Determine the Theme of a Poem
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Basics on the topic Determine the Theme of a Poem
Finding the Theme of a Poem
Poems are lyrical texts which often convey messages about specific events, topics or people. These central topics and messages are called the theme of a poem. But, how do you find the theme of a poem? If you are wondering ‘how to find a theme of a poem’, then read on!
The most important thing is using text evidence to find the theme of a poem. To find the theme of a poem, it is important to use close reading skills. First, identify the topic of the poem. Next, identify the important details of the poem. These important details can then help you determine the theme of a poem.
The Theme of a Poem – Example
Let’s have a look at an example of the steps to finding the theme of a poem! This is the poem we want to find the theme to:
“The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
the score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Dundee died at first, and Zayd did the same,
a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.”
Remember, the first step to finding a theme in a poem is to identify the topic of the poem. To do so, we look at words in the poem’s lines that tell us about the situation. These are the keywords that tell us about the poem’s topic.
The words Mudville nine, score, to play and game tell us that there is some sport being played here. The word inning tells us about a very specific game – Baseball.
So we have identified the topic!
Next, we look at each stanza, and highlight the important details. Below you will see the important details that were identified from the poem.
The first stanza sounds rather desperate. The outlook wasn’t brilliant because there was only one inning more to play and therefore a sickly silence fell upon the members of the Mudville nine.
The second stanza speaks about hope which springs, if only Ari could get but a whack. So it just needs one little bit of luck for the Mudville nine to turn the game to their favor! Now we can use all of the important details to identify the theme.
When we look at the important details of the poem, we can a see that the first desperate stanza is followed by the second stanza indicating that it only needs one little bit of luck to turn the game. This is what lets the team hope. So the common theme in this poem is hope!
But a poem may have more than just one theme. If you keep to the keywords in a poem and use them as text evidence, you may find more topics, even in this poem!
Find Theme of a Poem – Review
Remember, to find the theme of a poem you need to the following:
|What to do
|Identify the topic
|Identify the important details
| Use the important details to
identify the theme.
Finding the theme is not always easy. But it will get easier with some practice! If you want to practise finding the theme of a poem, you can find interactive exercises, worksheets and more activities on finding the theme of a poem below!
Transcript Determine the Theme of a Poem
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day. The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play, and then when Dundee died at first, and Zayd did the same, a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game. While Ari and Zayd continue to act out a variation of the famous poem about an American baseball game, ‘Casey at the Bat’, let's look at how to determine the theme of a poem. The theme is the lesson or message of a poem. Some common themes you may see in poetry are love, friendship, courage and hope! There are many more themes that you may come across the more you read poetry. So, how can we identify the theme? Sometimes, the title of a poem can make the theme very obvious. For example, if a poem was called ‘Braving the Sea’ it is more than likely that the theme of this poem would be bravery. However, most poems require us to use close reading skills to determine the theme. In order to do that, we first identify the topic. Then, identify important details about the topic. Finally, identify the theme from the information. Let's practise with this poem, a variation of a famous American poem called "Casey at the Bat". First, we need to identify the topic. A topic is the general subject of writing so in this poem the topic is baseball. Now, we can begin to identify important details that will help us to identify the theme. Let's take a look at the first stanza, which is similar to a paragraph, to find important details. The outlook wasn't brilliant' is an important detail because it gives us our mood, one of despair, or sadness. ‘But one inning more to play' is another important detail because it tells us about the current situation; there is only one inning left in the game! ‘A sickly silence fell' is another important detail because it sets the stage and helps us visualise the fans going quiet with each batter that is out. Now let's move on to the second stanza. Can you find any important details in the second stanza? ‘With the hope that springs' is an important detail since it explains that the fans have some belief they can still win the game. Can you find one more important detail? ‘If only Ari could get one whack' because it tells who the fans believe can change the outcome. With all of our important details, we can identify the theme. Based on the important details, what is the theme of this poem? Hope is the theme of this poem! In the first stanza, the fans were beginning to lose all hope in their team, but in the second stanza, they remember they have Ari, so they begin to regain hope! While Ari steps up to bat, let's review! The theme is the lesson or message of a poem. There are many themes that can be found in poetry. To identify the theme of a poem: first, identify the topic. Next, identify details about the topic. Then, identify the theme from the gathered information. Well, it looks like the fan favourite is finally out to bat. Can Ari save the day?
Determine the Theme of a Poem exercise
What is the theme in a poem?Hints
The reason why an author writes what they write is the author's purpose.
Symbolism is when an object or word represents something else in a story.Solution
Theme is the lesson or message of a poem. Some common themes are: love, friendship, courage and hope.
What close reading skills can help you identify the theme of a poem?Hints
A close reading skill is to identify the topic.
A close reading skill is to identify important details.
There are three correct choices.Solution
Close reading skills include identifying the topic, identifying important details and identifying the theme from the information.
Determine the theme of a poem.Hints
The title of a poem can give you clues to the poem's theme.
Working together can be an example of a friendship theme.
Something better that will happen tomorrow can be an example of a hope theme.Solution
Sometimes we can determine the theme from the title of a poem. Most poems require us to use close reading skills as well.
Identify the important details that support the theme of the poem.Hints
Cricket wants to play with Otis. This is an example of friendship.
When Otis is laying in the grass, is this an example of friendship?
Look for all the examples where Cricket is trying to encourage Otis to play, for example, by singing to him.Solution
The lines that support the theme of friendship are shown in bold.
Cricket chirps to Otis, "Come play!"
But Otis just wants to lay.
Cricket chirps his melody,
But Otis is sunning today.
So Cricket hops on Otis' nose,
Because he sees no other way.
Then Otis wags his tail with glee,
And Cricket chirps, "Finally!"
What are some common themes in poetry?Hints
What theme from the choices fits best here?
What theme from the choices fits best here?
Courage means having bravery or showing personal strength.Solution
Some common themes of poetry are: love, friendship, courage and hope.
What details support the theme of the poem?Hints
- Jessica and Jona are laughing and sharing joy.
- Do these details support the theme of love?
There are 3 supporting details.Solution
The lines that support the theme of love are shown in bold.
Jessa and Jona love to flow,
To dance to music wherever they go,
They twirl with lights,
On melodic nights,
Singing and drumming,
Their hearts always humming,
They share joy all around,
Adding laughter to the sound.