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Presentation on theme: "RESPONSE to LITERATURE Analyzing a Theme TAKE NOTES."— Presentation transcript:


2 To analyze means to break down a topic into smaller parts and determine how the parts relate to one another.

3 Sportswriters are often asked to analyze sporting events.

4 For example, a baseball writer may break down a particular game according to three main parts – fielding, pitching, and hitting – and then determine how each part contributed to a team’s overall performances.

5 Objective Analyze the theme or main point of a short story.

6 You will base your essay on a close examination of two key elements – the plot (key events) and characterization (the thoughts and actions of the main character).

7 Writing Guidelines Subject:A short story Form:Essay Purpose:To analyze a theme Audience: Classmates

8 Writing Warm-Up: Finding Themes

9 In literature, the theme is usually a lesson learned or a statement about life.

10 Sometimes the theme is openly stated in the story but more often it is not.

11 In some long pieces of literature, there may be more than one significant theme.

12 One way to think about literary themes is to consider lessons that are often learned from experience.

13 For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch learns not to prejudge people.

14 Study the following cluster of life lessons. Some of these lessons are familiar proverbs.

15 Life Lessons It is better to give than receive. Never give up on a dream. People are responsible for their own actions. Hard work pays off. Look before you leap. Silence is golden. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

16 Writing an Analysis Paragraph

17 You can analyze the theme of a short story in one paragraph.

18 In the topic sentence, name the title, author, and theme of the story.

19 In the body sentences, focus on the actions of the main characters.

20 In the closing sentence, explain how these actions reveal the theme.


22 Gift Giving

23 The theme of “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry is love means making sacrifices. The main character’s actions and decisions support this theme. A husband and wife named Jim and Della want to give each The topic sentence introduces the author, the story, and the theme.

24 other a special holiday gift, even though they are poor. Della wants to give Jim a gold chain for his gold watch, and Jim wants to give Della a set of expensive combs for her beautiful, long hair. Jim and Della both sacri- The sentences in the body focus on the main characters’ actions.

25 fice something they treasure. Della’s prized possession is her hair, but she has it cut and sells it to a wig maker so she can afford to buy a gold chain for Jim’s watch. Jim’s prized possession is his gold The sentences in the body focus on the main characters’ actions.

26 watch, but he sells it to buy Della special combs for her hair. When they open their gifts, each of them realizes the sacrifice that the other has made. In the end, their best gift is knowing that they love each other The closing sentence analyzes the theme.

27 so much that they would sacrifice their prized possessions for one another.

28 Understanding Your Goal

29 Your goal is to write an essay that analyzes a short story in order to reveal its main theme. The following chart lists the key traits of such an essay.


31 IDEAS Write a thesis statement that explains your interpretation of theme of the story. Then select specific details to support the statement.

32 ORGANIZATION Write clear beginning, middle, and ending paragraphs. Use transitions to effectively connect sentences and paragraphs.

33 VOICE Sound interested in, and knowledgeable about, the story you are analyzing.

34 WORD CHOICE Quote words and phrases from the story that support the theme. Use literary terms that reveal your understanding of the story.

35 SENTENCE FLUENCY Write sentences that read well and flow smoothly.

36 CONVENTIONS Correct all punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar errors.

37 6 ideas The ideas show a complete understanding of the reading. 5 The essay has a clear focus statement and necessary supporting details. Organization All the parts work together to create an insightful essay. Voice The voice expresses interest and complete understanding. It engages the reader. Word Choice The word choice reflects careful thinking about the reading. Sentence Fluency The sentences in the essay make the ideas really stand out. Conventions Grammar and punctuation are correct, and the copy is free of all errors.


39 1. Select an interesting story, one that you have recently read and enjoyed.

40 2. Identify a main theme in the story.

41 3. Looking at the beginning, middle, and ending of the story, find the key plot events and the characters’ actions that reveal the main theme.

42 4. Write a clear thesis statement about the theme.

43 5. Decide how to organize the information in your middle paragraphs.

44 6. Write a topic sentence for each middle paragraph.

