This is the story "Fish Cheeks" by Amy Tan. We will read it together in class and learn about annotations and how to identify the theme. You will include this in your first checkpoint.
An idea, concept, or lesson that appears repeatedly throughout a story, reflects the character’s internal journey through the external plot, and resonates with the reader.
So… Why Is Theme Important?
It’s great that we know what theme is now, but that’s only half the answer to our two-part question. Why is theme important in novels and writing? Simply put: If a story lacks theme, the reader might not connect with it.
Remember that theme is connected to the protagonist’s internal journey. It ties the character’s concerns and passions – the character’s soul, figuratively speaking – to the external plot, while giving readers something to care about and someone to root for. What happens when that link is missing? What if the protagonist doesn’t have a goal to strive for? You’d have a plot that goes nowhere and readers losing interest – in other words, a story without a soul.
Theme helps a good story become a compelling one. It represents Katniss’ incentive to fight her way through The Hunger Games and Frodo’s motivation to destroy the One Ring in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Most importantly, theme allows readers to relate to the characters and their struggles – and to feel invested in the outcome. That’s why we read novels and write stories to begin with, right?
How to find a Theme
You will be using the 3 of the following stories and "Fish Cheeks" for the next few weeks in various assignments. Make sure to read them well and take GIST notes in your iNotes. You will also need to identify the theme and cite textual evidence to support your theme from each story.
Model Class Text: “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan (We will read this in class together)
● Mild: “Becoming a Writer” by Junot Diaz
● Mild: “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros
● Mild: “The Bike” by Gary Soto
● Mild: “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie
● Medium: "The Struggle to Be an All-American Girl" by Elizabeth Wong
● Medium: “My Name is Margaret” by Maya Angelou
● Spicy: “How it Feels to be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston
● Spicy: "Night Walker" by Brent Staples
● Spicy: “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rou
1. Checkpoint #1: Jigsaw (green)