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“ The answers you get from literature depends on the questions you pose.” - Margaret Atwood (Canadian Writer)

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Presentation on theme: "“ The answers you get from literature depends on the questions you pose.” - Margaret Atwood (Canadian Writer)"— Presentation transcript:

1 “ The answers you get from literature depends on the questions you pose.” - Margaret Atwood (Canadian Writer)

2 Preparation for Literary Essay Writing Determining Theme Creating a thesis based on theme Organizing the essay

3 Theme Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4qME64Sk xM

4 Determining Theme THEME is a reader’s speculation about the author’s intended purpose. Themes emerge from asking questions about topics (Question: What does the Shakespeare seem to say about “love” in Romeo and Juliet?) Themes are universal and timeless statements (Answer: Love is powerful force that can be rewarding but also destructive) Theme is revealed by elements of story: Conflicts (internal or external)Contrasting Characters Main Character changesMinor Characters SettingSubplots or Parallel Plots Symbolism/ MotifsImagery or Metaphor Symbolic characters - Romeo and Juliet The words of a minor character - Friar Lawrence External conflicts - between the Montagues and the Capulets)

5 Social Commentary Themes Social Commentary is the act of expressing an opinion or criticism on the nature of society. Whether it be about social conditions, cultural expectations, technology, economic circumstances, ethnicity, religion, education, the environment, or power, writers who engage in social commentary commonly seek to highlight problems in these areas, and to promote change.” First Big Question: What does the Khaled Hossieni seem to say about _____topic_____ in The Kite Runner ? Topics 1.Cultural Expectations: norms, traditions, laws 2.Religion and faith: expectations, values, interpretations, conscience 3.Race and ethnicity: prejudices, stereotypes, scapegoats 4.Power: leadership (positive and negative); within an individual, a friendship, a family, a society 5.Social Conditions: poverty, economic circumstance, barriers to success Second Big Question: How does the author reveal these themes to the reader? Extended Question: How is this theme applicable to today – self, society

6 Your Turn 1. Use your cue card to form help you to draw some conclusions about The Kite Runner’s themes. 2. Write three theme statements. 3. List points about how this theme is revealed to the reader

7 From Theme to Thesis Theme “ Love is powerful force that can be rewarding but also destructive” use of the symbolic characters, Romeo and Juliet, the words of a minor character, Friar Lawrence, the conflicts that exist between the Montagues and the Capulets Thesis: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare presents a common, but important lesson : “Love is powerful force that can be rewarding but also destructive”. This theme is revealed by Shakespeare’s use of the symbolic characters, the words and actions of a minor character, and the external conflicts that exist between the feuding families. Of note: -The theme/ thesis is meaningful -Suggestion of Organization -Clear and precise Language -- Parallel Structure -Active voice- Formal tone

8 Thesis Writing Thesis Statements Theme to thesis - stand OUTSIDE the work and analyze the author’s craft a) Lord of the Flies presents a social commentary on the individual in society. His novel suggests that humans are innately evil, and as a result, within a society or government, people will seek to fulfill their selfish needs. These views are revealed by looking closely at the characters of Jack, Roger, and Ralph. b) 1984 by George Orwell presents a social commentary on the corrupt power of Communism. He suggests that this form of government is controlling and oppressive which leads to a society that is rigid, stagnant, and emotionless. Orwell’s message is revealed through his use of symbolic words and characters. c) To Kill a Mockingbird is a social commentary on discrimination in the American South in the 1930s. Lee expresses the idea that fear of the unknown leads to a person’s feelings of socially superiority but she also suggests that change is possible. This timeless theme is reflected by the novel’s dual plot lines and can also be applied to contemporary society.

9 Weak Thesis Statements The Kite Runner has a lot of symbolism. The Kite Runner is about friendship. The Kite Runner is a bad novel.

10 Outline Broad Topic: Love Thesis: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare presents a common, but important lesson : “Love is powerful force that can be rewarding but also destructive”. This theme is revealed by Shakespeare’s use of the symbolic characters, the words and actions of a minor character, and the external conflicts that exist between the feuding families. Topic Sentence: Although Romeo and Juliet are often thought to be foolish teenagers who make a rash and tragic mistake, if the audience views them as being symbolic, they can gain a better understanding of the theme. Topic Sentence: Friar Lawrence acts as the voice of reason when it comes to love; however, his actions reflect the destructive nature of love. Topic Sentence: Finally, Shakespeare make his message about love clear through the external conflict that exists between the Montague and the Capulets. Their animosity permeates the play and leaves the audience with a lasting impression about the two sides to love. Quote #1Quote #2 Connect to thesis Quote #1Quote #2 Connect to thesis Quote #1Quote #2 Connect to thesis

11 Characteristics of GOOD writers A good writer… Establishes a clear purpose for writing thesis topic sentences Writes with the audience in mind the writing is engaging, thoughtful, insightful voice is appropriate for purpose cares about the audience’s understanding – uses transitions and links between ideas varies sentence lengths Uses interesting and meaningful vocabulary selects the best words to convey a thought Aims for clarity and accuracy with words and sentences use of active voice use parallel structure eliminate “clutter” – “low fat” writing Attends to details punctuation, quotations, grammar, spelling

12 Formal Essay Exemplar Life of Pi by Yann Martel


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