CUNYLC The Value of Active Critical Learning as In The Lesson by Bambara Essay
Theme Analysis Essay
Objective: Write a 3-page theme analysis of (one) of the short stories assigned for this course.
- Make a COMPELLING argument by answering one of the provided questions about “The Lesson,” OR “The Ones Who Stay and Fight.”
- SUPPORT that argument over the length of your essay.
Definition: A theme is an abstract concept brought to life and made real through the plot, characters, and other narrative elements of a story.
A thematic statement is an underlying central idea that a piece of literature communicates about a theme.
A piece of literature can have more than one theme and can offer more than one thematic statement about a theme.
As you read your chosen story, think about the comment the author is making about her subject matter. What revelations about human behavior or the conduct of society, or insight into the human condition is the author conveying?
Remember that LITERARY ANALYSIS is the focus, not summary.
Options for Essay
Write an organized 3-page essay that answers ONE of the following questions:
“The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara
Option 1: In your opinion, how does Sylvia’s experiences as a young girl and as one of Miss Moore’s students highlight the value of active, critical education? Cite specific evidence from the story to support your argument.
Option 2: How do Miss Moore’s teaching strategies and Sylvia and her peers’ reactions to these strategies challenge popular beliefs about the process of learning? Cite specific evidence from the story to support your argument.
“The Ones Who Stay and Fight” by N.K. Jemisin
Option 1: In your opinion, what important message(s) about creating a just, inclusive world might be gleaned by reflecting on the societal structure of Um-Helat? Cite specific evidence from the story to support your argument. (You can choose to focus on ONE or SEVERAL messages in your essay. The choice is yours)
- Read and reread your chosen short story
- Consider how the author uses characters, events, and literary devices to illustrate the theme? Pull evidence from the text to answer these questions
- Compose a working thesis statement using your answers to steps 2 and 3
- Make an outline for your essay
- Write and revise
Guiding Questions to help you analyze your short story
- What important idea or themes 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?