It s an hour of trial thursday january 9 2014 mr houghteling
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“it’s an ‘hour of trial’ Thursday!” January 9 , 2014 Mr. Houghteling. AP Literature and Composition. AGENDA. Notes on THEME for The Awakening Madame Ratignolle’s labor—how do we find meaning (THEME) in this section?. THEME.

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It s an hour of trial thursday january 9 2014 mr houghteling

“it’s an ‘hour of trial’ Thursday!” January 9, 2014Mr. Houghteling

AP Literature and Composition


  • Notes on THEME for The Awakening

  • Madame Ratignolle’s labor—how do we find meaning (THEME) in this section?


  • A THEME is a common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work. A theme is a thought or idea the author presents to the reader that may be deep, difficult to understand, or even moralistic. Generally, a theme has to be extracted as the reader explores the passages of a work. The author utilizes the characters, plot, and other literary devices to assist the reader in this endeavor.

  • The ability to recognize a theme is important because it allows the reader to understand part of the author’s purpose in writing the book.

Another definition of theme
Another definition of theme

  • "Simply put, a story's theme is its idea or point (formulated as a generalization). The theme of a fable is its moral; the theme of a parable is its teaching; the theme of a short story is its implied view of life and conduct. Unlike the fable and parable, however, most fiction is not designed primarily to teach or preach. Its theme, thus, is more obliquely presented. In fact, theme in fiction is rarely presented at all; readers abstract it from the details of characters and action that compose the story."(Robert DiYanni, Literature. McGraw-Hill, 2002)

Theme as related to plot
THEME, as related to PLOT

  • “You might think of theme as the message of the story--the lesson to be learned, the question that is asked, or what it is the author is trying to tell us about life and the human condition. Plot is the action by which this truth will be demonstrated.“

  • (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, quoted by Kenneth John Atchity and Chi-Li Wong in Writing Treatments That Sell, rev. ed. Henry Holt, 2003)

Get into pairs or groups of three
Get into pairs or groups of three.

  • Read, annotate, and discuss the following text from The Awakening (Madame Ratignolle’s Hour of Trial). As you read in your groups, focus on the IMAGERY and CHARACTERIZATION as presented in this section. Then write a group response identifying what THEME from the novel is being addressed here, as well as what specific elements (IMAGERY, CHARACTERIZATION) Chopin uses in order to achieve that THEME.


  • Basically, I believe we learn a lot about Edna by looking at her reaction to Madame Ratignolle’s situation. This seems to be an element of foreshadowing to her later actions on Grand Isle.

  • Edna travels to Grand Isle, yes?

  • Why must she go to Grand Isle?

  • What does she see or realize at Madame Ratignolle’s that drives her to Grand Isle?

  • What were the triggers that prompted Edna to do what she does?