Theme Journals In-Class Notes, Activities, and Examples Objective • By the end of the lesson, each student will be able to compare and contrast themes from their novels with themes from other works of literature in their reading response journals. Responses will be evaluated using a standardsbased rubric. Instructional Content • • • • Discuss themes in children’s stories Complete and discuss opening activity Discuss what a theme is and is not Have students find theme within the song lyrics and discuss • Define compare and contrast • Model journaling process Themes in Children’s Stories • What is the title of your book? • Write a one-sentence summary of your book. • What are the themes (morals, lessons, truths about life) that are expressed in your group’s story? • How are these themes expressed in your book? In other words, how does the author communicate these themes to the reader? Themes in Music 1. Write a one-sentence summary of your song. 2. What is the author trying to say? 3. What are some universal themes (truths about life, society, or human nature) that are revealed in the song? 4. What conflicts are present in the song (person vs. self, society, etc.)? 5. What is the mood (feeling, atmosphere) of your song? 6. What is the tone (writer’s attitude) of your song? 7. Using your green figurative language glossary, highlight and label examples of figurative language. Themes in Music • On your lyrics, please highlight examples of the following: – – – – – Alliteration Assonance Consonance Imagery Allusions – – – – Repetition Metaphors Similes Internal and external rhyme – Symbolism – Personification On a piece of paper or in your notebook: Think of three animated movies and describe their theme(s) • • • • • • • • The Lion King Cinderella The Little Mermaid Finding Nemo The Princess and the Frog Toy Story Alladin How the Grinch Stole Christmas • Shrek • Tangled Any others??? • Theme is a truth about life that is revealed in literature. It may be a lesson, moral, main idea. There are several possible themes for each of these. • Make sure you write the theme in a complete sentence and avoid clichés.` Subjects vs. Themes Subjects • • • • • • • • • • Family Love Pain Revenge Tradition Death Suffering Heartbreak Hope Freedom Themes No matter how long traditions have been in place, there is always room for change. It is important for people to remember and recognize the traditions of their culture. What is a theme? • A theme is the main idea, or message, of an essay, paragraph, or a book. • The message may be about life, society, or human nature. • Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and may be implied rather than stated. • A theme is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction. What is the difference between a subject and a theme? Many students get these confused. A subject can be expressed in a word or two: courage, survival, war, pride, love, etc. A theme is the idea the author wishes to convey about the subject. It is expressed in a sentence and is a general statement about life or human nature. Subject: Pride Thematic statement: Pride can be the downfall of the greatest people. OR When not taken to extremes, pride is necessary for people to be successful. Subject vs. Theme In your composition books, brainstorm a list of all the subjects your novel explores (examples: love, pride, parentrelationships, magic, war, basketball, independence, etc.). How to Write a Thematic Statement Start with a subject. Choose one that is abstract (love, jealousy, peace, friendship, hope) vs. concrete (basketball, school, WWII, dragons) . Theme is an abstract idea plus a comment or observation which addresses: human motivation human condition human ambition RULES: AVOID – clichés– your thematic statement should not sound like a fortune cookie or the moral of an Aesop’s fable. INSTEAD – put it into your own words, elaborate, add sophistication AVOID – absolute words – all, everyone, each, none, always, never, etc… INSTEAD – sometimes, often, we, adolescents, frequently, etc… AVOID – specifics of plot, character name and setting Abstract idea + comment or observation = thematic statement Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics Find one or more lines from the song to support your idea Hint: Finding the lyrics first can help you write the thematic statement. Focus on what the author is trying to tell us in those lyrics- What is their tone? What is the message that they are trying to convey? Thematic Statement Write the theme of your song in a one-sentence thematic statement Refer to the examples on the following slides. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “I’m a thousand miles away girl but tonight you look so pretty… Hey there Delilah, don’t you worry about the distance, I’m right here if you get lonely.” (from “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s). Thematic Statement No matter how far away you are from someone, if you love them enough, you can make it work. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “My tummy’s turning and I’m feeling kinda homesick. Too much pressure and I’m nervous. That’s when the DJ dropped my favorite tune… So I put my hands up…and the butterflies fly away.” (From “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus) Thematic Statement When we are nervous and feel out of place, letting go of our fears and focusing on what is positive in our lives can change our mood and our outlook. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “You got designer shades to hide your face and you wear them around like you’re cooler than me” (From “Cooler than Me” by Mike Posner) Thematic Statement Some people use materialistic things to hide their own insecurities. