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What is the theme of the novel "Where the Heart Is" by Billie Letts?Complete...

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babiidiesel01 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2008 at 4:48 AM via web

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What is the theme of the novel "Where the Heart Is" by Billie Letts?

Complete a formal analysis of the theme presented in your novel. You may focus on specific details in the novel in order to assess the author's attempt/success at presenting the theme.

First of all, what is a formal analysis, and secondly what is the theme of the book? What can I write about for the theme HARDSHIPS OF BEING A SINGLE MOTHER?  Can anyone help me please?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 14, 2008 at 10:33 AM (Answer #1)

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A formal analysis means you should pick the element you feel is most strongly represented in the piece you are analyzing. A formal analysis means paying attention to the details of form in the book, not what it is about (the content). The form includes genre, use of imagery, narrative structure.  In “Where The Heart Is,” there are several themes. “The most prominent theme revealed in the novel relates to the title. Sister Husband tells Novalee early on that "Home is where your history begins," and the women make a home together for themselves and Novalee's daughter, Americus. This concept of nontraditional family acts as the central theme of the novel.”  Another theme in the book is the concept of class.  Novalee is a working class American girl.  She is pregnant with no father available for her baby.  She only succeeds in raising Americus because of the help from the community.  The theme that it takes a village to raise a child in today’s America is developed throughout the novel.  The themes of religion, education, teen pregnancy, and race all play an important part in making this a coming of age story for Novalee Nation.

 

“She sat in the dark and tried not to think of the mess she was in. She had been pushing it from her mind all day but now the thoughts rushed in.”  (pg 30)  Thus, Novalee finds herself, 17, pregnant, no money and left by Willy Jack to fend for herself. 

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