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What is the theme of the story?

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tuttigreen344 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2007 at 3:24 AM via web

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What is the theme of the story?

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:46 AM (Answer #1)

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"What I Have Been Doing Lately" is a brief and unsettling story, and it is also a memorable fantasy. It raises questions about the nature of reality. Even though we go through regular and almost ritualistic activities, are they real? In the world Kincaid creates, visitors ring doorbells and then vanish; the narrator begins a journey but does not go anywhere; she sees the planet Venus while walking north (perhaps suggesting that the story is set in the southern hemisphere?); on close inspection, distant beauty does not sustain itself; loved ones do not remain or else they are unreal, leaving one sad and bereft with no alternative but to repeat the same regular routines. A reader can be reminded of the person who wakes from dreaming while he is doing something, and now doesn’t know if he is a man dreaming about doing somethingtor the something is dreaming about him

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted December 24, 2011 at 3:35 AM (Answer #1)

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One of Poe's important themes of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is the theme of guilt.  In the story, the madman kills another man and his guilt drives him even madder.  The murderer, also the narrator, admits that he killed his victim and seems to be at peace with his decision.  However, his guilt soon surfaces.  Though the dead man is clearly deceased, the mad man continues to hear his heart beat.  To him, the beating heart is so loud that eventually he is forced to confess and shouts his guilt to the police.  Just as hearing the heartbeat drives the man to confess. Poe uses the theme of guilt throughout his short story.

 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 6, 2009 at 5:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Although this novel has many themes, I believe the main theme to be the conflict between the economic classes.  There are two rival gangs at work within The Outsiders:  the Socs and the Greasers.  The Socs represent the upper class while the Greasers represent the lower class.  The Socs "jump "jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next." The Greasers, who are on the low socio-economic end, "steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while."  The conflict between the rich and the poor goes even further than economics, however, and bleeds into value systems.  This is perfectly illustrated by the character of Cherry, herself a member of the Socs.  "You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything."  Although the Greasers have the advantage in that we see the story through Ponyboy's eyes, the Socs obviously have the economic advantage.  In my opinion, there is a strange sadness surrounding this theme because we are never told that the conflict between the classes can ever be solved, . . . it can simply be understood.  Therefore, perhaps this is what Ponyboy is attempting to delve into by quoting Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay," because the title of the poem in itself exudes truth even in the midst of that understanding.

Noelle Thompson

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 26, 2009 at 2:14 AM (Answer #2)

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One of the themes is "stay true to yourself." That's what Johnny's saying to Ponyboy when he tells him to "stay golden." Another theme is kind of cliche, but powerful nonetheless, which is "Never judge a book by its cover." We see Greasers who live up to the stereotype of the juvenile delinquent, Socs who live up to the stereotype of the spoiled, bored, rich kids causing trouble, and those who blow stereotypes out of the water. Johnny is a hero, who saves children at the risk of his own life, & only uses violence in self-defense. Ponyboy loves to read, and does well in school. Cherry fights for the Greasers, and proves herself to be an independent young women. Carrying this further, we find the theme that "The same sun sets on all of us," meaning that we all carry essential aspects of humanity within ourselves.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 11, 2007 at 12:58 PM (Answer #1)

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The main theme of the story is relationships, especially family relationships, within the Watson family, who live in Michigan and travel to visit relatives in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963.  The narrative centers around ten-year-old Kenny and his rebellious thirteen-year-old brother Byron, and explores their relationships with their parents, friends, grandparents, and each other.  All-in-all, the author, Christopher Paul Curtis, creates a portrait of a strong, cohesive family that is hard-working, engaging, loving, and realistic.

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happyjackie113 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 29, 2007 at 7:27 AM (Answer #2)

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The central idea of the passage! =]]

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lbj0417 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2008 at 7:26 AM (Answer #3)

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1. Love is the greatest gift of all.

2. Money can't buy love.

3. A gift must come from your heart.

4. Beauty comes from within.

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dawong | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 29, 2008 at 2:32 AM (Answer #4)

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and their love is unconditionally!

being love by someone that you love.

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hbridges95 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 14, 2009 at 4:24 AM (Answer #2)

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yea, what she said!

 

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jg2499 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 6, 2009 at 5:53 PM (Answer #4)

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The most important theme in the novel would probably be the one that grasps most of the main issues that occur. This is why the main theme would have to be social status. This theme is relevant to the main issues in the novel, making it the main theme.

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rcjetsaresupercool | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:15 AM (Answer #5)

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it is about social ostracism

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ssooss | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 9, 2011 at 5:34 PM (Answer #1)

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the main theme relies in the parody of religion which is made by the author based on his existensialist ideas. In other words what is demanded by religion, total submission to fate and destiny as the will of god, is shown as the cause of degrading human wishes to only " a piece of bread and butter".

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swatzkillerz | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 29, 2011 at 3:22 AM (Answer #6)

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Its about how people differ in society, but we all are loved by God.

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twinklingstar66 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:24 AM (Answer #7)

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I think that "Nothing gold can stay" is a theme because their innocence and youth, which is the "gold", was gone because of their activities in the gang. Knowing identity is also a theme..

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zimam523 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted October 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM (Answer #3)

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The main theme of the story it to engage you into the lives of the Watsons, to the degree that you forget the race they are, the time there in and view them more like a regular family, with the older brother being rebelious, picking on the younger one, Kenny constantly. The youngest of all, their sister is the angel, as she is the least trouble maker in the house, the mother set the rules, the father is the fun parent, etc.

Then, the bombing happens bringing you back to the reality of things that occured in 1963, to the issues of discrimnations of whites against blacks. But Curtis do so in way of not just telling you blacks have been struggling for equality and instead they have these hatful crimes happeing all around them, he shows you the life of an African American family, and how they are just like us, so we can get a better understanding, which was VERY well done!

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ryan0830 | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted January 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM (Answer #4)

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The theme of the story is that having a family can help you in your life

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christopherpaulcurtis | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM (Answer #5)

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 main theme of the story is relationships, especially family relationships, within the Watson family, who live in Michigan and travel to visit relatives in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. The narrative centers around ten-year-old Kenny and his rebellious thirteen-year-old brother Byron, and explores their relationships with their parents, friends, grandparents, and each other.Bombing happens bringing you back to the reality of things that occured in 1963, to the issues of discrimnations of whites against blacks. But Curtis do so in way of not just telling you blacks have been struggling for equality and instead they have these hatful crimes happeing all around them, he shows you the life of an African American family,

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 31, 2013 at 9:00 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the themes of Wilder's work is the inevitability of change. Given how Wilder's role as a woman has changed throughout the series, These Happy Golden Years is a reminder that she has experienced the progressive nature of change.  Wilder has become a participant in the financial condition of the home, while adhering to the domestic realm.  Additionally, she is in the position to reflect about how much life for her family has changed.  While the condition of the frontier still is the same, "everything changes."  

Her own life is a testament to this as her changing characterization enhances the idea of change.  Throughout the series, Laura's character had been the focal point of change and growth.  This continues in These Happy Golden Years, as she is shown to be a teacher and an independent spirit.  She is able to stand on her own, starting her own life and leaving the family that had been so much a part of the series.  Her own characterization's evolution feeds into the inevitability of change.

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