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Finding Themes to Analyze in Literature

Today's video goes into Analyzing Themes in Literature We'll cover: • Review of what a theme is • Basic overview of how we analyze themes in stories • Ways to find topics for our themes • Ways to find themes to analyze Theme is an idea in a story. It is an idea that the writer has and may share with the reader, very subtly, or hidden inside the story. The author doesn't usually come right out and say what the ideas are. The theme is hidden within the plot (action of the story), the characters, and the setting (time and place). The theme may be underlying truths that you and the writer can connect on. This is deep stuff. It takes practice to look for theme. We'll talk about some tips for finding themes in literature. Most of the time, you'll notice a topic first. You might think, "hm, this book talks an awful lot about _________" Like in Holes by Louis Sachar, you might think, "Gee wiz, this book really talks a lot about bad luck." Bad luck, could be a great topic to start looking for themes. Then you can start asking questions about the THEME that goes with that topic. So, the IDEA that goes with the topic of bad luck. You'd probably say "Golly, what does the story say about bad luck?" Does it say people are born with it? Does it say that some people are cursed with it? Does it say there is no way to change your life if you are destined to have bad luck? You would find a question that you had about that topic, and see what ideas the story gives you. When you look through the book for those ideas, you're finding the THEMES on that topic (bad luck). Basically, you could go through the book and find examples of the ideas it has on bad luck and destiny, and you could come out saying "Gee willickers, Holes addresses the theme of bad luck and changing your destiny, and this is what it says about it...." Ways to find topics: The Book Look at the title -- Does it suggest anything? Is there anything the story often refers to (or alludes to)? The Plot What happened to the main character? What struggles does he or she face? The Main Character What questions does the main character have? Did they change during the story? The Symbols Look at repeating patterns, symbols, or details. Ways to find themes for your topic: The Book What questions does the book make you have? What answers does it provide? What impression does the book as a whole give you? The Main Character Did any of the main character's questions get answered (even if they didn't realize it) Did they learn anything? Did they have any sudden realizations? The Symbols Is there greater meaning that the small details could have? The Minor Characters Do they provide any advice or answers?
Length: 07:20

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