[SOLVED] Thematic Analysis

Thematic Analysis
What is it?
Analysis of theme involves working the concept, thought, opinion or belief that the author expresses. It is very common (and helpful) to consider theme when analyzing another aspect of literature rather than on its own. The theme of a work is the main message, insight, or observation the writer offers.
The importance of theme in literature can be overestimated; the work of fiction is more than just the theme. However, the theme allows the author to control or give order to his perceptions about life.
There are many different ways to approach thematic analysis. However, this variety means there is also some confusion about the nature of thematic analysis. The goal of a thematic analysis is to identify themes, i.e. patterns that are important or interesting, and use these themes to address the research or say something about an issue. This is much more than simply summarising the work; a good thematic analysis interprets and makes sense of it. A theme is characterised by its significance.
Themes should be coherent, and they should be distinct from each other. Things to think about include: • Do the themes make sense?
• Does the work/literature support the themes?
• Am I trying to fit too much into a theme?
• If themes overlap, are they really separate themes?
• Are there themes within themes (subthemes)?
How do you find the theme?
Sometimes the theme can be discovered by reading through the work and looking for topics that show up again and again. When you were reading the work, did you think, “Ah, didn’t he already talk about that?” If you did, then you have probably noted a theme.
If you are having trouble picking out a theme, examine the relations among the parts of a story and the relations of the parts to the whole:
Characters: What kind of people does the story deal with?
Plot: What do the characters do? Are they in control of their lives, or are they controlled by fate?
Motivation: Why do the characters behave as they do, and what motives dominate them?
Style: How does the author present reality? Does he habitually use long or short sentences? What kind of paragraphs are there? Are they short and conversational or are they long and involved? Is the work divided up? If so, how and where?
Tone: What is the author’s attitude towards his subject?
Values: Does it seem like the author is making a value judgment? What are the values of the characters in the story? What values does the author seem to promote?
Think about how the author conveys his ideas.
o Direct statements.
o Imagery and symbolism.
o A character’s thoughts or statements.
o A character who stands for something (e.g. an archetype*)
o Overall impression/tone/moral of the work
An example of the beginning of a theme analysis
A major theme in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is growing up. Throughout the work Alice changes size twelve times. People change size when they grow up. The size change equating to growing up is also a metaphor; in English the description “being bigger” often means “being older.” For the purposes of the story, Alice grows both larger and smaller, but with each change, Carroll is symbolizing Alice’s maturation process. Each time she grows larger or smaller, she has to deal with a problem related to the change in her size.
The very first size change comes when she has recklessly followed the White Rabbit down the hole and into Wonderland. She found a key which unlocked a door, but she could not go through it because she was the wrong size. This fantastical situation happens often in real life. As children are growing up, they often feel that they are not the right size to do whatever they want to do. One day they might feel that they should be bigger so that they might go wherever they wished and the next day they might feel that they should be smaller so they do not have to do chores. Thus Alice’s desire to be a different size in the very first chapter of the book indicates that growing up is a major theme in the work.
Write a well-organized essay that identifies the theme you believe the author(s) conveys through the short story, drama, or poem. How does the author use characters, events and literary devices to illustrate the theme? Use evidence from the text to support your analysis. Make sure your paper is in MLA format. You will need to document your source(s) at the end of the paper in your Work Cited page. Follow the directions and videos I have uploaded for MLA format, in-text citations, and correct citation format on your Work Cited page.
Guiding Questions
What important idea or theme does this literary work convey?
What do characters do that helps illustrate this idea?
What do characters say that helps to illustrate this idea?
What events take place in the work that help to illustrate this idea?
Are there any recurrent images or clusters of images? Do these images support the idea or theme that you find in the work?
What does the narrator say that helps to illustrate this idea?
Writing your Essay
Read the grading rubric for this essay so you know what is expected.
Determine the theme.
Form a thesis statement.
Use a minimum of two (4) direct quotes from the text to support the main idea of your essay. Don’t rely on the quotes to explain themselves. Introduce the quote, give the quote, and follow it up with your own thoughts, ideas, on how this quote works to meet the needs of that paragraph.
Lead your reader into the quote,
comment on the quote, and
show how the quote supports your main idea.
Follow the guidelines for MLA format for your paper. If you do not remember how to do MLA, please go back to owl.purdue.edu to see examples and get references for MLA.
Make sure that you create a Work Cited Page with your source(s), and any other sources that you use for this paper. They must be listed in alphabetical order.
NOTE: For this paper you are not required to use any external outside sources; however, you are allowed to use them if you wish. If you do use external sources, you must document them on your Work Cited Page.
Also, if you want to do a comparison of themes across two different stories, you are allowed to do this as well. Some ideas are listed below containing the stories that we have covered this semester.
What are some common themes we have noted this Unit?
Below, I have listed a few that are common threads between works. It will help you get started in looking for your own intricate connections between works. What is listed below is by no means all of the themes that are present and evident from the readings we did this semester. It will get you started on an idea of where you might want this paper to go.
You can choose one of the themes below to write on and do a comparison of two works or come up with your own theme that you noticed in the work(s) we have read this Unit and do a comparison between two works. OR, You can simply choose one work that we covered this semester and cover a theme within that particular work.
“The Yellow Wallpaper”
“A Rose For Emily”
Good vs. Evil
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”
“The River”
“Good Country People”
Religion / Positive and Negative Aspects
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”
“Good Country People”
“The River”
Familial Relationships
“The Yellow Wallpaper”
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”
“Everyday Use”
Mental Disturbances
“The Yellow Wallpaper”
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”
“A Rose For Emily”
“Barn Burning”
African American Works/Culture/Dialect/Regionalism
“Everyday Use”
“The Wife of His Youth”
“The Goophered Grampevine”
Following Tradition vs. Change
“Everyday Use”
“A Rose For Emily”
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Realism Versus Naturalism
“Maggie A Girl of the Streets”
“The Storm”
“Under the Lion’s Paw”
Relationships/Challenges of Love
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
“Hills Like White Elephants”
Thematic Analysis

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