Premium Essay

How Theme Shapes a Story

In: English and Literature

Submitted By hopinacarr28
Words 623
Pages 3
Running Head: Theme

How Theme Shapes a Story
Trina Carr
English 125
Instructor: Clifton Edwards

Running Head: Theme page 1

Like many people who haven’t studied literature, if someone asked me what the theme of a story was, I would have given a synopsis of the story detailing the actions and characters in it. As I have come to learn, theme is much more than a distilled retelling of a story. Theme gives a story a deeper meaning. The theme focuses the story and is the behind the scenes force that propels the story forward. In other words it gives the story purpose and shape. “Theme will attempt to hold all the elements of your story in place. It is like a cup. A vessel. A goblet”(Bain, T 2010). In this paper will attempt to explore how literary elements like symbolism and character build and affect the narrative of theme in a story. One element of a story’s theme is symbolism. Symbolism according to our text is something that has a literal identity but also stands for something else (Clugston, R 2010). For an example the five interlocking ring of the Olympic symbol. Clearly they can be identified as ring, but when they are colored blue, yellow, black, green and red, they become much more. They are a symbol of the pinicle of atheletic compition and excellence. Symbolism in literature gives the writer’s work texture. It is one element that is used to provide the reader with a deeper meaning of the story. It is what makes the reader care about the story. Symbolism when used as a tool pushes you toward the underlining truth a story. Jean Rhys uses many symbols in her story I Used to Live Here Once. One of central themes of this story is a journey. The woman in the story is on both a literal and figurative journey to discovering the truth of her current…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

How Enduring Love Shapes Perceptions of Love

...Enduring Love is a postmodern novel that explores themes of narrative and knowledge through the relationships of the central character, Joe Rose. Joe is a science journalist in a "childless marriage of love" with Clarissa Rose, an English professor of Keats. Although Joe approaches the world through rationality and Clarissa approaches it through emotion, they are happy together and have a stable, comfortable world. Joe is the main narrator of the book and he often makes references to narrative choices of exclusion or inclusion of details. He explains that he chooses his beginning because it is the point that makes the most "sense." Joe starts the story with Clarissa and Joe's reunion picnic being interrupted by a hot air balloon accident. Joe and a few other men try to save a child trapped in a balloon, but the high winds force all the men except one to drop the ropes. That man, John Logan, a doctor and family-man from Oxford, is carried up into the sky by the balloon until he eventually falls to his death. His shocking and senseless death deeply upsets Joe and Clarissa and they try to comfort each other and make "sense" of the event by telling it as a story. Also at the balloon accident is a lonely, religious young man named Jed Parry. He shares a look with Joe and becomes convinced that they are in love. Later that night, as Clarissa and Joe are falling asleep, Parry calls Joe to tell him that he loves him. Joe tries to cope with the disturbing accident by writing an......

Words: 1229 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Theme and Narrative Elements in a Short Story

...THEME AND NARRATIVE ELEMENTS IN A SHORT STORY XAVION LAY INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE JACLYN MALLAN-KING THEME AND NARRATIVE ELEMENTS IN A SHORT STORY The short story that was chosen to write this paper was the Welcome Table by Alice Walker that was written in 1970. This story being racial in theme and treatment was one of the best stories and that was heartfelt in this book. While without describing the story in detail I will point out its theme and narrative elements that make this story what it is today. Just as in the Oxford Companion to African American Literature states: “Though we are aware of the dismissal of so much black American writing for so many years because it did not conform to prevailing aesthetic or critical canons, our understanding of literature is not restricted to these traditional genres.” (Oxford Companion, 1997) This book was definitely written by one the greatest writers ever know. She placed her heart mind and soul into the writings of which she made which brings me to the writing of the Welcome Table. The Welcome Table was a short story that had a racial theme. Due to the story taking place in the time that black who were referred to as colored at the time could not congregate in the same place as whites. The point of view that was in play was omniscient. This is a story is written from another point of view. Not that of the person that is in the story but from someone on the outside that understands the way the character in the story feels...

