- Pick a theme
My classes usually discuss good vs. evil, destiny, courage, and greed. Have students pick a theme that interests them or they can complete the preparation work for all four themes. The above worksheet requires students to do all the work.
Students create a list with as many examples that pertain to the chosen theme.
- Find a pattern
The activity starts to get challenging here. Based on their findings, students begin determining what the author has in mind. They are to write a central idea (basically a thematic statement) that provides an observation about humanity, criticism of society, or message to the reader.
It may help to pose the following questions:
What observation is the author expressing about humanity?
What criticism of society is the author making?
What message is the author sending to the reader?
- How does the author use a literary element or technique to develop this central idea?
Here the students have to figure out how the author develops this idea. Explain that authors develop themes using a combination of writing strategies. They only have to discuss one. Students can choose between characterization, conflict, metaphor, simile, irony, point-of-view, setting, symbolism, theme, tone, etc. The evidence they found earlier will come in handy.
In 2-3 paragraphs, students analyze how an author uses a literary device or technique to develop a central idea. Encourage students to use strong evidence and to avoid summarizing the text.
This activity is inspired by the Text Analysis section on the NYS ELA Regents Exam (Common Core).