Assignment: Identifying Themes in the novel (The Kite Runner)

What am I doing?

For this assignment, you must identify two BIG IDEAS (about life) which are present in the kite runner novel.  At least one of the BIG IDEAS must be a major thematic topic which the whole novel explores; preferably, both will be major thematic topics.

For the first part of the assignment, you will need to:

  1. identify the novel you have worked with;
  2. write an appropriate theme statement for each of the 2 BIG IDEAS (about life) that you have identified; and
  3. pick one of your theme statements; choose three quotations from the novel that support it.

For the second part of the assignment, you will need to:

  1. identify a poem or a song that portrays the same theme that you identified in #3 above;
  2. include the text of the poem or the lyrics of the song with the assignment;
  3. include the bibliographic information necessary to identify the poem or song

For the third part of the assignment, you will need to:

Write a brief explanation of the connection between the theme statement you have written for the novel and the quotations and poem or song you have chosen.

You may choose how to format this assignment.  What is important is that you connect the theme statement you have written to BOTH the novel and the song or poem and make the connection clear.

Why am I doing it?

In this activity you will demonstrate your ability to identify BIG IDEAS (about life)  in novels and in other works of literature or in music and your ability to write theme statements.  In addition, you will demonstrate your ability to choose key quotations that illuminate theme in a text.

How will it be marked?

This assignment will be marked on the following criteria:

You have:

  • identified two BIG IDEAS (about life)  which are important in the context of the novel;
  • written one clear theme statement to express each of the BIG IDEAS you have identified;
  • insightfully connected ONE of the theme statements to important quotations from the novel;
  • presented one poem or song which shares the theme statement you have identified.

Marks: 36


Excellent, Outstanding, Superior
 BIG IDEAS (about life) Selection – The novel BIG IDEAS are thoughtfully chosen to represent the main points of the stories.  They represent the student’s keen insight in recognizing theme, and they are accurately identified as main BIG IDEA or secondary BIG IDEA.

Theme Statement – Each theme statement is very well written.  It is thoughtful and clear and displays a solid understanding of the requirements of a theme statement (full sentence, no judgment implied, no novel specif details etc.). The statement itself is easy to understand and an accurate, insightful representation of a theme in the novel.

Quotations – Quotations are insightful and are exemplary in expressing theme in the novel.  They represent key moments in the novel in which theme is demonstrated.

Poem/Song Selection – The poem or song chosen is a thoughtful and intuitive representation of the theme statement identified. They are chosen with consideration of audience (i.e., contain appropriate language and content).

Presentation – The writing features complex, sophisticated use of language. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct and appropriate; usage is sophisticated. Assignment format is thoughtfully crafted to achieve a desired effect. The writing is virtually error free.



Theme Selection – The novel BIG IDEAS chosen are incorrect or are unimportant in the context of the novel. They are not correctly identified as main BIG IDEA  and secondary BIG IDEA.

Theme Statement –  The writing does not accomplish the basic tasks of making a theme statement.  It demonstrates lack of understanding of the requirements of a theme statement (full sentence, no judgment implied, etc.)  The theme statement appears as an incomplete sentence. The theme statement mentions specifics from the novel.

Quotations – Quotations are not connected to theme.

Poem/Song Selection – The poems or songs chosen are minimally connected or not connected to the identified themes and demonstrate a lack of awareness of audience.

Presentation – The writing is informal and conversational. Language is imprecise; vocabulary is very basic, excessively colloquial or inappropriate to the audience. Style is immature. Writing is riddled with spelling, grammar, usage and/or punctuation errors. Structure is seriously flawed; errors impede meaning.