Words: 638 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Theme of a Story

...The Theme of a Story Ace Ventura ENG 125 Introduction to Literature Roger Rabbit July 14, 2011 The Theme of a Story Throughout life a person can recall a memory that basically shaped their lives. Often they recount important events that made them into the person they were meant to be. The selection this week is about a memory of a 15 year old young woman that is shaped by something that happened to her while working for a doctor and his wife. She tells about the events when she was 15 that ironically led to the introduction of her eventual husband into her life. Clugston (2010) shows us that “we all filter our relationship to literature through our individual experiences” (Section 7.1, para. 4). In other words, personally, How I Met My Husband, by Alice Murno (1974), is written with the themes of love, heartbreak, and secrecy. Love is a common recurring theme throughout the story. Although love is a common theme in fiction, the type of love in this story is ignorant love. Edie is the main character of How I Met My Husband. Alice Murno sets the story in a first-person point of view. The reader captures the story from Edie’s viewpoint. Henry Baron tells us, “Edie is both eager for and rather innocent about romance” (Section The Story, para. 2). She is young and naïve to anything of love and intimate relationships. The connection she makes with Chris Watters and the eventual “intimacy” they share brings out the young innocent girl in her. Murno (1974) makes......

Words: 966 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

How Society Shapes Family Life

...definition, we understand that structure of society is built-up by the rules and principles (including norm and values) regulating its member behavior. Family, as a part of this social structure, is also shaped by these rules and principles. There are many ways how society shape family life so that it is no longer merely individual choices, but also reflection of social structure, three of them are: 1. Society influences who has authority in the family Patriarchal family: father/husband exercises authority at home. This pattern is the most common pattern in the world. However, some societies (e.g. society of Muslim countries) are more strict in this pattern than the others. Egalitarian family: authority is distributed equally between husband and wife. For example, most Western European societies are now shifting to this pattern (Monnier, 2010). 2. Society influences where a newly married couples live Patrilocal family: newlywed lives in family from the groom side. For example, this occurs in North Africa countries such as Morocco and Algeria. Neolocal family: newlywed lives in their own home, separate from their parents. This is the case for most of western societies (Monnier, 2010). 3. Society influences how many spouse(s) one can have in a family Monogamy: one person can only have one spouse. This is the most common pattern all over the world. A sub-pattern of monogamy is serial-monogamy, which is a person is involved in a serial one-to-one intimate......

Words: 416 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Place and How It Shapes Us

...William Holloway Professor Kitty Nard ENG 115 10 December 2013 Venice Beach: The Definitive Place of Los Angeles When many people think of Los Angeles, they have these preconceptions that Los Angeles is associated with shopping, entertainment, art, the beach, and its well-known sense of escapism it offers many people who live there. Considering this is how most of the world views Los Angeles, these are their preconceptions when they come here to visit. When foreigners come here, they tend to believe that Los Angeles is a place that is stricken with glamor and elegance. This ideology is attributed to the modern Hollywood film culture that Los Angeles is closely associated with. However, once they come here they realize that, just like most cities, Los Angeles has an upper class suburban area that is very enjoyable for those who live there, and a sketchy urban area which is not as pleasant as the well-kept suburban areas. Unfortunately, there are very few places where you can experience all of these aspects of Los Angeles. This is due to the fact that Los Angeles is a very fast paced city, which sometimes makes it difficult to experience the city the way you intended. However, Venice Beach is a place where you can experience everything Los Angeles is associated with: its shopping, entertainment, art, and the beach. Unlike most places, Venice Beach is very rare in the sense that is offers the more sophisticated side of Los Angeles, while also capturing the city’s......