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “I know when I compliment her, she won’t believe me. And it’s so sad to think she doesn’t see what I see.” (from “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars) Thematic Statement Even if you feel insecure, there is someone out there who loves you just the way you are. If true love exists between two people, they will be beautiful to each other regardless of how they look on the outside. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “The traffic is stuck and you’re not moving anywhere…You’re on the road, but you’ve got no destination… It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away.” (from “Beautiful Day” by U2) Thematic Statement When we feel like we are getting nowhere in life, and when we feel lost and alone, recognizing and appreciating the simple beauty that can be found in our everyday lives can change our outlook and get us back on track. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “See the world in green and blue, see China right in front of you. See the canyons broken by cloud… And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth, after the flood all the colors came out. (from “Beautiful Day” by U2) Thematic Statement If we open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts, we will see that the world is full of hope and beauty. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “The wind of change blows straight into the face of time, like a storm wind that will ring the freedom bell for peace...” (from “Wind of Change” by The Scorpions) Thematic Statement Like the wind in a storm, change is often turbulent, but with change comes hope for freedom and peace. Thematic Statements For pop song lyrics Lyrics “Take me to the magic of the moment on a glory night, where the children of tomorrow dream away on the wind of change.” (from “Wind of Change” by The Scorpions) Thematic Statement The hopes and dreams of future generations begin and end with change. Homework Lyrics • Write down a line or two from your song that express its theme. – Note: You may use the ellipsis… to omit words or to skip to another line. Thematic Statement • Based on the lines that you chose, write a thematic statement for your song. Thematic Statement for Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Text “Don’t start apologizing for them Ender. Just because they didn’t know they were killing human beings doesn’t mean they weren’t killing human beings” (Card, 270). Response If people around the world can communicate with open minds and open hearts, we can avoid the atrocities of unnecessary wars. In this scene, Ender is starting to realize that the buggers were not intentionally killing humans, they were just trying to protect their queen. If they could have found a way to communicate with one another instead of killing one another, countless lives would have been saved. Homework Text (Passage from your book) • Write down a line or two from your book that express its theme. – Note: You may use the ellipsis… to omit words or to skip to another line. Thematic Statement • Based on the lines that you chose, write a thematic statement for your book. Compare and Contrast • The Arizona State Standard is: The student will compare and contrast themes across works of prose, poetry and drama. • So now that we know how to determine the theme and write a thematic statement, we need to take it to the next level. • To compare is to show how two themes are the same. • To contrast is to show how they are different. Compare and Contrast Themes • Look at the thematic statement that you wrote for your novel (last night’s homework). • Look at the thematic statements that we wrote for the song lyrics. • Do any of these themes relate to a theme from your book? If so, how? • Tell how these themes are similar and how they are different. Theme Journal Example Response Text “…it’s easy to forget why Earth is worth saving. Why the world of people might be worth the price you pay… So that’s why you brought me here, to make me love Earth. Well it worked” (page 243, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card). One theme that is common in both Ender’s Game and the song “Beautiful Day” by U2 is that when we feel like we are getting nowhere in life, and when we feel lost and alone, recognizing and appreciating the simple beauty that can be found in our everyday lives can change our outlook and get us back on track. Ender, like the character in this song feels lost and alone. He has left his family to attend Battle School, he is alienated and bullied by his peers, and he feels like he just wants to give up. His visit to Earth is a turning point because it helps him remember how beautiful it is and that it is worth fighting for. Theme Journal Example Text “I ain’t making a face, ese. This is my face.’ Michael said his face had changed during the summer. He had read a GQ magazine… and noticed that the male models all had the same look on their faces… a scowl” (from “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto). Response One theme that this story has in common with the song “Cooler than Me” by Mike Posner is that people often do ridiculous things to look “cool.” Like the character in the song who uses her designer sunglasses to hide her face, Michael’s scowling is probably masking his own insecurity about his looks. By emulating the models, he is trying to be something he’s not instead of just accepting and appreciating who he is and how he looks. Homework: Theme Journal Text • Select a passage from your book that shows the theme. • Think of a song, short story or another book that expresses a theme that is similar to the one above. Response • Write a response that compares and contrasts a theme from your book to a theme from a song, short story, or another book. • Explain how the writers express the theme in each. Thematic Paragraphs for Short Stories Objective • Write a thematic statement for a short story that we have read in class and support it with evidence from the text. • Stories to choose from: “Seventh