45 Prewriting:Find topic ideas. Prewriting: Find topic ideas. A graphic organizer like the following ideas chart can help you think of possible stories to write about. This chart lists favorite stories, a statement about the basic plot in each story, and a comment about the main character.

46 STORY AND AUTHOR WHAT THE STORY IS ABOUT WHAT THE MAIN CHARACTER IS LIKE “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier Swarms of birds attack a family living on the coast of England. Nat is a brave father who tries to protect his family. “Helen on Eighty-sixth Street” by Wendi Kaufman A girl tries to understand why her dad went away. Vita is very smart. “Thank You, Ma’m” by Langston Hughes A teenage boy tries to rob an old lady, and she drags him home with her. Roger is a tough hid who is not so tough when he gets caught. IDEAS CHART


48 Consider possible topics. Consider possible topics. Make an ideas chart. List short stories that you have read and liked. For each title, write one sentence that tells what the story is about and one sentence that tells about the main character.

49 Choose a topic. Choose a topic. It will be easier to write your essay if you choose a story that you know and enjoy. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of the story’s plot and the actions of the main character. In your analysis, you will be expected to trace the development of the theme through the main character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.

50 SHORT STORIES The Man to Send Rain Clouds 48 The Devil and Tom Walker 349 Gary Keillor 424 The Masque of the Red Death 454 The Fall of the House of Usher 473 Dr Heidegger’s Experiment 500 A Rose for Emily 516 The Life You Save May Be Your Own 528 An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge 580 A Mystery of Heroism 593 The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County 679 A Wagner Matinee 688 The Yellow Wallpaper 765 The Story of an Hour 783 Seventeen Syllables 788 I Stand Here Ironing 806 Winter Dreams 840 America and I 863 In the American Society 877 The End of Something 1018 The Jilting of Granny Weatherall 1035 The Man Who Was Almost a Man 1045 Armistice 1076 Ambush 1105 The Writer in the Family 1157 Teenage Wasteland 1168 Separating 1180 Hostage 1200

51 Choose your topic. Choose your topic. Review the stories in your chart. Put an asterisk (*) next to the title you choose. Then write a few sentences that explain the reason for your choice. (Perhaps you identify with the main character, enjoy the author’s writing style, or so on.)

52 Find a theme.

53 Sometimes a theme is clearly stated, but often it is found deep within a story. The following are three ways to uncover a theme.

54 Look for clues in the title. “Irraweka, Mischief-Maker” 1 1

55 Look for the author’s statements about life. Look for the author’s statements about life. “The very best thing in all this world that can befall a man is to be born luck.” 2 2

56 Identify a life lesson that the main character learns. Identify a life lesson that the main character learns. In the short story “To Build a Fire,” the main character learns that he must accept his unfortunate fate. 3 3

57 Find a theme. Answer the following questions to find the theme of your story. Try it.

58 1.Does the title say anything about the main character? If so, what? 2.Does the title say anything about a life lesson? If so, what? 3.Does the author make any statements about life? List them. 4.How does the main character change in the story? 5.What does the main character learn?

59 Finish this sentence A main theme in my story is _________________. Finish this sentence. After answering the “Try it!” questions, complete the following sentence to identify a main theme in your story. A main theme in my story is _________________.

60 Focus on the traits. Ideas. idioms, similes, metaphors, the oxymoron, hyperbole Focus on the traits. Ideas. Authors sometimes use figure of speech to convey ideas to the reader. Figures of speech include idioms, similes, metaphors, the oxymoron, and hyperbole. Look for these as you analyze your short story. They often hold clues to theme and character development.

61 Idiom: Idiom: a phrase or an expression that means something different from what the words actually say. – That answer was really out in left field. (This means the answer was not even close to being correct.) – Next year you’ll sing a different tune. (This means you’ll think differently.)

62 Simile: Simile: A figure of speech that compares two things using like or as. Metaphor: Metaphor: A figure of speech that compares two things without using the words like or as. – The sheep were dense, dancing clouds scuttling across the road. Oxymoron: Oxymoron: Connecting two words with opposite meaning. small fortune, cruel kindness, original copy.

63 Hyperbole: Hyperbole: Exaggeration used to emphasize a point. – The music was loud enough to make your ears bleed.

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