Words: 1587 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

How to Tell a War Story

...Richie Burner ENWR-106 How to Tell a True War Story 26 February, 2013 If you don’t know how to analyze writing and don’t understand metaphoric speaking then this is not a story for you. O’Brien constantly goes against every Americans thoughts of a war story; he tells the reader that they’re all fake. O’Brien believes war stories don’t actually have to do with people do with heroic things, because every solider is a hero. The average person who was not in combat would not get a true war story because no one has experienced what soldier’s experience. They have seen things and felt things emotionally that no other person will ever see or feel. A ex soldier out look on life is completely different than your average person because they are use to different life style. So all this boils down to one thing, no one will ever understand soldier’s and O’Brien uses “How to Tell a True War Story” to prove this. Through out the story O’Brien talks to the reader as if they don’t know anything. Although he has to approach the reader like this so he can thoroughly explain his point. Since no one understands a soldier’s life he has to write this way, the misunderstanding of soldiers is proven within the first page of the story when rat explains his friend to his sister in a letter that he sent her. “ Stainless steel balls, Rat tells her. The guy was a little crazy, for sure, but crazy in a good way, a real daredevil, because he liked the challenge of it, he liked testing him self,......

Words: 1771 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Theme and Elememt in a Short Story

...Theme and Elememt in a Short Story What is the Theme in a story and how does it relate to the body of the story? I would have to say that the Theme of a story relates to the over all polt of what is happing during the eniter story. In my opion if you had a TV show and it would have the main title and then there would be a Theme for each epoisod. The Theme would let the adduience know what the epoisod was about, but a lot of times you get the Theme at the end of the story when it all comes to getter. For example, in chaper 7, Theme in fiction is associated with something abstract, something broad: The theme in a story is associated with an idea that lies behind the story. Every story narrows a broad underlying idea, shapes it in a unique way, and makes the underlying idea concrete. That's how theme is created. In other words, the theme in a story is a representation of the idea behind the story. To identify a story's theme it's necessary to look beyond the plot. The plot tells you what happens in a story, but the theme tells you what the story is about. What you are required to do, therefore, in identifying theme is to answer the question, How? You should ask questions such as these: How does the writer use setting to narrow the underlying idea? How do characters make particular aspects of the underlying idea clear? How does conflict reveal the strength or worth of the underlying idea? (Clugston) The story of “A Worn Path” theme is in the strength of the woman as she...

Words: 541 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

How to Tell a War Story

...How to Tell a True War Story from The Things They Carried In a true war story, if there's a moral at all, it's like the thread that makes the cloth. You can't tease it out. You can't extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning. And in the end, really, there's nothing much to say about a true war story, except maybe "Oh." True war stories do not generalize. They do not indulge in abstraction or analysis. For example: War is hell. As a moral declaration the old truism seems perfectly true, and yet because it abstracts, because it generalizes, I can't believe it with my stomach. Nothing turns inside. It comes down to gut instinct. A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe. This one does it for me. I've told it before - many times, many versions - but here's what actually happened. We crossed that river and marched west into the mountains. On the third day, my friend Curt Lemon stepped on a boobytrapped artillery round. He was playing catch with Rat Kiley, laughing, and then he was dead. The trees were thick; it took nearly an hour to cut an LZ for the dustoff. Later, higher in the mountains, we came across a baby VC water buffalo. What it was doing there I don't know - no farms, no paddies - but we chased it down and, got a rope around it and led it along to a deserted village where we set up for the night. After supper Rat Kiley went over and stroked its nose. He opened up a can of C rations, pork and beans, but the baby......

