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Theme and Point Of View
Transcript of Theme and Point Of View
What is Literature
Constructing Your Theme
How to Find the Theme
How to Construct a Theme
What is theme?
A theme is rarely ever stated and explained because it ruins the story. It is up to the readers to understand what the central purpose is.
The theme is not always the moral of the story, but what is revealed by the characters.
A theme only exists when the author reveals new truth about life that he or she records in their story. pg. 208
Ways to help discover the theme:
How has the character changed throughout the story?
Have they learned anything ?
How has the central conflict effected the characters?
What was the outcome of this conflict?
Does the title leave any indication of what the theme might be?
Stating the theme is the ultimate test to see if you understand the story or not.
There are many ways to state a theme. A theme can be stated in a simple sentence or in a paragraph depending on the complexity of the story. All statements must have a subject and predict. pg 212
Tips for Stating a Theme:
Steer Clear of Cliches
The theme is a general statement. Do not use names of characters.
Stay away from using words like
. Instead use words like
The theme cannot be contradicted at any part within the story.
Theme is the overarching message of a story.
Theme connects the a story to the real world.
Theme goes beyond the story itself.
Point of View
Confirm readers' prejudices
Endorse readers' opinions
Ratify readers' feelings
Satisfy readers' wishes
[widely accepted platitudes]
[represent life as we would like it to be, not as it is]
Theme in Everyday Use
"True love always wins"
"Old age brings wisdom"
[challenges common beliefs]
is a good example of a story that may have more than one theme.
Does not have to be immediately accepted
To help determine and then state the theme go through the steps listed earlier.
Represents a judgement on life
Always a value in knowing what the world looks like to others
Never dismiss a story simply because the theme is not relevant to you personally.
Deeper nourishment and enjoyment as compared to commercial theme.
Not likely to be found on greeting card, a literary theme requires thought and examination
How have the characters changed throughout the story and what have they learned?
The Mother (Narrator) - At the beginning she wishes to reconnect with her daughter, Dee. After realizing how different their views on heritage are, she stands up for her beliefs, even if that further damages their relationship.
Dee (Wangero) - Dee is the only member of her family to be properly educated. With her newly gained knowledge on African heritage, she loses her identity. Dee becomes angry when she realizes her family doesn't appreciate their African roots as she does.
How have the central conflicts impacted the story?
When Dee discovers quilts made by their ancestors, she wants to take them and preserve them by hanging them up.
The Mother refuses her of taking them saying that the quilts belong to her younger daughter, Maggie, because she will use them as they were meant to be used.
This conflict shows how differently each character see heritage.
Title in Relation to Theme
The title of this short story, Everyday Use, may be a reference to how the quilts should be used.
Depending on how they look at heritage should the quilts be preserved and showed off or should they be used for the purpose of keeping someone warm only?
describes heritage as something that is interpreted differently to any individual.
What is Point of View?
Third Person Limited
Told in third person where knowledge is unlimited.
Narrators are free to go where they wish in the story
How much time spent in each conscience adds to the story.
Most flexible point of view
Most likely to be abused; it can get in the way of the story, breakdown coherency, and destroy the illusion.
First person point of view is very similar to third person limited, being that only one character's thoughts and feelings are being revealed.
What sets the two apart are personal pronouns such as I, my, or we.
The point of view is strictly that of the protagonist, antagonist, or minor character.
The author becomes that character. pg 256-257
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
The Boarding House
The omniscient point of view adds to
The Boarding House
Shows multiple angles of the story
Mrs. Mooney (Madame)
Drives the story forwards.
Gives the reader an idea of what will happen next.
Adds depth to the storyline
tells the story and
it is told.
Adds an amusing layer
Shows the reader behind the scenes
Added information about the family
Creates a more vivid character
Shows details about Mrs. Mooney's opponent
the characters are allowed to know.
There are 4 types of point of views:
Third-person limited, First person,
Allows for the conversation between her mother and Mr. Doran to remain private
Shows the simpleness of the character
Allows the story to end at a point where only guesses can be made at how it ends
In this point of view you do not experience what the characters are thinking and what they feel. The narrator cannot comment or enter a characters mind.
Readers are similar to spectators of a play because they only see what the characters are saying and doing.
Allows reader's to form their own conclusion based off the character's actions. pg. 258-259
Adds to the reader's understanding of the situation
The story is told in third person, but only one viewpoint from a specific character is shared.
You can see inside their head, what they think, and how they feel.
see what the other characters are feeling and thinking.
The perspective may move inside and outside of the character, but never leave their side.
Young Goodman Brown
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
By James Joyce
Goodman Brown is the main character of this story and the only person whose thoughts are revealed. We experience what he is thinking as he goes into the forest and tries to resist the evils that confront him.
"At the word, Goodman Brown stepped forth from the shadow of the trees and approached the congregation, with whom he felt a loathful brotherhood by the sympathy of all that was wicked in his heart."