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What is Theme?. English 10 Unit #2 3 October 2011. Theme is . . . . Necessary for a story to be interesting A story ’ s characters and events take on significance only when we recognize what they mean to us An idea or insight about life and human nature that gives the story meaning

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what is theme

What is Theme?

English 10

Unit #2

3 October 2011

theme is
Theme is . . .
  • Necessary for a story to be interesting
    • A story’s characters and events take on significance only when we recognize what they mean to us
  • An idea or insight about life and human nature that gives the story meaning
  • Found in all forms of literature (genres): stories, novels, plays, poems, nonfiction

Participation Point Opportunity! A theme must be written in what grammatical form?

theme is also
Theme is also . . .
  • Unseen and unstated, yet vital
  • A clue about the writer’s personal attitude toward the world, toward how people should behave and how they actually do behave
  • NOT a summary of the plot or the subject
  • What the writer means by everything
    • May give insight into some aspect of life we have never thought about or make us understand something we always knew but never realized

Participation Point Opportunity! Why might most writers avoid directly stating their themes?

how do i find the theme
How do I find the theme?
  • How does the protagonist change over the course of the story?
  • How is the conflict resolved?
  • What is the title of the work?
  • A theme must be a statement about the subject of the work rather than a phrase.

Participation Point Opportunity! Grammar review time—what is a phrase?

how do i find the theme1
How do I find the theme?
  • Not the same as a moral (rule of conduct)
    • What does this work reveal? instead of “What does this work teach?”
    • Complex and original revelation about life (not a cliché)
  • Generalization about life or human nature (not specific characters/events)
  • Universal: apply to people everywhere (common desires, needs, and experiences)
  • No one correct theme for a work

Participation Point Opportunity! Literary term time—what is a cliché?

how does genre affect theme
How does genre affect theme?
  • How does the choice of genre relate to the author’s purpose for writing?
  • What is the theme, or main idea, and is it stated or implied?
  • How does the author use the characteristics of the genre to support the theme, or main idea?

Participation Point Opportunity! Literary term time, again—what is genre? Give two examples of genre.

reading skills making generalizations practice 1
Reading Skills: Making Generalizations (Practice #1)
  • Linda’s family is new in town. On her first day in a new school, Linda avoids the other students. Because she avoids contact with them, the other kids think that she is unfriendly. The “standoff” gets worse each day, until Jasmine happens to talk to Linda in the lunch line. Jasmine finds out that Linda likes to dance, so Jasmine invites her to join an after-school dance club. After some hesitation, Linda goes and has a great time. She meets lots of new people who learn that Linda is not, after all, a snob. She was just shy.
  • What generalizationscan we make about life and/or people based on this story?
reading skills making generalizations practice 2
Reading Skills: Making Generalizations (Practice #2)
  • Paul wants to work after school and on weekends, but his parents think that he is too young and that a job would interfere with schoolwork. To prove his maturity, Paul offers to baby-sit for cousins who live nearby. The first time he stays with the kids, one of them cuts her knee. Then, while Paul is giving them a bath, the bathroom floor floods. Paul takes full responsibility for the accidents and offers to quit. Paul’s parents realize, however, that neither accident was Paul’s fault, and they respect his willingness to work. Paul gets to keep his job.
  • What generalizationscan we make about life and/or humans based on this story about Paul?