How to find theme

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Theme, Textual Evidence, and Explanations


  1. Patterns: A theme can be found by analyzing a character’s thoughts, actions, and words. As a reader, your goal should be to look for patterns within the characters you read about. The patterns should be obvious; if you have to “dig” or “hunt” for patterns within a character, then chances are you are not truly locating the main point the author is trying to make.

  2. Lessons: Sometimes, theme can be found because you, the reader, recognize an important lesson the protagonist of your book should be learning or has learned. Other times, theme can be found because you can identify a “words of the wiser” moment. This is usually a quiet moment where a character is learning an important lesson from an older figure (usually a mentor). Think back to the beginning of the year when we discussed the “soft, music moment” in sitcoms like Full House!

  3. Big Ideas: “Theme” cannot be found right away when reading. Give it time! Think of it this way-- when you begin a new hobby or start a new unit in one of your classes, do you become an expert right away? Mostly likely not. The same is true for the characters we read about. Our characters don’t learn the ultimate lesson they’re supposed to right away. They need a chance to make mistakes, to show the reader who they are as people, and to experience things. As a reader, you must first look for the “Big Ideas” you think the author is trying to communicate. It is the mistakes, personalities and experiences of our characters that will help you find those “Big Ideas”, and eventually, the theme!


After you found a theme, you are ready to support it using textual evidence!

Purpose of textual evidence: Remember, theme is what you, the reader, take away from the author’s comment on life and human nature; it is an opinion, and opinions cannot stand alone. Therefore, support your theme with evidence from the text.

Directory: cms -> lib010 -> PA01916442 -> Centricity -> Domain -> 1559
Domain -> What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? By Paul tough
Domain -> Soc ∙ Ms. Wiley ∙ Culture Resources & Analysis, d name
Domain -> Edge fall Quarter 2003
Domain -> Key Concept 1 Britain’s victory over France in the imperial struggle for North America led to new conflicts among the British government, the North American colonists, and American Indians, culminating in the creation of a new nation
Domain -> Actively read both secondary sources and respond to corresponding prompts
Domain -> Advanced Placement European History
Domain -> Authorities black power movement
Domain -> At the turn of the century, the United States pursued a more vigorous and aggressive foreign policy than it had in the past, securing the country a place as a new world power. During this period, U. S
Domain -> Mrs. Keyes Name American History Date I am An American!
1559 -> Name Date The Righteous

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