As readers, it’s not uncommon to get lost in the details of a story and forget about the bigger picture. But understanding the central theme of a story is crucial to understanding the author’s message and the characters’ motivations.
So how do we discover the theme in an excerpt? It’s all about reading between the lines and identifying the underlying message.
First, look for any recurring images or symbols. These could be physical objects or actions that are repeated throughout the excerpt. For example, if a character keeps mentioning the color red or the sound of a train whistle, these could be symbolic of a larger theme.
Next, pay attention to the characters’ attitudes and behavior. What values do they demonstrate? Are they striving for something? Are they struggling against something? These clues can give insight into the theme.
Finally, look for any overt statements or dialogue that express a particular idea or opinion. Sometimes authors will outright state the theme, but more often than not, it’s implicit in the story.
By combining these three approaches, we can begin to piece together the central theme of a story. It’s important to note that themes can be complex and multifaceted, and different readers may interpret them differently. But by taking a step back and looking at the larger picture, we can gain a deeper understanding of the text and its message.