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Literary Themes

Several themes are evident in literature throughout the ages. This presentation is designed to be an organic overview of the themes we encounter while analyzing different forms of literature.

Meredith Boullion

on 28 September 2011

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Transcript of Literary Themes

Themes Theme refers to the underlying central idea,
or generalization a story communicates about life The theme expresses the author's opinion or raises a question about human nature or the meaning
of the human experience. You may not always agree with the author's theme, but once it is recognized, it should bring to light an issue relevant to human nature. The theme is the underlying
meaning, a significant statement,
or a universal truth. Some stories have multiple themes, each addressing an issue relevant to the human experience. Theme is just one element of a story
and does not completely expain the whole story. Resources

Alienation. Funk & Wagnalls. (2005). Retrieved July 6, 2011, from Discovery Education:http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/

CLEARVUE & SVE. (1999). Individual & Self [Video Segment]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

CLEARVUE & SVE. (1996). The Life, Time, & Works of Hemingway: "The Old Man and the Sea" & the End of a Career [Audio]. Available fromhttp://www.discoveryeducation.com/

CLEARVUE & SVE. (1999). Universal Themes in Literature [Full Video]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2011). Author J.D. Salinger [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2011). Bram Stoker [Image]. Available fromhttp://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2006). Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2006).English Dramatist William Shakespeare [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2006). Ernest Hemingway Smiling [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2011). Illustration of Juliet on Her Balcony by Oreste Cortazzo [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2006). Martin Luther King Jr. at March on Washington [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Corbis. (2006). The Parisian Novels (The Yellow Books) by Vincent van Gogh [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2005). Author Aldous Huxley, lived in LA. [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2005).Author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2000). Dracula: A Vampire for the Ages [Video Segment]. Available fromhttp://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (1997). Hester and Her Daughter, Pearl, Build a Life in Isolation [Video Segment]. Available from http://w.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2005). Jack London, a very widely read CA author. [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2005). Odysseus (Ulysses), the Greek Trojan War hero. [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2005). "Punishment of the Wrathful in Hell." [Image]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Discovery Education. (2005). The Epic of Gilgamesh [Video Segment]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Librivox. (2011). "The Leopard Man," Jack London [Audio]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Love. (2011, July 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:30, July 6, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Love&oldid=437363825

Presley, J. (Producer). (2009). Literary theme review. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/jen.presley/literary-theme-review Meredith Boullion

EDIM 508

This presentation is intended to introduce students to the concepts related to literary themes. I designed it to be an organic, interactive presentation in which information will be added throughout the year. My hope is that students will move through the presentation at their own pace, and as a class we'll add information to keep track of and analyze the literary themes we cover in what we study throughout the year. They will categorize the themes and add examples and personal explanations related to the themes.

Standards/Grade Level Expectations
04b.Draw conclusions and make inferences in oral and written responses about ideas and information in texts, including short stories/novels (ELA-1-H3)
05.Explain ways in which ideas and information in a variety of texts (e.g., scientific reports, technical guidelines, business memos, literary texts) connect to real-life situations and other texts (ELA-1-H4)
09e.Analyze in oral and written responses distinctive elements (including theme, structure, characterization) of a variety of literary forms and types, including short stories and novels (ELA-6-H3)
10c.Identify and explain in oral and written responses ways in which particular genres reflect life experiences, for example, a short story or novel provides a vicarious life experience (ELA-6-H4) The Quest for Immortality “Immortality
A toy which people cry for,
And on their knees apply for,
Dispute, contend and lie for,
And if allowed
Would be right proud
Eternally to die for.”
Ambrose Bierce "The Epic of Gilgamesh" dates back to the 22nd century B.C.
and is an example of a story in which a hero seeks to become immortal. Watch the following clip about the story: Eternal life, or the ability to live forever, is a common theme in literature. What are some literary examples you can think of that contain this theme? Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is a character who is cursed with immortality. Respond with a Paragraph
(containing at least 7 sentences):
What would be some of the benefits of immortality? What would be some of the
consequences? Would you like to be immortal? Explain. Human
Self Human vs. Society Human vs. Nature How Justice and Injustice are Decided The Individual as
the Hero/Anti-Hero The Human as the Survivor Alienation and Despair of the Individual The Future Love Jack London's "The Leopard Man" audio:
http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=BF66ED20-45A0-44D5-9265-48FAD6C566CB&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US Jack London is known for his stories that have the human vs. nature theme.
Listen to his nine minute short story, "The Leopard Man". Write a paragraph, using the ACE model, to explain how he uses this theme in this story. places a person against the forces of nature Many popular disaster films also have a human vs. nature theme.
What are a few examples? Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlett Letter" character, Hester Pryne, is considered
to be the first American heroine because of her struggles with colonial society.
Watch this brief overview of her story.

