Theme Warm Up: What is theme? How do you find it?
Understanding Theme • The theme of a story is its central message, a discovery of truth about life and the human experience. • Theme is a full statement, not just one word. • Theme is usually not stated directly. It is inferred or discovered through reading. • Theme is not a summary of the plot or a statement of the topic. • Every story could have multiple themes, but there is usually one main theme.
Finding Theme • How has the main character changed over the course of the story? • What plot events are most important? Why? • What is the main conflict? How is it resolved?
Examples of Theme Statements • Friends are not always trustworthy. • Appearances can be deceiving. • Happiness is only real when shared. • Love, when taken to extremes, can be either positive or negative. • In sports, winning is not the only thing that matters. • Greed causes problems that leave us with less than we had. • Be happy with what you have; don’t compare yourself to others.
Topic, Plot Summary, or Theme? • A family travels to Alabama and faces hardships along the way. • Prejudice. • Facing your fears is the only way to overcome them. • Plot Summary • Topic • Theme
Topic, Plot Summary, or Theme? • Love • A boy and girl fall in love even though their parents are enemies. • Unresolved conflict leads to disaster. • Topic • Plot Summary • Theme
The Oak and the Reeds A very large oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.” They replied, “You fight and contend with the win, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.”
The Oak and the Reeds • Topic? • Plot Summary? • Theme? • Resistance, Strength vs. Weakness • An oak tree is surprised the weeds aren’t hurt by the wind like him. • Be flexible to succeed.
Theme Activity • Read the excerpt from Touching Spirit Bear • While reading, complete a double entry journal: • On one side, list important quotes or events from the text. • On the other, list possible themes related to those moments. • For full credit there should be at least ten original entries. • On the back, write a summary (5+ sentences) of the chapters read. • Answer the following ERQ question: • Analyze the theme of Touching Spirit Bear. Justify your answer by providing at least TWO supporting details from the text. Explain how these details support your analysis of the theme.
Theme in Touching Spirit Bear Quote/Event Possible Themes
Lit Circle Theme Journal • Fold three pieces of paper in half hamburger style and staple the folded edge to form a journal. • On each of the first four sets of pages, label the top with the chapters due each week. • For each of the four sets of pages, label one sides “Quotes/Specific Evidence” and the other side “Possible Themes”. • For each week of reading, include FIVE NOTEWORTHY quotes/specific evidence and determine a possible theme for each. Also in this section, explain how the evidence shows your possible theme. • If you come in and you have not completed the section of the journal, you will work independently and not participate in the more active theme activities.
Bearstone Theme Journal Jessica Clark
Week 1: April 9 Quotes/Evidence BEARSTONE: “He didn’t know he was climbing toward a treasure and a turning point. He wanted only to reach that piece of desert in the sky.” 2. ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS: “I wanted to drop the stick and run too, but I went on digging roots because they were needed in the village.” 3. SACAJAWEA: “Deer do not attack a mountain lion, even though they outnumber it.” 4. HATCHET: “It was as if the water were more than water, as if the water had become all of life, and he could not stop.” 5. BRIAN’S WINTER: “He had learned this: Nothing that lived, nothing that walked or crawled or flew or swam or slithered or oozed – nothing, not one thing on God’s earth wanted to die.” 6. CALL OF THE WILD: “His eyes turned bloodshot, and he was metamorphosed (changed) into a raging fiend.” Chapters 1-? Possible Themes BEARSTONE: Even when we are running away, life can take us where we’re supposed to be. Cloyd is trying to run away from the farm, but he finds the bearstone that changes his whole life. ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS: We don’t always get to do what we want because duty calls. In this passage, Karana doesn’t go see the boat because she has to finish her chores. SACAJAWEA: If you are weak, do not attack something/someone stronger than you, even if you have back up. Sacajawea was not rescued because her people were weaker than the tribe that kidnapped her. HATCHET: When you lose everything, even simple things become precious. Because Brian had nothing, the water was more important than ever. BRIAN’S WINTER: Everything in nature will fight to survive. Brian learns this when he has to hunt to survive. CALL OF THE WILD: Bad situations can change us towards evil. Because Buck was being abused, he was filled with hate and wrath.
Literature Circle Theme Strips • Discuss quotes and themes from Theme Journal. Each person should explain at least three. • Debate these themes and, together, decide on the best theme for the first quarter of your survival novel. • Discuss the theme with Ms. Clark; once your theme is approved, gather art supplies to create theme strip. • Write this theme statement on a sentence strip. • Decorate the theme strip with symbols or illustrations that support this theme in the story. • On the back, give two pieces of evidence from the text to support this theme. • Include your group’s names and the survival novel your group is reading.
Week 2: April 16 • Quotes/Evidence • Choose TWO PIECES OF EVIDENCE for each theme; FOUR QUOTES TOTAL • Quote for Theme #1 • Quote #1 • Quote #2 • Quote for Theme #2 • Quote #1 • Quote #2 • Chapters # - # • Theme • Find TWO THEMES based on the list of topics below: • Home • Family/Friends • Identity • Survival • Growing Up • Theme: • Theme:
Literature Circle Theme Songs • Meet with literature circle and share themes/quotes. • Decide on an overall theme – one that represents the book as a whole. Share it with the teacher for approval. • Write a “theme song” for your novel based on this theme. • The chorus should be the theme statement/explanation itself; work on this portion together. • Each verse (one written by each member) should be based on a different quote or event from the novel that supports the theme you have chosen. • Choose music that has the same mood as the theme you are talking about. • Make it easier by setting it to a simple song that you are already familiar with (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, etc.)