
The large conflict is clear. The “way of the world” is that there is prejudice, particularly at young black males in 1963. Byron has not been willing to face how serious this is. The time for fun and games is over, but he is still not facing the reality of this prejudice or what he needs to do to secure a safe future.
The other important conflict is between father and son, or parents and child. Byron is causing his parents worry. He is also disrupting the family, putting himself in danger and providing a negative role model for Kenny. The reader knows that the mom and dad’s decision is not an easy one. They have given Byron lots of chances, but they have to do the tough thing because that’s what good parents do to protect their children.