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Theme Definition of theme Elements of Theme How to “find” themes

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Presentation on theme: "Theme Definition of theme Elements of Theme How to “find” themes"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theme Definition of theme Elements of Theme How to “find” themes
Examples of themes

2 Theme defined A central idea or “truth” that a work of literature expresses A comment that a work of literature makes on the human condition

3 Theme Versus Subject Subject: what a work is about. It can usually be expressed in one word. For example, “Love” is a subject of Romeo and Juliet Theme: What does the work say about the subject? It should be a complete sentence or statement. For example, “In Romeo and Juliet, we learn that adolescent romance can be a stronger force than family ties.”

4 Theme must go beyond the book
To be a true theme, the truth or comment must apply to people or to life in general, not just the characters in the book. For example, “In Beauty and the Beast, Belle learns that true beauty comes from within,” only applies to the story. Instead, express the theme like this: “In Beauty and the Beast, we learn through Belle and the beast that true beauty comes from within.”

5 Multiple themes are possible!
Many books have more than one theme, so do not think that there is one “right” theme to any book you read. In fact, most great literature has multiple themes.

6 Themes must be supported!
Just because works can have multiple themes, it does not mean that the theme can be anything that you want. In order for a theme to be justified, there must be specific, concrete evidence from the text. For example, if your potential theme statement is that “Poverty creates tough, self-reliant people,” then the book should contain examples of poor characters who develop toughness and self-reliance.

7 Themes should not go too far
Be careful about the scope of a theme Be especially cautious in using words such as every, all, always; words such as some, sometimes, and may work better.

8 Themes ≠ Clichés Try to resist the temptation to reduce a work’s theme to an old, worn-out phrase, such as “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Instead, strive for fresh and original ways to express what you feel the work is saying.

9 Themes≠Lessons or Morals
Beware of confusing “theme” with moral. Although some works of literature do suggest how we should act, many great works simply comment on how people really act. Rather than asking what a novel teaches, ask yourself what the novel reveals.

10 Finding the theme Asking questions What is the subject?
What does the book say, or reveal, about the subject? How does the work communicate the theme? In other words, what specific details, characters, actions, incidents, etc, suggest the truth of the theme statement?

11 Sample Theme Statements
The theme of The Old Man and the Sea is that striving, struggling, and suffering are the only ways to achieve victory. In My Antonia, Willa Cather demonstrates that the land is what makes people happy and fulfilled. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding suggests that a democracy is better than a dictatorship.

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