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Theme in Literature

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Mrs. Bickford

on 18 March 2013

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Transcript of Theme in Literature

Theme in Literature Definition Theme is the main idea of a literary work, or the underlying message. Characteristics Themes may be major or minor. Theme v. Subject The subject is the topic an author has chosen to write about. A theme, however, makes some statement about the subject or expresses an opinion. Example Subject: War Theme: War can permanently damage someone physically, mentally, and emotionally. How do readers discover themes? 1. Look for clues about the main character's feelings. Examples of feelings:
frustration
anxiety
grief
hope
loneliness
regret 2. Take notice of the main character's thoughts (when she's talking to another character and thinking to herself). These thoughts often reveal the character's objective, which is directly related to theme. 4. Ask yourself, "What does the main character learn by the end of the story?" The answer to this question will reveal a major theme in the story. People naturally express thoughts and feelings through their actions. Ask, "What does this action 'say'?" 3. Make inferences based on the main character's actions. Example: Gatsby reaches his hands toward the green light at the end of Daisy's dock... Gatsby's extraordinary gift for hope is was sets him apart from everyone else (in Nick's eyes)... "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!" Gatsby assures Nick... Gatsby isn't able to learn anything because, unfortunately, his extreme hope in something impossible led him to make poor decisions for which his life would pay the price... How do I express a theme? A thematic statement must be original, show complex thinking, and expressed as a complete sentence. Example Wrong: What goes around comes around. Instead: People must often face the consequences of their rash, selfish actions. A theme may be stated, but most often it is implied. Loneliness a. Loneliness can lead one to feel bitter and treat others with hostility. b. When you're lonely it's hard to appreciate the things you have. Friendship b. A true friend is hard to find. a. A true friend is selfless and willing to make sacrifices when the other friend is in need. Dreams a. Oftentimes, dreams do not come true. b. Dreams give us the motivation to push through life's most dismal moments.
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