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Literary Focus: Theme

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  1. Unit 4 Literary Focus:Theme

  2. What is theme? • Theme is the general idea or insight about life that a work of literature reveals. • Theme is a “special message” that a reader takes away from a story. • Usually no two readers state a theme in exactly the same way. In fact, readers may even differ on what they see as the story’s theme.

  3. Theme is not…. • It is NOT the same as a subject. • The subject of a work can be expressed in a word or two: love, childhood, death • The theme is an idea or message that the writer wishes to convey about that subject or life. • Example: “Good will triumph over evil.”

  4. Theme is not… • It is NOT the same as a summary. • A summary is what happens in the story. • A recap of events • Again, the theme is an idea or message that the writer wishes to convey about that subject or life.

  5. Determining A Story’s Theme • Themes are usually not stated directly. • Most times the reader has to think about all the elements of the work and use them to make an inference. • Review: What is an inference?

  6. Consider the following elements of a story to identify the story’s theme: • The title • Sometimes writers use titles to hint a story’s theme. • The characters • Changes occurred • Discovery • The “big” moments • Most important scenes/passages • Revelations about life • The resolution • The way conflicts are settled • The way you feel about the outcome

  7. WARM UP (as you come in) - Let’s apply our understanding of theme… • Consider the following themes: • Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. • The good can triumph over evil. • Application: Think of novels, stories, and/or poems you have read. Also, think of movies, plays, and TV shows you have seen. Brainstorm a list of titles that reflect those two themes. Write this down in your notebook!

  8. Aesop’s Fables • What are fables? • Short stories which illustrate a particular moral and teach a lesson. • Fables can often pass into our culture as myths and legends. • The characters of fables? • Usually animals who act and talk just like people while still retaining animal traits. • Aesop’s Fables • Originated in Ancient Greece. • Famous fables that provide entertainment. • Feature familiar animals loved by children.

  9. Somebody, Wanted, But, So • A summary explains what happens in a story. A theme is the moral or message that is revealed within the story. Often times when you break down a fable using the Somebody, Wanted, But, So outline, you are able to better identify the intended theme. __________________somebody (the main character) wanted _________________, but (problem) _______________________________________________________. So (solution) _____________________________.

  10. ApplicationLet’s Practice… The Bear & His Figs A hungry bear put his paw into a pitcher full of figs. He grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he tried to pull out his paw, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose his figs, and yet unable to withdraw his paw, he burst into tears and roars of rage. A bird flew by and landed beside him. The bird said “be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand.”

  11. In your small groups… • Examine, analyze and discuss the Aesop Fables. • Identify key words that helped you determine a theme. • Complete the Somebody, Wanted, But, So outline on your worksheet • Look for commonalities among the 3 Aesop Fables.

  12. Application: Plan & construct your own • Now it’s your turn! Your job is to create your own Aesop Fable using the common characteristics we discussed earlier. -Who are the main characters? (animals) -What is your purpose? Moral? Lesson? Be creative! Have fun with it!

  13. “Camp Harmony”: Generalizations Reading Skill: Making Generalizations: Putting it all together • Generalization: broad statement based on several particular situations. • When you make a generalization you combine new evidence in a text with what you already know. • “Camp Harmony”: After reading about Monica Sone’s experiences, you might make a generalization about the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Page 469