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Determining Theme in Literature

Understanding theme of literature

christy grigsby

on 14 December 2016

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Transcript of Determining Theme in Literature

Finding Theme in Literature
So how do I find it?
What is theme?
What does it NOT do?
What's the big idea?
Let's practice...

Determing the theme
of a work takes practice
and critical thinking.

The theme of a fable is its moral.
The theme of a parable is its teaching.
The theme of a piece of
is its
view about life
how people behave
Theme does not preach or teach.
1. Sum up the work of fiction in one word.
2. Stretch that word into a message about life and how people behave.
In Fact:
The theme is not directly presented at all.
We have to closely read a work
to understand the theme for ourselves.
The title: Sometimes it gives clues...Does it suggest something
that could lead you to the theme?
For example:
What does the title
of the book To Kill a Mockingbird
suggest if the book isn't really about killing birds?
Try looking for repeating patterns, objects, or symbols
Do the repeated objects or symbols have an important role in the story?
Chances are, if the author keeps bringing something up, it must tie into the deeper meaning of the story.
What if the author kept bringing up bridges?
Think about what bridges symbolize.
(crossing over to a new phase of life, transition, leaving the past behind)
Is the main character experiencing change?
Perhaps the bridge could help you determine the theme.
What does the mockingjay represent in The Hunger Games?
Consider the details of the story
Could the details have a deeper meaning?
Think about the Three Little Pigs.
What significance do the pigs' house materials have?
One word to sum up
The Little Red Riding Hood?
Now stretch that single word
into a message about life and how
people behave.
Innocence can lead to deception
Stretch that single word into a message...
The Little Red
Riding Hood
What if I'm having trouble
coming up with one word?
What if the title is no
help...what then?
1. Theme: In fiction: statement about life(not just characters in the story)
2. Sum up in 1 word, then broaden
3. Title, recurring images, details help determine theme.
In the following short films, you will
try to identify the theme represented
in each. Divide a blank page into 5 columns. Label title, images, details, 1 word, theme.

As a class, we
will complete
the chart on
"For the Birds"
In partners,
complete on
"Dug's special
One more in
Try on your
For a grade:
Common Themes:
Full transcript