Pieces of rope that is intertwined with one another to show intertextuality.

Understanding Intertextuality

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In order to understand intertextuality, it is best to break the word into two parts. We can begin with inter. When I think of inter, the first word that comes to mind is intertwine. Intertwining requires different materials that have to be incorporated one another. So, looking at the word as a whole, it could be defined as using different texts to understand something. In Doug Eyman’s “Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice,” he refers to intertextuality as “multimedia compositions.” Using different forms of media to understand something is considered intertextuality! We use intertextuality everyday without even realizing it.

Examples of Intertextuality in Everyday Life

Children learn new things everyday. In order to learn how to read, you have to start with letters, letter sounds, and then begin to develop small words. As you get older and begin to read chapter books, you use the knowledge that you previously learned in order to understand more complex readings. Another good example is the use of memes. In order to understand a meme, you must understand the context as well as the photo. Without knowing both meanings, the meme doesn’t have meaning. It is mandatory to know both digits in order to understand the full meaning of the meme. Using previous text‘s to help you understand new material cal also be an example of intertextuality. For example, in order to take a final exam or complete a final project in class, it is crucial to use the material that was previously learned in the class.


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