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Developing a Thematic Statement. What is a theme? . A theme is a message or main idea that the writer wants the reader to remember after reading his/her work. When finding the theme, ask these questions: What can the reader learn from this story? What is the overall lesson of the story?

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what is a theme
What is a theme?

A theme is a message or main idea that the writer wants the reader to remember after reading his/her work.

When finding the theme, ask these questions:

  • What can the reader learn from this story?
  • What is the overall lesson of the story?
  • What message does the writer want to get across?
what is a thematic statement
What is a Thematic Statement

A thematic statement is a complete sentence that expresses (or states) a theme.

what is a theme not
What is a theme NOT?

1. A theme is not ONE WORD. That is a topic.

Bad example 1: The theme was love. NO!

2. A theme is not a definition

Bad example 2: Love is when you have feelings for someone. NO!

3. A theme is not specifically about one story or character; rather, it is universal (it can apply to anyone)

Bad example 3: Johnny and Bobby don’t get along. NO!

some good examples
Some GOOD Examples

Topic: Love

Theme: Unconditional love withstands any obstacle.

Topic: Hope

Theme: Hope can help a person to survive any dark time.

Topic: Courage

Theme: It is important to have courage to express your individuality.

Topic: Jealousy

Theme: Jealousy can cause lasting damage to individuals and relationships.

practicing thematic writing
Practicing Thematic Writing

Think back to the three short stories we’ve read:

  • “Priscilla and the Wimps”
  • “Unbalanced
  • “Seventh Grade”

Make a list of 5-10 topics that were raised in these stories.

slide7
Step 1: Find a main topic that is contained in two or more short stories.Choose one below or come up with your own!

Common topics for themes include:

Courage Honesty Unhappiness

Death Identity Wealth

Family Love War

Freedom Prejudice Respect

Friendship Trust Stereotyping

Growing Up Truth Sacrifice

Hate Violence Innocence

step 2 write a statement based on your topic
Step 2: Write a statement based on your topic

Helpful reminders

  • A THEME is a statement about a topic
  • Theme involves making a point about a topic
  • If your topic was racism, your thematic statement might be: Racism is caused by ignorance and insecurity.
step 2 continued
Step 2: continued

SAMPLE

Topic: Racism

Thematic Statement: Racism is caused by ignorance and insecurity

Write down your topic: ___________________

Thematic statement:_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

step 3 check that your thematic statement is universal
Step 3: Check that your thematic statement is universal

Could this thematic statement apply to everyone (in the world? In this classroom?)

Where have you seen this theme in your life? If you can’t relate, come up with a situation you could encounter where you’d observe this theme.

Write your situation:

If you can relate, it’s probably universal!

step 4 connect your thematic statement to the text
Step 4: Connect your thematic statement to the text

1. Find a quote that supports your thematic statement (don’t forget to record page number):

2. Write 2-3 sentences of commentary explaining HOW this quote supports your thematic statement.

step 5 apply this theme understanding to write a complete thematic paragraph
Step 5: Apply this theme understanding to write a complete thematic paragraph.
  • Now, turn the ideas you brainstormed into a well- developed paragraph that does the following:
    • Introduces the text (T.A.G.= Title, Author, Genre)
    • States the thematic statement (copy your sentence from Step 2)
    • Shows how the statement is seen in the text by providing details and evidence from the text (Step 4, question2)
    • Conclude with a “worldly wise” observation (Step 4, question 3)