Words: 2159 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Comparing Two Stories with the Same Theme

...A Comparison of Two Stories with the Same Theme Angela Baer ENG 125: Introduction to Literature Instructor Hinton September, 3, 2013 In comparing two short stories that include similar themes such as Country Lovers (1975) by Nadine Gordimer and The Necklace (1884) by Guy de Maupassant; it is apparent that not only do they share the same theme of gender roles and marriage they also share the underlying theme of prejudice and stereotyping as well. Both women in these stories marry within their socioeconomic caste and race. However, both women also suffer from prejudice, whether by their hand or the hand of someone else. It is a struggle of women that has been handed down through the ages. The fact that these two stories Country Lovers (1975) and The Necklace (1884) were written almost a century apart and contain the same theme proves this plight for equality of women. Country Lovers (1975) by Nadine Gordimer not only deals with gender roles and arranged marriages but also with racism. This underlying theme of racism is not surprising; since Gordimer lived in South Africa during the apartheid movement. Ms. Gordimer was very much against this socioeconomic movement and included this tone in her writing (Clugston, 2010). Ms. Gordimer once wrote that the importance of great literature is its power to change the consciousness of the reader even if they are unaware it had been done (Gordimer, 2001).This idea is what she wished to accomplish with her writings. She...

Words: 2806 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

How Language Shapes Our Thoughts

...How Language Shapes Our Thought and Reality The title gives the whole picture of the article of how language is one of the most influencing factors of a human’s thoughts and feelings in reality. It also depicts the reality of how human beings are handicapped by words such that they cannot do/think anything without words. But that also doesn’t mean that words arise in our mind first rather than the idea. Our thinking is the proof for this confusion of which comes first. Is it the word or idea? If one wants to think about rain it is actually the idea of rain that comes to the mind first and not the word rain. The words come into scene only when we want to give a name to our thoughts and not simply call it as thoughts. Language is so closely knit to our culture, our ideas and our way of lifestyle. The most dangerous thing happening now in the present scenario is the process of languages going extinct. This is an indication of a whole lot of changes taking over our lives in all possible ways. Each language is unique in its own way and is different from each other. But the whole point of having language is conveying our thoughts to other people. So whatever difference is there in the language can be encouraged because it is going to reflect same meaning. Some languages may not have the exact word for a person’s particular thought process but still that language excels in its own way. Today most of the people know English and an additional language that is their mother tongue....

Words: 362 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

How Google Thinks and Shape Things

...certain offence unforgivable and will not seek reconciliation. Usually, however, family members try to recover a sense of personal and relationship wellbeing by endeavoring to forgive and reconcile. This can be a long and arduous process. Therapists are often consulted to facilitate such healing. My purpose in writing this paper is to share my understanding of some of the complexities involved. The perspective that I adopt is a social constructionist or ‘bringforthist’ stance. I assume that through caring conversation, it. is possible to bring forth preferred ways of thinking and interacting that can lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. MUTUAL HURTS The duration and effects of any particular conflict between family members depends on how differences are managed in the nuances of ongoing family interaction: Conflicts vary from brief disagreements that are hardly noticeable, to extremely destructive emotional and physical battles that last for years. During any major episode of conflict, all parties involved tend to feel unfairly treated by others. For instance, in an ordinary family argument each person will try to protect the self from unfair accusations by using defensive statements or counter-attacks that may end up disqualifying and hurting the other. In these situations, both parties in the conflict feel wronged and both contribute to the hurt and suffering. Mutual wrongs, however, do not balance each other out and there is often a significant `magnitude gap’ with......

Words: 3760 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

How Strategy Shapes Structure

...chosen, success will depend on creating an aligned set of strategy propositions targeted at three different sets of stakeholders: buyers, shareholders, and the people working for or with the organization. This article builds on the concept of value innovation, the concept of being able to increase value while reducing costs at the same time. This article was referenced by Paul E. Kmen in his paper on how companies can break the trade-off between improving the sustainability in their offerings versus the higher costs associated with becoming a truly social responsible company. The paper illustrates how becoming environmental-friendly can actually lower the production costs by reducing the inputs used. By not taking the structure of the operating environment as a given, a company may generate additional revenues from better products and create new businesses by taking a reconstructionist approach to strategy. This article argues that there are two types of strategy: structuralist strategies that assume that the operating environment is given and reconstructionist strategies that seek to shape the environment. Structuralist strategies require that the three propositions -- the value, the profit, and the people propositions -- focus on delivering either low cost or differentiation. Reconstructionist strategy propositions aim to deliver both. Where the approaches diverge is in the nature of their proper alignment. Whether an organization takes the structuralist or the......