Grade (teal book),” “All the Years of Her Life” (paper), “Three Skeleton Key” (green book, 65), “The Monkey’s Paw” (red book, 186), “The Landlady” (red book, 171), “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” (red book, 581), “Amigo Brothers (green book, 245),” “After Twenty Years” (green book, 191) “Ender’s Game,” “Lamb to the Slaughter” (paper) Thematic Statement • What is a theme or message from the story you have chosen? In other words, what truth about life, human nature, or human behavior is the author trying to reveal? It may be a lesson or a moral, or it might just be a generalization. Template/ACE (Answer, Cite, Explain) • TS: topic sentence, ANSWER • CD: concrete detail, fact, example, passage from text, CITE • CM: commentary, your thoughts, analysis, explanation of how the CD relates to the TS, EXPLAIN • CM: second sentence of commentary, tell me more, elaborate, dig deeper, CONTINUE TO EXPLAIN • Write a second chunk (repeat pattern from above, CD, CM, CM) • CS: concluding sentence, summarize your ideas and relate back to your TS TS:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CD:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CM:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CM:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CD:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CM:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CM:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ CS:_______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ “Seventh Grade” hour 1 One theme from the story “Seventh Grade” by Gary Soto is that sometimes people try to impress others by being someone or something they’re not. For example, Michael notices in a GQ magazine that all the models are scowling, so he decides to scowl to look attractive to girls. This shows that he is willing to go to extreme measures, even changing his facial expressions, to get a girlfriend. This also shows that Michael has succumbed to the pressure to look the way society expects him to, instead of being happy with who he is. In addition, after claiming to know French in order to impress Teresa, Victor mumbles “Wee wee gee gee in September,” and completely humiliates himself. This shows that, like Michael, Victor goes out of his way to impress somebody, only to end up totally embarrassed. This also shows that Victor and Michael are insecure about who they truly are. To conclude, this story teaches us that if we want to find true friendships and relationships, we must be true to ourselves and others. “Three Skeleton Key” hour 2 One theme from “Three Skeleton Key,” by George G. Toudouze, is that teamwork and perseverance can help people survive a crisis or difficult situation. For example, on page 73, the lighthouse keepers “battled the horde of maddened rats” and the rats “retreated.” This shows that the men would not have been able to defeat the rats alone because they were drastically outnumbered by the “horde.” This also shows that working together and never giving up enabled them to succeed despite the dire situation they were in. In addition, after the rescuers unsuccessfully attempt to scald the rats with steam, instead of giving up, they come up with a new plan to lure the rats to their death with a barge of smelly meat. This shows that the rescuers, like the victims, are willing to do whatever it takes to save the lives of others. This also shows that by putting their heads together, they were able to solve a problem that they couldn’t have solved on their own. To conclude, the characters in “Three Skeleton Key” cooperate and give their all to survive a potentially deadly scenario. “Drummer Boy of Shiloh” hour 4 • One theme from “The Drummer of Shiloh,” by Ray Bradbury, is that even when we feel small and insignificant, we have an important contribution to make in the world. For example, at the beginning of the story, Joby wonders if the soldiers will “go away, the war with them, and not notice him lying small here, no more than a toy himself” (582). By comparing himself to a small toy, he shows his lack of experience and maturity, as well as his fear. This also shows that Joby, as the drummer boy, feels that his role in the war is less important than the soldiers in the battle. After Grant sees Joby crying, he convinces him that he must become the general of the army in the event of his death. This shows that as a drummer boy, if Joby fails to keep a steady beat, the soldiers cannot defeat the enemy. This also shows that Grant has faith in Joby and is counting on him to continue to lead the army to victory. To conclude, this story shows us that even if you are young and inexperienced, you have the power within yourself to accomplish great things. “All the Years of Her Life” by Morley Callaghan One theme from “All the Years of Her Life,” by Morley Callaghan, is that a person’s choices and behaviors can have unintended negative effects on the people who care about them. For example, after convincing Mr. Carr not to have Alfred arrested for shoplifting, Mrs. Higgins tells her son that “You’ve disgraced me again and again… It’s one thing after another and always has been (5). This shows that poor decision-making is a recurring event in Alfred’s adolescence and that this isn’t the first time his mom has had to “save” him. Her harsh tone and word choice are a result of years of stress and anxiety due to Alfred’s thoughtless actions. Later that night, Alfred sees his mother’s “frightened broken face” as she “trembled,” “sighed,” and struggled to sip her tea (7). This shows that despite her calm composure at the drugstore, her patience is wearing thin. This also shows that her constant fear and worry over Alfred is taking a physical and emotional toll on her well-being. To conclude, this story conveys the importance of carefully considering our choices and actions because they impact everyone around us.