Every story you will ever read has a purpose, meaning that it is trying to teach the reader something about life and the world we live in. • All authors want their stories to be worth reading, and in order for a story to be worth our time, it should try to show us something about life. We should have the opportunity to learn something new by looking at the characters and how they act.
Themes tend to be about BIG ideas, such as: • Love • War and peace • Death • Overcoming obstacles • Rivalries and competition • Challenging yourself • Making smart choices
Examples of themes: • Technology is ruining our world and the way we interact with other people. • Friendship is valuable and important to everyone. • Life has its ups and downs, but all you can control is your attitude. • Even when you do your best, sometimes it’s not enough. • Nature is beautiful and valuable.
As we continue reading stories, I will ask you to help me pick out these themes. • Unfortunately, no story will ever say, “This book is about…” or “The point of reading all this was to…”
So in order to help us determine a story’s theme, we will answer the following three questions in order: • What is the main character like at the beginning of the story? What does he value? Is he happy or sad, and why? • What is the main character like at the end of the story? What does he value? Is he happy or sad, and why? • What events along the way caused the main character to change? • Is the main character a better person or worse person at the end of the story? Why?
Let’s practice: • What is Rainsford like at the beginning of “The Most Dangerous Game”? What does he value? Is he happy or sad? Why? • At the end? • What happened along the way? • Is Rainsford a better person or a worse person by the end of the story? Why?