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Theme and Tone Lesson 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Theme and Tone Lesson 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theme and Tone Lesson 1

2 “American Hero” by Essex Hemphill
I have nothing to lose tonight. All my men surround me, panting, as I spin the ball above our heads on my middle finger. It’s a shimmering club light and I’m dancing, slick in my sweat. Squinting, I aim at the hole fifty feet away. I let the tension go. Shoot for the net. Choke it. I never hear the ball slap the backboard. I slam it through the net. The crowd goes wild for our win. I scored thirty-two points this game and they love me for it. Everyone hollering is a friend tonight. But there are towns, certain neighborhoods where I’d be hard pressed to hear them cheer if I move on the block.  

3 Theme As you already know, theme is the general insight into life conveyed by the author through his/her work. It does not make a judgment. example: “Don’t do drugs” is not a theme. It merely states something that is true to life and the human condition. Ask yourself: What is the poet trying to say about life?

4 Theme of “American Hero”
Sometimes people are appreciated for their talents and not as a person. The crowd likes the player while he is scoring points on the court, but they would not want to be his friend off the court. Racism: Some people can’t see past the color of someone’s skin. Discrimination is a big part of the world we live in.

5 Tone Tone is the attitude of the speaker toward the subject of the poem Tone and mood are two different aspects of a poem! Tone is the author's or the poet's attitude towards his or her subject. Therefore, the tone in this poem would be how Hemphill feels about the game of basketball and the fans. The tone seems to be bitter and resentful since the fans are so shallow.

6 Tone vs. Mood Mood is how the poem makes the reader or the listener feel. For example, at the beginning of the poem, the mood is excited and elevated as the speaker plays ball and scores points. But, the mood becomes more somber and serious towards the end of the poem as the reader discovers the superficiality of the fans’ cheering.

7 Background The meaning of a poem is the experience it expresses—nothing less. But readers who, baffled by a particular poem, ask perplexedly, “What does it mean?” are usually after something more specific than this. They want something they can grasp with their minds. For instance, when Dickinson writes, “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died;” we can state that she’s talking about the imminent death of an individual; but the idea, or theme, behind the poem, involves the issue of mortality. Tone, in literature, may be defined as the writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward the subject, the reader, or herself or himself. It is the emotional coloring, or the emotional meaning, of the work and is an extremely important part of the full meaning. Many of Dickinson’s poems deal with the theme of death, but her tone can vary from one poem to the other.

8 Discussion Silently read “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died,” “Because I could not stop for Death” and “Apparently with no surprise”. Next to each poem, in one sentence, describe the experience that Dickinson is writing about. Could this be the theme? Next, look at the tone. In the three poems is the tone similar or different? Describe the tone.

9 “I heard a Fly buzz” by Emily Dickinson
I heard a fly buzz when I died; The stillness round my form Was like the stillness in the air Between the heaves of storm. The eyes beside had wrung them dry, And breaths were gathering sure For that last onset, when the king Be witnessed in his power. I willed my keepsakes, signed away What portion of me I Could make assignable,-and then There interposed a fly, With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, Between the light and me; And then the windows failed, and then I could not see to see.

10 “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I had put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility. We passed the school, where children strove At recess, in the ring; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. Or rather, he passed us; The dews grew quivering and chill, For only gossamer my gown, My tippet only tulle. We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound. Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses' heads Were toward eternity.

11 “Apparently with no surprise” by Emily Dickinson
To any happy flower, The frost beheads it at its play, In accidental power. The blond assassin passes on. The sun proceeds unmoved, To measure off another day, For an approving God.

12 “Out, Out—” By Robert Frost

13 On Turning Ten By Billy Collins

14 Poetic Riddle Redux Writing Exercise

15 Try writing your own poetic riddle again
Try writing your own poetic riddle again. Our theme will be “growing up” so you can write a riddle about anything that has to do with growing older. The tone should be humorous. Make the riddle 4-8 lines long; type it up along with the answer and bring it along to class next period.

16 Homework Create your Prezi account. Play around a bit with the tools to begin familiarizing yourself with the technology. Read your assigned poem that you will be using on your Prezi presentation. Begin researching your assigned poet at 2. To turn in next class period: A screen print proving you created a Prezi account The biography of your poet printed off from

17 Prezi Screen Shot Open Microsoft Word or PowerPoint
Have the screen open at Prezi where you have created your account Click on “Insert” in Word or Powerpoint Select “Screenshot” and choose the window in the browser with Prezi open Click on the window. Enlarge image as needed and print off. Make sure to include your name

18 For Example…





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