After viewing the clip, write a paragraph response, using the ACE model, to describe a person or group,
real or fictional, who struggles with some aspect of today's society. "Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher." William Wordsworth "No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable."
Adam Smith "In utter lonlieness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable."
John Steinbeck "And remember,
no matter where you go,
there you are."
Confucious "I like the dreams of the future better than the reality of the past."
Thomas Jefferson "If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred, minus one day so I never have to live without you."
A.A. Milne "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."
Joseph Campbell "Instead of working for the survival of the fittest,
we should be working for the survival of the wittiest.
Then we could all die laughing."
Lily Tomlin "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Society is viewed collectively as a character in stories with this as a theme. Examples & Explanations In this section we will add stories throughout the year and analyze how the author used literary elements to convey the theme. J.D. Salinger is best known for his novel about teen alienation, "The Catcher in the Rye". In this type of story, a character struggles with a personal problem. Listen to this audio clip about Ernest Hemingway's novella about a man's struggle with survival at sea, "The Old Man and the Sea". When finished, write a personal journal entry (at least 10 sentences) about an experience you've had with nature (weather, animals, etc.)
http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=8C3337EA-FF58-4E2A-A959-EDC2695363BC&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US Aldous Huxley is best know for his novel about a frightening future society, "Brave New World". What is the meaning of life? Nathaniel Hawthorne Ernest Hemingway Watch the following clip on internal conflict:
http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=2A566054-DE87-4E53-B5FF-EBA9BF0C7BD6&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US This type of conflict can appear as self-doubt. At other times, it may appear as insanity. William Shakespeare's character, Hamlet, is known for his deep internal struggles. Write a journal entry (at least 10 sentences) about a time you have had an internal struggle. How did you resolve that struggle? Read the encyclopedia description about alienation and then write a 3 paragraph essay about how alienation might be a problem for some students in high school.
Be sure to provide a solution as to how students could keep others from feeling isolated?

http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=240C9A9A-5C08-41C7-95CF-23DE7C917F7E&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US Watch this brief video clip about heroes in literature:http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=789D24DD-352B-43CE-B908-1426F1D46BD0

Write 2-3 paragraphs about heroes. Who is your favorite hero and why? What character traits do you admire in people? Odysseus is an epic hero who takes on many adventures and learns about himself in the process. Watch the video, "Freedom: A History of the U.S.: Let Freedom Ring"
When you finish the 30 minute video, write a three paragraph ACE essay about the following topic: Do you think America has overcome its social justice issues? Explain why you feel that way, or explain what you think might be injustices in in our modern society.

http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=01C8C7C7-4AE8-4526-A2AE-9118210C5BEE&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US What do you think life will be like for a typical high school student in the year 2100? Write a creative diary entry to chronicle a day as if you lived in 2100. It should be at least 10 sentences long. It's okay to use informal language since it is a diary entry. Read the wikipedia entry on love:
Write your own wikipedia entry about love,
from your personal perspective.
Give a definition, examples found in literature,
and how you think it is viewed by the world.
Be sure to use proper citations for your examples. The author's perspective originates from their own personal life experiences, just as your interpretation will originate from yours.
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