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Establishing Theme through

Characterization
The theme of a major work of literature can be revealed in several ways, one of which is through
characterization. Authors reveal larger truths by creating characters and situations (conflicts) that
demonstrate those truths.
In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author uses the major characters (Daisy, Tom, Jordan,
Nick, and Gatsby) to reveal some of the universal truths examined in the novel.

For each character in the Character Analysis Activities that we completed in class, look back at the
assertions you made about that character. Pick the best assertion for each character and them in the
table below. Then write the noun form of the adjective in the right-hand column. One is completed as
an example.

GATSBY is (adjective form)

Thematic idea (noun form)

DAISY is (adjective form)

Thematic idea (noun form)

NICK is (adjective form)

Thematic idea (noun form)

TOM is (adjective form)

Thematic idea (noun form)

JORDAN is (adjective form)

Thematic idea (noun form)

distrustful

distrust

USING THE THEMATIC IDEAS, WRITE THEMATIC STATEMENTS BASED ON EACH OF THE ASSERTIONS ABOVE.

Example:
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the idea that

distrust

can cause a person to damage close relationships


(Write an assertion about the thematic idea.)

which can eventually lead to a lonely existence.

(Write the thematic idea here.)

(Add a qualifying clause [when, because, unless, even, so that, whether, if, etc.] to explain what the novel teaches about the thematic idea.)

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the idea that


(Write the thematic idea here.)

(Write an assertion about the thematic idea.)

(Add a qualifying clause [when, because, unless, even, so that, whether, if, etc.] to explain what the novel teaches about the thematic idea.)

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the idea that

(Write the thematic idea here.)

(Write an assertion about the thematic idea.)

(Add a qualifying clause [when, because, unless, even, so that, whether, if, etc.] to explain what the novel teaches about the thematic idea.)

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the idea that


(Write the thematic idea here.)

(Write an assertion about the thematic idea.)

(Add a qualifying clause [when, because, unless, even, so that, whether, if, etc.] to explain what the novel teaches about the thematic idea.)

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the idea that

(Write the thematic idea here.)

(Write an assertion about the thematic idea.)

(Add a qualifying clause [when, because, unless, even, so that, whether, if, etc.] to explain what the novel teaches about the thematic idea.)

Abstract Words for Thematic Ideas


STUDENT RESOURCE
Use the following THEMATIC IDEAS to create a thematic statement that reveals universal meaning.
As you develop your thematic statement, consider these questions:

What does the text say about

What is the life lesson being taught about

What are the authors ideas about

As you read and discuss various texts, add other thematic ideas in the available space below.

THEMATIC IDEAS
alienation
appearance vs. reality
betrayal
coming of age
courage
dreams
education

escape
evil
fate
forgiveness
freedom
grief
honor
honesty
identity
journey
justice
love
loyalty
nature
perseverance
power
prejudice
pride
rebellion
relationships
religion

loneliness
beauty (inner/outer)
disloyalty
innocence (loss of)
cowardice
illusion
learning
(physical/psychological)

good (battle between)


free will
repentance
individuality (loss of)
despair
heroism
deception
(search for)
(psychological/physical)
equality
obsession
duty
(mans relationship with)
hardship
corruption
stereotypes
hubris
conformity
family
faith

revenge
ritual
social status
success
temptation
time
violence
women

retribution
tradition
class structures
failure
sin
life stages/cycles
war
feminism