Words: 829 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Theme and Narrative Elements in a Short Story Essay

...A short story illustrates the effectiveness of the plot, particularly one that has a surprise ending such as, “The Gift of the Magi”. In this story of Jim and Della, they are approaching Christmas and have very little money to spend on one another. They each want to surprise the other one with a marvelous gift for Christmas but they have little money and Della only has $1.87. Della ends up cutting her hair for the money while Jim sells his cherished watch. Through selfless acts done for love, they each end up giving one another a Christmas gift they will always remember and cherish. It didn’t matter to either of them what they had to do in order to provide the gift. The theme was portrayed by the literary elements within the story. Plot, point of view and symbolism are just a few of the literary elements which helped developed the theme of the story. The story I read and critiqued was, “The gift of the Magi”. In order to find the theme of this short story, I had to look beyond the plot, which tells the reader what happened in the story (Clugston, 2010, section 5.5). The theme of this story I believe would be “selfless love”. Other readers, who read the same short story as I did, might have an entirely different theme. This is actually to be expected and is even common. This is because every reader has a different relationship to literature due to each individual’s different experience throughout life. The theme of selfless love, I chose due to I feel like the writer chose...

Words: 1156 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

How Playing Sports Keeps You in Shape

...Khadija Washington July 18, 2012 Commstud.103.31 How Playing Sports Keeps You in Shape Specific Purpose Statement: To inform my audience how playing sports keep you in shape. Pattern of Organization: Topical Order I. Introduction A. Attention Grabber: YouTube video of Move Your Body by Beyoncé. B. Reveal Topic: I’ll be talking about how playing sports keeps you in shape. C. Credibility Statement: I have eight years of experience playing sports. I started playing sports in fifth grade. I have played basketball, volleyball and softball. D. How topic relates to audience: I’m sure many of you can understand trying to stay healthy and in shape (especially in college). How many of you feel like you’re in shape? What do you do to stay in shape? E. Preview of main points: Thanks for your responses or move on…. Today I will discuss the following topics: How childhood obesity can be reduced by playing sports, and which sports improve your health and wellness. II. Body: [Connective: The first thing I would like to discuss is how childhood obesity can be reduced by playing sports.] A. Main Point 1: Childhood obesity can be reduced by playing sports. 1. Childhood obesity statistics. 2. Personal Experience. [Connective: Now that I’ve discussed how childhood obesity can be reduced by sports lets discuss which sports can improve your health and wellness. B. Main Point 2: ...

Words: 459 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

How the Theme Education Extended in Fahrenheit 451 Novel

...HOW THE THEME EDUCATION EXTENT IN THE NOVEL ENTITLED FAHRENHEIT 451 BY RAY BRADBURY Fahrenheit 451 is a science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury that tells the story of a future world in which books are banned and burned, TV becomes everyone’s drug of choice, and independent thinking is basically illegal. This novel describes about what happens when books are forgotten or suppressed, and it makes the author’s arguments about the book as a keystone to intellectual freedom and education of the human being. Fahrenheit 451 begins with an ambiguous opening line: "It was a pleasure to burn" (33). The story emphasizes on the live of a fireman named Guy Montag. Inside this story, the author describes that the people live in an era where the houses are all fireproof, people are addicted with TV and radio and the most extreme is that the main job of the fireman is not to end a fire but to start one. Fireman’s job is to find books and burn them. In the beginning of the story Guy Montag was very confirmative, went along with everything the government had ordered him to do and didn’t really question anything. But by the end of the story, he was completely different. He had changed his views completely. One reason that motivated Montag to change was his curiosity. His curiosity started when Montag saw Clarisse McClellan, the 17 years old girl who lived in his neighborhood. Clarisse was really the first person to open up Montag’s mind by asking him questions about his job, “But why do......

Words: 1170 - Pages: 5