Framing Activity (Group)

Framing Exercise –respond to this short story in an effort to articulate how leaving out significant details of a story creates misunderstanding (as in this case) and, oftentimes, injustice. Students will work in their groups on the this activity.


Once there was a man who was known in his town for creating confusion and drama wherever he went. He seemed to enjoy stirring up trouble…often. One day, he was visiting his newly married cousin. She was so happy! All she could talk about was how wonderful her husband was; how perfect he was; how amazing he was. She waxed on and on and finally noticed that her cousin was just staring at the floor. “What’s the matter?” she asked. He replied, “Well, I don’t know how to tell you this.” “What?” she said. “Oh, nothing,” said her cousin, who was looking very sad. She pressured him to tell her what was on his mind, but he just kept shaking his head. Finally, she exploded with anger and threatened to throw him out of her house. The man apologized and then said, “Yesterday, I saw your husband walking down the street with his arm around another woman. They didn’t see me, and I saw him kiss her.” At first she didn’t believe what her cousin was saying, but he convinced her that he was telling the truth. She was devastated and began to cry. Her cousin left and, well, the damage was done. Too bad her cousin the troublemaker didn’t tell say that the woman her husband was kissing was his mother.


Activity: Think of at least one example where omission of information has changed the meaning of the story. For example, they might think about a story of which they have firsthand knowledge (like how children might describe an argument at school). Or, they may want to work with something from current events or history—how something has been presented within educational systems where pertinent information has been omitted, and how that informs perceptions. They may see how those limited perceptions have directed policy and/or law (e.g. history lessons as they are taught in school in terms of what is included and what is omitted).