Writing final reports & themes
13 Most Common Themes in Fiction
With your classmates, think of example movies or novels for each of the following themes. Be prepared to share and discuss these examples with the class.
- Humans struggle against nature
- Man or woman struggles against societal pressure
- Man or woman struggles to understand divinity
- Crime does not pay
- Overcoming adversity
- Friendship is dependent on sacrifice
- The importance of family
- Yin and yang (opposites balance each other)
- Love is the worthiest of pursuits
- Death is part of the life cycle
- Sacrifices bring reward
- Human beings all have the same needs
- (add your own idea)
Adapted from John Howrey
Writing about the main themes and “Briefly describe what you learnt from the book”; this will be more important next semester, so this is a kind of practice for it. Use quotes to support your ideas.
Make a mind map to help you. Example:
- Use the 13 common themes in literature to identify the main themes
- Think carefully and identify your own sub-themes
- Find examples, and list the page numbers
Here is p7 from Different Worlds.
For example with the novel Different Worlds by Margaret Johnson:
The story Different Worlds shows many struggles people have in their lives. For instance, the main character Sam is deaf, but her mother and Sam’s romantic interest, Jim, love music, and she listens to their music. It says “When I was a little girl, I liked to put my small hand on the front of Mum’s guitar while she played it. My hand moved a little because of the music. … She was happy that I could feel the vibration of her music when I put my hand on her guitar” (p.6). This tells us that life is not simple, but we can find small moments of happiness anyway.
There are four parts to this paragraph:
- Introduce the theme (eg: #1 Humans struggle against nature)
- Explain the theme.
- Give evidence the theme is real (quote from the book, maximum 50 words)
- Interpretation (why it is important)
Rules of quoting > Very important
- Start with source (eg: The author writes / It says / Sam’s mother says / …)
- “Open quotation
- Quote (exact words, long quotes can be made short. Cut bits out by replacing them with three dots).
- Close quotation”.
- Page number in parenthesis ( ).
- Period / full stop.
The author writes, “Life’s short, so choose to be happy” (p.8).
Sam’s mother says, “Life’s short, so choose to be happy” (p.8).
Ron said to Sam, “Life’s short, so choose to be happy” (p.8).
Sam said to Andrew, “When I was a little girl, I liked to put my small hand on the front of Mum’s guitar while she played it. My hand moved a little because of the music. … She was happy that I could feel the vibration of her music when I put my hand on her guitar” (p.7).
Notice, for a long quote, unnecessary words can be replaced with three dots, “…”.