Identifying Theme Examples

Identifying Theme

Theme is the main idea or underlying meaning of a work of literature.

Examples of Identifying Theme:

Theme should be stated as a complete sentence, rather than a one or two word answer.

Example:

Romeo and Juliet=The theme is not"love". What is Shakespeare trying to say about "love"? One possible theme is "Love conquers hate." Romeo and Juliet, with their love and untimely deaths, put an end to their families' feud.

Theme can be stated explicitly or implicitly. For example, many fables end with an explicitly stated theme.

Example: Read "The Hare and the Tortoise" by Aesop. The last line explicitly states the theme:

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. "I have never yet been beaten," said he, "when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me."

The tortoise said quietly, "I accept your challenge."

"That is a good joke," said the Hare. "I could dance round you all the way."

"Keep your boasting till you've beaten," answered the Tortoise. "Shall we race?"

So a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race. Then said the Tortoise: "Plodding wins the race."

Practice:

1. What is the theme of this story?

a. Don't try to do something if you are too scared.

b. If you are too afraid to try something, you don't know what you are missing.

c. Don't let fear keep you from doing something that might not be so scary after all.


2. Which of the following details from the story best supports the theme?

a. She said if Sarah would be in the talent show, then so would she, but if Sarah wouldn't, then neither would she.

b. I was afraid to do it, but while I was up there, I wasn't afraid at all. I just played like I do every day and pretended no one was in the room.

c. When she finished, the audience erupted in applause, many of them standing up. Sarah stood and bowed.

Answer:

1. What is the theme of this story?

a. Don't try to do something if you are too scared.

b. If you are too afraid to try something, you don't know what you are missing.

c. Don't let fear keep you from doing something that might not be so scary after all.


2. Which of the following details from the story best supports the theme?

a. She said if Sarah would be in the talent show, then so would she, but if Sarah wouldn't, then neither would she.

b. I was afraid to do it, but while I was up there, I wasn't afraid at all. I just played like I do every day and pretended no one was in the room.

c. When she finished, the audience erupted in applause, many of them standing up. Sarah stood and bowed.

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