Finding Themes – More Ideas
method is a good way of starting to consider themes and it works really well
What is the Goal of the Main Character?
· This is often first of all in an obvious physical form – the boy / girl, the job, the sports victory, the car, the house, the career, … etc. There is a basically unlimited number of these actual physical goals.
· However, this physical goal often represents a more abstract goal. These are much more limited in number. A character can desire a goal because it represents:
Success / power
Authenticity (being real, man!)
Affirmation (to gain the approval of others)
Confidence (to gain approval from themselves)
What are the Obstacles?
Obstacles can come in a number of different forms:
· People: parents, teachers, policemen, priests, the boss, the stubborn horse, the little sister, ...
· Objects: mountains, the sea, the cold, an animal, a trap, …
· Abstract: government, society in general, racism, poverty, nature, fate, God, ignorance, …
What is the Turning Point / Climax?
There is often a point in the story where the main character discover something or has a revelation about his goal. There may be a speech at this point can reveal the themes of the text.
What are the Last Words?
the end of a novel or text an author can’t resist a very direct and obvious
reference back to one of the major themes. This might be in the form of a
direct statement or a symbol. A good example of a symbolic ending would be the
death of Adela (who represents freedom and rebellion) at the end of The House
of Bernarda Alba. Bernarda’s
subsequent statement about silence reinforces the idea that society / the
government / religion is crushing the freedom and individuality of people at
the time in rural
The title can sometimes help identify a theme. It may do this in a number of ways:
· As a symbol – the Spider Woman, suggests entrapment and deviousness
· By using the main character to stand for the theme – Bernarda Alba represents repression
· By directly stating the theme – we will be together From Here to Eternity