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Theme: an introduction for middle school

An introduction to theme in literature and other texts. For use in the middle school or early high school classroom.

Virginia Shedd

on 26 October 2012

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Transcript of Theme: an introduction for middle school

Theme What is it? The topic of a text is its general subject.
Courage The theme of a text is more specific. Theme includes the topic,
but makes a comment on it.
Everybody needs love
Fate is for people who don't want to try
Friendship is important - it gets you through tough times
Courage helps you become the person you can be How do I remember
topic vs. theme?? Think of it like a geode. Topic is the outside... plain, but interesting. Theme is the inside... connected to the topic, but something more meaningful beneath the surface. Think of Remember the Titans. What's the topic? What's the theme? How about Up or Coraline or
the lorax or happy feet? Topic? Theme? Figuring out theme might seem hard,
but you do this all the time! Let's look at some pictures. Now you! 1. Pick a movie or a book or a story.
2. Write down three abstract nouns that
describe what it's about.
3. Write the author's opinion - what is the
author trying to say to us as readers
about that idea?
4. Pick your best one and share it with the class. Remember: Theme asks us to identify what the story is really about. Theme = abstract noun + author's opinion. Abstract noun Something you can think of
but can't touch. Shares author's opinion. Is a complete sentence. This is usually the topic! Now you can find the theme
of any text! Truth Friendship Good and evil Good will conquer evil Love War Conservation Conservation is a key to
our future. Use an abstract noun and write
a sentence saying what you
think the author is trying to tell
her/his readers. You picked out a theme! What if I'm having a hard time figuring out
What the story is about? Look at:
1. What a character learns/discovers
2. Conflicts in the story
3. Symbols Don't forget:
DO NOT use specific character names or situations when writing a theme.
Themes should sound universal - they can apply to the whole world. Not:
Anne Frank is really positive while locked up in an attic hiding from Nazis and that shows that people can be strong. Instead:
Human strength can overcome even the greatest adversity.
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