Essay– Analysis of THEME in a short story
The theme of a work of literature is the comment the author makes about his subject matter, a revelation about the behavior of human beings or the conduct of society; an insight into the human condition. It is the insight we gain from thinking about what we have read. The theme of
a literary work is its underlying central idea, or the generalization it communicates about life. At times, the author’s theme may not confirm or agree with your own beliefs, but even then, if it is skillfully written, the work will still have a theme that illuminates some aspects of true human
Write an essay in which you analyze a work of fiction. Closely examine the story’s elements, such as its characters or setting, or their relationship to each other. Your purpose is to interpret the story, that is, to explain what you believe to be the story’s deeper meaning. To accomplish
this goal, you will need to incorporate details and quotations from the story into your essay.
The Assignment: write a thematic essay based on either short story: “The Flying Machine” by Ray Bradbury or “Blue Winds Dancing” by Tom Whitecloud. The former is on the March 29th week, and the latter is posted in our Short Stories and Literary Handbook.
Length: 2-3 page essay (about 500-750 words)
Format: double-spaced: Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman: 12-font: APA citation style (with
references): title, name and date at the top of the page—no title page required.
Use the steps below to help guide you through the process of writing your essay. The purpose is to identify theme and support for your essay.
Step 1: Choose a story—either “The Flying Machine” by Ray Bradbury or “Blue Winds Dancing” by Tom Whitecloud. Both can be found on Moodle.
Step 2: Read and annotate the story. Then analyse the story. Break the story down into its elements (plot, setting, etc.) and examine those elements closely.
Step 3: Once you have analyzed the story, you should interpret it for possible themes. Piece the elements together to discover a pattern that reveals the story’s possible meaning or significance.
• plot— What is happening? What is the main conflict? What events take place in the story that help to illustrate theme?
• character— Who is the story about? Does the central character have choices or undergo changes? How do the choices or changes (or lack of choice or change) contribute to your understanding of the story? Consider why the author assigns certain qualities to a character or characters and how any such qualities might relate to your topic. What do characters do that helps illustrate the theme? What do characters say that help to illustrate this idea?
• point-of-view—Who is telling the story and what do they know or don’t know? Is the tale told by an omniscient (all-knowing) narrator who doesn’t interact in the events, or is it presented by one of the characters within the story? Can the reader trust that person to give an objective account, or does that narrator colour the story with his or her own biases and interests? What does the narrator say that helps to illustrate the theme?
• setting—What is the time period, the location, the time of day, the season, the weather, the type of room or building? What is the general mood, and who is present? All of these elements can reflect on the story’s events, and though the setting of a story tends to be less conspicuous than plot and character, setting still colours everything that’s said and done within its context. What does the setting reveal about the theme?
• symbolism—Might any events or objects represent abstract ideas—theme?
Step 4: Once you have figured out which literary elements the author uses and the ones that you will examine in your paper, take each element and find at least three examples of the author’s use of the element in the story (note the page/line number when you find the use). Try to find two or three literary elements the author uses in the story to examine. You will want to
discuss the most often used or the ones that have the most evidence.
Step 5: Based on the evidence and your thoughts on them, come up with a working thesis statement about the theme of the story.
Step 6: Using the evidence found and the thesis statement, create an outline. This will lead to the writing and completion of your essay.
Type of assignment: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Essay
Number of sources: 10
Academic level: Bachelor
Paper format: APA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English