Response to Literature: theme how to write a great theme essay What is Response to Literature?



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Response to Literature: THEME

What is Response to Literature?

  • Whenever you read non-fiction (A paragraph, a book, a passage, a short story) and have to talk about it, you are responding to literature.
  • There are 2 critical types of RTL: THEME and CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Very often, the purpose for reading is to find the AUTHOR’S MESSAGE. This is another way of saying THEME. They are essentially the same thing.

  • Very often, the purpose for reading is to find the AUTHOR’S MESSAGE. This is another way of saying THEME. They are essentially the same thing.
  • People who read your work want to see if you understood the LESSON about life that was contained in what you read.
  • What’s the purpose of a writing a RTL THEME essay?

Author’s Message: The Heart

  • The author’s message or Theme is a lesson about life that can be applied to most if not ALL people in the world. It should feel like advice for the reader to live by.
  • Sometimes the message will be explicit (very clear) other times, you will need to dig deep to figure it out.

Theme Practice

  • If you’re ever attacked by trolls, you should use the wingardium leviosa spell.
  • Never give up on true friendship
  • Rainbows are a beautiful part of nature

Once you know the theme…

  • Write it out in a VERY clearly sentence like this:
  • The author wants us to learn that we should be thankful for what we have and not dwell on the things we don’t.
  • This is called your TOPIC SENTENCE, or THESIS STATEMENT. In a theme essay, it’s also called the theme or author’s message.

Paragraph 1 of RTL: Theme

  • Hook___
  • Title___
  • Author___
  • Genre___
  • Two Sentence Summary___
  • Theme (Thesis Statement)___

Once you have your topic sentence…

  • Ask yourself how you KNOW that this is what the author wanted us to learn.
  • Where’s the EVIDENCE for your topic sentence?
  • You need 3 details (events from the story) that back up your theme- one in each body paragraph
  • .

Paragraphs 2-4 for RTL: Theme

  • ___1st Event to prove the theme
  • ___Quote from the text (this does not have to be dialogue) (The quote helps to further describe your event for your reader)
  • ___(2)Commentary (This is where you explain how this event proves your theme)
  • (Body paragraphs follow CD-Com-Com: Concrete Detail-Commentary-Commentary)

The 1st Event (Paragraph 2)

  • Event to prove the theme:
  • In the story, Elena has to leave behind the city she loves.

Quote to strengthen the support of your first event P2

  • A quote is needed to prove the theme and it should further describe the event
  • She tells her mother, “Please, mother I want to stay here, all of my friends are here and this is where I belong.”

Two Sentences of Commentary P2

  • Two sentences of commentary means that you need two sentences of your own opinions to explain how this event proves your theme
  • I know the author wanted me to learn that I should be thankful for what I have, because the main character must overcome having to a new city, even though she really liked her old one. She is forced to leave behind all her friends, and because at the end of the story, the character is much happier when she focuses on the things she appreciates, rather than what she doesn’t have.

Sample 1st Body Paragraph

  • In the story, Elena has to leave behind the city she loves. She tells her mother, “Please, mother I want to stay here, all of my friends are here and this is where I belong.” I know the author wanted me to learn that I should be thankful for what I have, because the main character must overcome having to a new city, even though she really liked her old one. She is forced to leave behind all her friends, and because at the end of the story, the character is much happier when she focuses on the things she appreciates, rather than what she doesn’t have.

You already have your first paragraph done! Pretty easy, huh?

So let’s review

  • Paragraphs 2-4 follow this formula:
  • ___ Event to prove the theme
  • ___ Quote from that event to prove the theme
  • ___ Two sentences of commentary where you explain how this event proves the theme you have identified

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Restate the theme___
  • Restate 3 events___
  • Create a feeling of closure___
  • Final Commentary___

Now end with a feeling of closure:

  • Finish with a sentence that supports your thesis statement: My favorite pet is my dog, Romeo.” by saying it a different way.
  • I have never had a better pet.

Paragraph One:

  • Paragraph One:
  • Hook___
  • Title___
  • Author___
  • Genre___
  • Two Sentence Summary___
  • Theme (Thesis Statement)___
  • Paragraphs Two-Four:
  • Event to prove the theme___
  • Quote from the text (this does not have to be dialogue)___
  • (The quote helps to further describe your event for your reader)
  • Commentary (2)___ (This is where you explain how this event proves your theme)
  • Paragraph Five:
  • Restate the theme___
  • Restate 3 events___
  • Create a feeling of closure___
  • Final Commentary___


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