Theme What is it and why do we need to know it?
Theme • Think of theme as a universal truth that the writer is trying to convey through their work. • This is a statement that is not always a lesson or moral, but is more often just a message or viewpoint of the human experience. • A central message, concern, or insight into life expressed through a literary work • Can be expressed by one or two sentence statement about human beings or about life
Theme vs. Subject • Theme and subject are NOT the same thing. Let’s look at the difference: • Subject: this is simply what the reading passage is about. • Example: Racing • Theme: this is what the author has experienced or wants the reader to experience or realize. • Example: Slow and steady wins the race.
Finding Theme • Writers also express theme through what the characters learn. • Does the main character change? • Does a character realize something he or she did not before?
Finding Theme • Conflict also helps to reveal theme • What is the conflict that the main character faces? • How is that conflict resolved? CONFLICT RESOLUTION THEME
Finding Theme • Sometimes the title gives you clues: • Does the title have special meaning? • Remember that the theme applies to the entire work! • Test your statement of theme. Does it apply to the whole work or just a part?
Practice: Because of a feud over a piece of land, Ulrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One night they encounter each other on the disputed land. Each thinks of killing the other. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins them both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other. After a while, however, they notice each other’s suffering, make a pact of friendship, and look forward to being rescued and living in peace. Then they are attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki
Practice: • What is the conflict and how is it resolved? • Two men are fighting with each other. They are feuding over a piece of land. They put the feud behind them when they were both facing possible death. • What do the characters learn? • Survival is more important than land ownership. Letting go of hatred feels good.
Practice: What is the theme? (state it in a sentence) If you wait until tragedy strikes to make peace with your enemies, you may not be able to enjoy the rewards of forgiveness.
Let’s make this a little easier… Which of the following themes fit The Beauty and the Beast? • It pays to work hard and plan ahead. • Appearances can be deceiving. • Loyalty to a leader is not always noble. • The deepest loneliness is sometime when around friends.
Let’s try that again… • Which of the following themes fit The Three Little Pigs? • It pays to work hard and plan ahead. • Appearances can be deceiving. • Loyalty to a leader is not always noble. • The deepest loneliness is sometime when around friends.
Okay, here is one more… • The theme, loyalty to a leader is not always the most noble thing, fits which of the following stories? • Little Red Riding Hood • Chicken Little • Robin Hood • The Ugly Duckling
Your Turn… • Now you are going to get into groups of three. • In your groups you are going to read a children’s book from the table and as a group you will write the information on the chart: • Well, line up…