Theme: What It’s About
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The theme of a literary work is its underlying central idea or the generalization it communicates about life. As you read, think about the comment the author is making about his subject matter. What revelation about the behavior of human beings or the conduct of society, or insight into the human condition is the author attempting to convey throughout the text? At times, the author’s theme may not confirm or agree with your own beliefs, but even then, if it is skillfully written, the work will still have a theme that illuminates some aspects of true human experience.
Write a 4-page, well-organized essay that identifies the theme you believe the author conveys through the book. How does the author use the elements of fiction to illustrate the theme? Use evidence from the text to support your analysis.
What important idea or theme does this literary work convey?
What do the characters do that helps illustrate this idea?
What do the characters say that helps to illustrate this idea?
What events take place in the work that helps 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?
Criteria for Success
A successful essay includes the following:
Clear and arguable thesis that functions as a controlling idea for the essay
Four-part introduction that captures reader interest and strongly orients the reader
PIE body paragraphs in support of the thesis that are clearly focused, organized, and well developed
Well incorporated evidence (quotes and paraphrases) using ICE
Logical transitions that move the reader from one point or idea to the next
A creative title that captures the essence of the essay
Proper MLA formatting and style
Clear and correct sentences, as well as careful proofreading