Discovering Themes in Because of Winn-Dixie
A theme is a "big idea" in a story, often a moral or message that the author wants you to learn. Fiction books have many themes because everyone has their own interpretation of the message in the story.
We recorded important details and questions we had as we read Because of Winn-Dixie, and used those "knows" and "wonders" to develop our theme ideas. Strong theme ideas are backed up by many text examples and are shown in the actions of multiple characters in the story.
Some of the themes we found together are: friendship, loss, guilt, sadness, loneliness, helping others, and choices that you make.
Themes are sometimes revealed through symbols, objects or ideas that represent something other than the literal meaning. One symbol that represented the theme of guilt was Gloria Dump's mistake tree. We discussed in the video how the bottles tied to the tree were a reminder of the things Gloria Dump had done wrong in her life. One student explained that the "ghosts" Gloria Dump refered to were the feelings of guilt she had inside that remained inside of her.
Up next, we will extend these one-word theme ideas into messages that Kate DiCamillo wants to teach us through her novel.