Finding theme in literature

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Finding theme in literature

  1. 1. Theme The Search for Meaning
  2. 2. What is a Theme? Theme (n): What a story teaches the reader or what a story gets a skilled reader to think about.
  3. 3. What is a Theme NOT? A theme is not just a word; it is a sentence or a question. Example of NOT a theme: appearance Example a theme: Don’t judge people based on their appearance.
  4. 4. What is a Theme NOT? A theme is not something you have to agree with and it is not something you need to know the answer to. Examples: - Money can’t buy happiness. - Is it better to live in slavery or die for freedom?
  5. 5. It's all about the type of story A Fable has an obvious theme:A Moral that is stated at the end Example: Slow and steady wins the race.
  6. 6. It's all about the type of story A myth, most movies, or a simple short story has a hidden theme: A life lesson that must be inferred from the ending. Example: Listen to your parents so you don’t get lost! Example: With great power comes great responsibility.
  7. 7. It's all about the type of story An Advanced Story/Novel has a complex theme: A question about human nature that is asked or explored throughout the work. Example: Can we (or our dogs) ever be completely civilized? Do our hardships make us stronger?
  8. 8. Practice 1.  We’ll read a few stories. 2.  In your binder on a lined piece of paper, write what you think the theme is. 3.  Then write a short sentence explaining what happens in the story that leads you to believe this.
  9. 9. Fable: Once there was a mean little boy who lived in a small village. This mean little boy loved to mess with people, so one day he ran up to a sheep herder and shouted, “WOLF! WOLF! A wolf is attacking the town!” The sheep herder grabbed his staff and ran to defend the town, but realized he had been fooled when the boy started pointing and laughing at him. “Ha ha! I made you jump,” said the boy. Then the boy ran up to a farmer and shouted, “WOLF! WOLF! A wolf is attacking the town!” The farmer grabbed his pitchfork and ran to defend the town, but when the boy started pointing and laughing at him, he realized he had been tricked. As the boy went back to his family’s farm laughing about the funny trick he played, he saw a real wolf in his father’s chicken coop. As the wolf ate all of his father’s chickens, the boy screamed over and over again, “WOLF! WOLF! Please help us!” But nobody believed him, so nobody came to help him … and that's why you should never cry wolf.
  10. 10. Simple Story: Angie loved to draw. She made colorful designs of people’s names with bright hearts & flowers, but she lost her own markers, so she borrowed her teacher’s. The school day was ending, but Angie wanted to keep coloring, so she took the teacher’s markers home and lost them in her messy room. She came back to school the next day and wanted to color again, so she asked the teacher for more markers. The teacher replied, “Sure, Angie, but this is my last pack.” Angie said she would be careful, but by the end of the day the markers were scattered all over the floor and the custodian swept them up and disposed of them. When Angie came in the next day, she asked the teacher for more markers, but she was disappointed to find that there weren’t any more. “I don’t know where all of my markers went,” said the teacher, “but I don’t have them.” Angie had to draw her pictures with drab pencils.
  11. 11. Complex Story: Marsha hated humanities class. She didn’t understand the novel they were reading, and not knowing how to do the work frustrated her. She asked the teacher for help, but he spoke so fast and used such big words that she still couldn’t understand. The teacher asked if she understood, and she nodded her head, but she didn’t. Marsha’s friend Henrieta was pretty good at humanities, so she helped. Henrieta explained things clearly and slowly, and Marsha was finally starting to “get it.” Later in the trimester, Henrieta was having trouble in math class. Marsha, who understood math very well, felt like she couldn't take the time to help her; she was too busy catching up in humanities. Henrieta ended up getting a D in math and a B in humanities; Marsha ended up getting an A in both classes.

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