Theme

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Theme

  1. 1. ThemeFeature Menu What Is Theme? Universal Themes Finding the Theme Making a Judgment Practice
  2. 2. What Is Theme?What makes a story linger in our hearts and mindslong after we’ve read it? Often it is the idea onwhich the story is built—its theme.
  3. 3. What Is Theme?Theme—the central idea, or insight, about life orhuman behavior that a story revealsLiving a simple life leads togreater personal freedom.The deepest loneliness issometimes felt when we areamong friends.Genres
  4. 4. What Is Theme?In most stories, the theme is not stated directly.Instead, it is revealed to us through the characters’experiences. [End of Section]
  5. 5. Universal ThemesDifferent writers from different cultures oftenexpress similar themes.• A theme is a generalization about life or human nature.• Certain types of experiences are common to all people everywhere.
  6. 6. Universal ThemesUniversal themes• come up again and again in literature• deal with basic human concerns—good and evil, life and death, love and loss• shine a light on our common experiences• can help guide us through our lives
  7. 7. Universal ThemesQuick CheckStories Match these familiar stories to the appropriateThe Little Red Hen universal theme.Beauty and the BeastThe Three Little Pigs A It pays to work hard and plan ahead.The Ugly DucklingThe Frog Prince B Appearances can be deceiving. [End of Section]
  8. 8. Universal ThemesQuick CheckStories Match these familiar stories to the appropriateThe Little Red Hen A universal theme.Beauty and the Beast BThe Three Little Pigs A A It pays to work hard and plan ahead.The Ugly Duckling BThe Frog Prince B B Appearances can be deceiving.
  9. 9. Finding the ThemeKeep the following guidelines in mind when youwant to find and state the theme of a work.The theme is not the same thing as thesubject.• The subject is simply the topic. It can be stated in a single word, such as loyalty.• The theme makes some revelation about the subject and should be expressed in a sentence: “Loyalty to a leader is not always noble.”
  10. 10. Finding the ThemeWriters often express theme through whattheir characters learn. • Does the main character change? • Does a character realize something he or she did not know before?
  11. 11. Finding the ThemeConflict helps reveal theme.• What is the conflict, or struggle between opposing forces, that the main character faces?• How is the conflict resolved?Conflict Resolution ThemeTwo friends find They return the People are oftena wallet. One wallet and share rewarded forfriend wants to a small reward. making thereturn it to the right moralowner; the other decision.wants to keep it.
  12. 12. Finding the ThemeSometimes the title gives clues.• Does the title have a special meaning?• Does it point to the theme?The theme applies to the entire work.• Test your statement of the theme. Does it apply to the whole work, not just to parts of it?
  13. 13. Finding the ThemeThere is no single way to state the theme.• People may express the same theme in different words.• There may be different opinions about what the main theme is.• The most meaningful literary works often have more than one theme.
  14. 14. Finding the ThemeQuick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, What is theUlrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One conflict and hownight they encounter each other on the is it resolved?disputed land. Each thinks of killing theother. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pinsthem both under its weight. What do the At first the men threaten each other. characters learn?After a while, however, they notice eachother’s suffering, make a pact offriendship, and look forward to beingrescued and living in peace. Then they areattacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki
  15. 15. Finding the ThemeQuick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, What is theUlrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One conflict and hownight they encounter each other on the is it resolved?disputed land. Each thinks of killing the Two men areother. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins fighting over athem both under its weight. piece of land. At first the men threaten each other. They put theAfter a while, however, they notice each feud behindother’s suffering, make a pact of them when theyfriendship, and look forward to being are both facingrescued and living in peace. Then they are possible death.attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki
  16. 16. Finding the ThemeQuick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, What do theUlrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One characters learn?night they encounter each other on the Survival is moredisputed land. Each thinks of killing the important thanother. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins land ownership.them both under its weight. Letting go of At first the men threaten each other. hatred feelsAfter a while, however, they notice each good.other’s suffering, make a pact offriendship, and look forward to beingrescued and living in peace. Then they areattacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki
  17. 17. Finding the ThemeQuick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, What is theUlrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One theme? (State itnight they encounter each other on the in a sentence.)disputed land. Each thinks of killing theother. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pinsthem both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other.After a while, however, they notice eachother’s suffering, make a pact offriendship, and look forward to beingrescued and living in peace. Then they areattacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki [End of Section]
  18. 18. Finding the ThemeQuick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, What is theUlrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One theme? (State itnight they encounter each other on the in a sentence.)disputed land. Each thinks of killing the If you wait untilother. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins tragedy strikesthem both under its weight. to make peace At first the men threaten each other. with yourAfter a while, however, they notice each enemies, youother’s suffering, make a pact of may not be ablefriendship, and look forward to being to enjoy therescued and living in peace. Then they are rewards ofattacked by wolves. forgiveness. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki
  19. 19. Making a JudgmentDon’t accept a story’s theme as valid just becausethe story is in print. Instead, ask yourself: • Is this story’s view of life too simplistic? Too idealistic? Too cynical? • Is the writer trying to push an idea that does not reflect real life?Formula Fiction
  20. 20. Making a JudgmentQuick CheckTrue love solves all of life’s Classify eachproblems. theme as either valid or not valid. Explain your choices.People who have a lot of money orpower are sometimes greedy formore.People who do good deeds will behappy and will not suffer. [End of Section]
  21. 21. Making a JudgmentQuick CheckTrue love solves all of life’s Classify eachproblems. theme as either not valid valid or not (too idealistic) valid. Explain your choices.People who have a lot of money orpower are sometimes greedy formore. valid (true to life)People who do good deeds will behappy and will not suffer. not valid (too idealistic)
  22. 22. Practice Think of a story Title:you’ve read that had animpact on you. Then, use Topic:a map like the one here to • How the mainhelp you figure out the character changes:story’s theme. Compare • How the conflict isyour map with the ones resolved:your classmates made. Did • What the titleyou and any of your suggests:classmates map storieswith similar themes? Theme: [End of Section]
  23. 23. The End
  24. 24. What Is Theme?GenresThemes are also important toother genres, or forms ofliterature, such as novels, plays,poems, and even nonfictionworks.
  25. 25. Making a JudgmentFormula fiction• is written to a plan• satisfies a general preference for upbeat stories over true-to-life onesBe on the lookout for formula fiction. Learn tomake your own critical judgments about thefiction you read.

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