Theme Warm Up: In complete sentences, tell me everything you already know about theme.
Understanding Theme • The theme of a story is its central message, a discovery of truth about life and the human experience. • Theme is a full statement, not just one word. • Theme is usually not stated directly. It is inferred or discovered through reading. • Theme is not a summary of the plot or a statement of the topic. • Every story could have multiple themes, but there is usually one main theme.
Finding Theme • How has the main character changed over the course of the story? • What has he/she discovered by the end? • What parts are most important? Why? • What is the story’s title? Does it reveal anything special?
Examples of Theme Statements • Friends are not always trustworthy. • Appearances can be deceiving. • Happiness is only real when shared. • Love, when taken to extremes, can be either positive or negative. • In sports, winning is not the only thing that matters. • Greed causes problems that leave us with less than we had. • Be happy with what you have; don’t compare yourself to others.
Topic, Plot Summary, or Theme? • A family travels to Alabama and faces hardships along the way. • Prejudice. • Facing your fears is the only way to overcome them. • Plot Summary • Topic • Theme
Topic, Plot Summary, or Theme? • Love • A boy and girl fall in love even though their parents are enemies. • Unresolved conflict leads to disaster. • Topic • Plot Summary • Theme
The Oak and the Reeds A very large oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.” They replied, “You fight and contend with the win, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.”
The Oak and the Reeds • Topic? • Plot Summary? • Theme? • Plants • An oak tree is surprised the weeds aren’t hurt by the wind like him. • Be flexible to succeed.
Touching Spirit BearTheme Activity • Read the excerpt from Touching Spirit Bear. • While reading, keep a double entry journal: on one side, quote important moments in the text. On the other, list potential themes related to those moments. • On a sheet of paper, first write a summary of the plot. (Remember Somebody, Wanted, But, So) • Next, write a theme statement. Defend your statement with examples from the text. • Finally, explain an experience from your own life that shows how you connect with this theme or write what you could learn from it.