Presentation on theme: "Point of View, Myth, and Discovering the Theme"— Presentation transcript:
1 Point of View, Myth, and Discovering the Theme “Tell Tale Heart” and Fun Home
2 Discovering ThemeThe theme of a work of literature is an idea that dominates the work.Not a summary, a plot, a subject, or a “moral.” Themes do more than just tell what the story was about or what happened in the story.Themes do make a statement about the world/humanity outside of the story, and they might be applicable life lessons, but they are not necessarily lessons or morals.See p. 343 of your textbook for more information on theme.
3 Examples of Theme from Previous Stories Both “The Secret Lion” and “Snow” are about children who are forced to over the course of the story, but it would be too simplistic to say that “growing up” is the theme of both stories. What is each story saying ABOUT growing up?In “The Secret Lion,” we might say that the theme is “the loss of innocence that comes with growing up.”The theme of “Snow” might be, “the contrast between childlike wonder and the horrors of nuclear conflict.”
4 Discovering ThemeFirst of all, ask yourself, “What ideas or observations about the world did I notice as I read?”Watch for the narrator or a character in the work to reveal the theme. (Remember how we talked about lines that encapsulate meaning?)Consider the nature of the conflict in the story.Look at the title of the story.Consider the symbolism and mythological allusions in the story. What themes do those symbols and myths suggest?For more suggestions, see p
5 Preparing to Write About Theme What is a theme of either “Tell-Tale Heart” or “Fun Home”? How does the author of the work you chose communicate that theme?
6 Making a Claim About Literature In a little while, you are going to make a claim about one of the works you have read for today.This means that you are going to be putting forward a defensible interpretation of the story that answers the question.As in other types of essays, writing about literature requires you to support your claim with evidence.
7 Making a Claim About Literature For this exercise, your claim should mention the name of the work (which story are you making a claim about?) and make an explicit declaration of what you think about the question.When literary critics make claims about literature, they often use the vocabulary and tools of literary analysis to support their point of view. We are going to learn some vocabulary that might be useful to you today.There is no need to say “I believe the theme is…” or “In my opinion the theme is…”
8 Point of ViewThe point of view in a work of literature answers the question “Who’s telling this story?” (See p. 188 in your textbook.)The author chooses a point of viewTo create closeness to or detachment from the characters and events in the story.To reveal or conceal important pieces of information about character motivations and events.
9 First Person First person point of view: Uses first person pronouns like “I,” “me,” and “we” when describing events in the story.Not necessarily the author him/herself. In fact, unless it is specifically stated, first person narrators are not the author.A participant in the story, either a major character or a minor character who witnessed the events, is relating the events to the audience.Even if unnamed, a first person narrator is usually an important character to pay attention to.We learn about the character of the narrator by how he or she tells events and what he or she chooses to tell us.Sometimes first person narrators are unreliable, which means we can’t take what they say at face value.
10 Point of View, Continued Second person (not in your textbook)Uses second person pronouns (you, your, etc.)Puts the reader in the position of the main character. (Remember the “choose your own adventure” books? Those were often second person.)Third personUses only third person pronouns (he, she, they, etc) to describe the action.Can be omniscient, limited, or objective.
11 Point of View, Continued (Third person) Omniscient narrators:Follow the action of more than one characterGive the audience access to the thoughts of multiple characters.(Third person) Limited Omniscient narrators:Follow the action and give access to the thoughts of only one character.(Third person) Objective NarratorsRelate events without giving access to the characters’ thoughtsRelate events without interpreting them or commenting on them.
12 Point of View in “Tell Tale Heart” The story is on p. 450 of your textbook.Can we trust this narrator? Why or why not? Where are some places in the story where you question his version of events?If you've read this before, was re-reading still worthwhile? Why? What specifically did you notice because you knew what was going to happen?Why is the eye the thing that horrifies the narrator? (Think about symbolism here.)Are there similarities between this story and “55 Miles to the Gas Pump” on p. 97? (Think about point of view and tone here.)
13 Myth and AllegoryWe have already talked about symbols, which are objects that have a more complex range of meaning than their literal meaning.Authors also use myth and allegory in order to give their works figurative meaning.An allegory is a story where most important characters and events represent abstract concepts. Animal Farm, for example, is an allegory about Communism.Myths are stories that contain the ideas by which a culture constructs meaning.Myths are not the same as fairy tales, and calling something a myth doesn't automatically mean that it is "fake".
14 Mythological Allusions in Literature An “allusion” is a reference in literature to another story.Mythological allusions might take the form of:A character with a similar name to a mythological character.Events in a story that closely parallel events from a myth.References from the Bible and Greek/Roman myth are quite common, and being familiar with the basics of these mythological systems will make reading literature easier for you.
15 Questions for “Fun Home” p. 298 What do the pictures add? How is reading this bit of the story in graphic novel form different than it would have been as a "normal" short story?What is the point of view in this selection? Why is point of view important here?What mythological allusions do you see at work here? (Read the “Cultural context” section on p. 298 is you are unfamiliar with Daedalus and Icarus.) What meaning do these allusions add to the story?What mythic symbolism is suggested by the last panel?
16 In Class Writing #3What is a theme of either “Tell-Tale Heart” or “Fun Home”? How does the author of the work you chose communicate that theme? Support your claim by quoting lines from the story you chose and carefully explaining how the lines back up your ideas. Also, you might think about how the author used point of view, symbols, myth, or allegory to communicate the theme.Template for you claim (use if you are stuck):The theme of (story name) is (briefly summarize the big idea you are going to write about,) which can be seen in the way that the author, (author name here), (briefly summarize the techniques/plot points the author uses to communicate the theme). One example of this theme’s presence is when (character name/the narrator) says (quote and talk about your first example from the story). Etc.