What is the theme of “The Scholarship Jacket”? Write a four-paragraph essay on it with evidence from the text.

Themes in “The Scholarship Jacket” include discrimination, resistance to misconduct, the longing for recognition, fairness and unfairness, honesty, and perseverance.

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Your first task for this assignment is to read the story “The Scholarship Jacket” closely. As you read, jot down some themes that you notice. A theme is a main idea or message that the story presents. You might notice such themes as the desire for recognition, poverty, discrimination, fairness and unfairness, resistance to wrongdoing, perseverance, and honesty. See if you can find evidence for each of these themes as you read.

Your next task is to decide which theme is the primary theme of the story. This will be the theme around which you build your essay. Any of the above might do, but you should be sure you feel quite strongly about your choice, because you are going to have to support it with evidence. Your chosen theme will become the thesis statement for your essay. You might write something like “The primary theme of 'The Scholarship Jacket' is...” and fill in the blank with the theme you think fits the best.

Now, you need to come up with some evidence to support your thesis. If you choose honesty as your primary theme, for instance, you could refer to Mr. Schmidt's refusal to promote another girl over Martha. You could also talk about how Martha's grandfather forces her to be honest with herself about the jacket and how Martha (along with Mr. Schmidt) forces the principal to be honest. If you choose discrimination (perhaps combining it with resistance to discrimination), you might talk about how Mr. Boone seems to feel it is all right to deprive Martha of the jacket because she is Mexican, how the principal gives in to this discrimination to try to please one of the town's leading families, and how Martha's grandfather refuses to be discriminated against.

As you build your essay, be sure to state your thesis clearly and then support it with several points of evidence that illustrate how the theme works throughout the story. You will want to wrap up your essay with a conclusion that restates your thesis and perhaps tells a little bit about what the story's theme has taught you about your own life.

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