2What is THEME?In any piece of writing—a story, novel, poem, or essay—the writer addresses a subject about the human experience such as…death, love, youth, learning, grief, setting goals, desire, tragedy, loneliness, faith, hope, human kindness, dependence on technology, destruction of nature, war, childhood, guilt, joy
3A THEME statement gets a little more specific A THEME statement gets a little more specific. It describes what in particular the writer is saying about an aspect of being human or human behavior.
4Examples of thematic statements Knowledge can sometimes be used for destructive ends.For the benefit of society, sometimes an individual’s needs must be sacrificed.Oftentimes, we might come to realize that what we dreamed of for our future is not what’s best for us.Falling in love can often repair the emotional damages people have suffered in the past.
5Theme is NOT… a summary of the plot about the specific characters in the storyour personal opinion of a story
6Theme is NOT… always a lesson, moral, or piece of advice about life This kind of theme applies more to a lot of kids’ books—where the writer’s purpose is to teach children a lesson.
7Theme is NOT… always a lesson In English III, we’re reading adult literature. Often, writers make observations about dark sides of human behavior or the difficulties of life.So in this class resist always thinking a theme statement should start with…People should always ___________Don’t _______________Always remember to ________________
8Theme is TRICKIER with more adult fiction Sophisticated and skillful writers don’t do this with their writing:As readers we must be Sherlock-esque and look closely at the story, the characters’ actions and dialogue, and—of course—the ending and do some heavy duty thinking to determine a work’s theme.AUTHORTHEME
9Example: Frozen What is a central theme of the film Frozen? WEAK ANSWERS:A central theme of the film Frozen is the idea that sisters face challenges.A central theme of the film Frozen is the idea that we all have strengths and weaknesses.
10Example: Frozen What is a central theme of Frozen? POSSIBLE STRONG ANSWER:A central theme of Frozen is the idea that healthy family relationships often require us to be honest about our personal weaknesses and to make sacrifices that benefit others.
11What’s important about a CENTRAL Theme? A CENTRAL theme can be applied to the story as a whole—including the endingA theme that applies only to one moment in the plot or a single paragraph is not a CENTRAL theme.
12A story’s ENDING is very important when figuring out the CENTRAL theme. If at the end of Star Wars, Princess Leia fell in love with Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker’s x-wing fighter got zapped, and the Rebels failed to blow up the Death Star …the story would have a very different central theme.
13A story’s ENDING is very important when figuring out the CENTRAL theme. If Frozen ended with Anna as a dead piece of ice, then the movie has a different—and much darker—central theme.
14Theme PracticeAfter watching the animated short film “Lifted,” identify a central theme that applies to the film and write a theme statement.Use a complete sentence. It can start as follows:A central theme addressed in the short film “Lifted” is the idea that people…
15Theme Statement Starter The central theme of (writer’s name)’s short story (title of story in quotation marks) is the idea that…Example: The central theme of Ryan Boudinot’s short story “The Littlest Hitler” is the idea that we often learn how to empathize with others only after we ourselves have shared in their suffering.Pay close attention to the ending and to the title of both stories.