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Andrea Ware

on 10 January 2013

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Transcript of Theme

Investigating a Work's Theme are ideas about the human condition that we draw from works of literature. Subject vs. Theme Themes Although these are often used interchangeably, they are different.

Subject=what the work is about

Theme=what the work says about the subject The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. A work's theme can be from a variety of subjects. When determining a theme, look at the situations within the work. You should be able to make generalizations about the subject based on how it is treated in the work. Now this poem has many interpretations. Click on the links below to read about a few of them from varying sources. Notice how there is not one "right" answer, but they all back up their claims with evidence from the poem . http://www.shmoop.com/road-not-taken/themes.html Consider what the subject of the poem on the next slide may be saying about that subject. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Some common subjects are **you may find it helpful to write this down**: -human nature
-the nature of society
-human freedom
-death ***The subject may also be a specific element of one of these*** http://www.enotes.com/road-not-taken/q-and-a/what-theme-road-not-taken-by-robert-frost-147981 http://summerclark7387.hubpages.com/hub/symbolism-and-theme-in-Robert-Frosts-The-Road-Not-Taken Theme may also present a dilemma rather than a message that neatly solves the dilemma. When reading a work, ask yourself: What is the problem the author presents and how is worked out? The Rules - Any given work may have multiple themes, even some that seem to contradict each other - Whatever you think the theme may be, make sure that you can support your assertion with good supporting examples and reasons -Remember that reading is subjective and we each bring our own experiences to our interpretations Strategies for Identifying Themes Look closely at comments made by the characters
Ask these questions as you read:

1. What image of human nature emerges from the work? Are people generally flawed or good?
2. Does the author portray a particular cultural scheme or society as life-enhancing or life-destroying? Are the characters in the work in conflict with their society? Is the society flawed? And if so, then how?
3. What control do the characters seems to have over their lives? Are they driven by forces beyond their control?
4. What are the moral conflicts in the work? To what extent are characters to blame for their actions?
Who serves as the moral center in the work?

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