• Analysis: Writer’s Theme, Message                     Name __________________

     

    The theme of a piece of writing is the idea it falls under, in 1-3 words—things like “love” or “revenge” or “growing up” or “women’s rights.”

     

    The writer’s message about the theme is their point, expressed in a complete sentence. It’s the moral of the story.

     

    We always try to guess these when we read. There may be several right answers. Practice below on the excerpts from editorials published online. What policy suggestion or fact is, or might soon be, implied in the editorial?

     

    1.      “My first assignment was to take an entire online college course for a kid. I finished a master’s thesis for a student at [a top three Korean university], I’ve written philosophy papers for students at [a top ten American university]… And I hate these kids. And their parents," says Anthony. "They're invariably the worst sort of people—rich, awful, entitled.”

     

    Theme: __________________

    Message: ______________________________________________________

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    1.      In 1942, 18-year-old Iris Lopez, a Mexican-American woman, started working at the Calship Yards in Los Angeles. Working on the home front building Victory Shipsnot only added to the war effort, but allowed Iris to support her family.
               Iris’ participation in the World War II effort made her part of a celebrated timein US history, when economic opportunities opened up for women and youth of color.
               However, before joining the shipyards, Iris was entangled in another lesser-known history. At the age of 16, Iris was committed to a California institution and sterilized.

    Theme: __________________

    Message: ______________________________________________________

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    1.      “He would always see the straight kids holding hands and making out in the halls,” the unnamed girl said, according to the 2015 studypublished in the Journal of Adolescent Research, “and one day after school [her bisexual friends] were holding hands and the vice principal dragged them into his office and suspended my friend Elisabeth for a week and gave my friend Jenna detention for three days and later called their parents and outed them.”

     

    Theme: __________________

    Message: ______________________________________________________

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    1.      Michael Stovall’s history with farming has been full of turmoil and trouble. A fourth-generation Alabama farmer with decades of experience raising cattle, he should have been poised for success as he got ready to start his own farm, with about 60 cows, in Tennessee in the early 90s. Instead, according to Stovall, he faced not just systemic discrimination as he worked with the USDA to try to obtain startup loans for his business, but even vandalism of his property over the years as he fought back against the loan denial decisions that he attributed to the color of his skin.

     

     

    Theme: __________________

    Message: ______________________________________________________

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    1.      Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I was about to miss a green light because of the dawdling driver and I honked my horn at her. It was just enough to grab her attention and get her moving a little faster.

             "I don't like to honk at people," I told the kids, "but sometimes you've just got to wake people up."
             The woman kept driving in the same direction we were, and as we were almost to church, I realized that we had been following her there the whole time. Sure enough, she pulled into the parking lot and drove off to find a space. She had probably been using the GPS on her phone to figure out how to get there.
             I eased into a space in the church parking lot that was far from where she was headed. I didn't want her to realize that I was "that guy" who had honked at her. I had assumed the worst and it was too late to take it back.

     

    Theme: __________________
    Message: ______________________________________________________
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    1.      Every night in Sacramento County, hundreds of people – including approximately 100 children – lay their heads down to sleep on the seats of the cars they call home. “The number of people, including families with children, living in their cars in Sacramento County has drastically increased in the last four years,” according to a story by The Sacramento Bee’s Theresa Clift. “Volunteerscanvassing the county in Januaryfound four times the number of vehicles where people were living than they counted in 2015.”

         Living in a car is hard enough, but city laws make it even harder. When you live in your car, parking tickets and tow trucks become an existential threat. When a person’s shelter gets towed away, they can lose all of their belongings in the process.

         That’s what happened to Gwen Mayse, who lives in a Honda Accord in North Sacramento with her two small dogs. Her daughter lives nearby in a Jeep Cherokee.

         “Mayse has had three cars towed in recent years,” wrote Clift. “She never gets them back. When her Ford Expedition parked on an Elk Grove street earlier this summer got towed, she and her daughter lost everything – clothes, toiletries, tools, their new car jack, and even Mayse’s birth certificate.”

    Theme: __________________

    Message: ______________________________________________________

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Last Modified on August 11, 2019