Buddha Thematic Analysis by F1He58


									EWRT 211
J. Quigley

         A Thematic Analysis of Nguyen’s Stealing Buddha’s Dinner

Theme: A general idea or insight that the writer wishes to express. The writer asserts the
theme through repetition and emphasis. A theme can be found in all the elements of a
work: character, setting, plot, description, dialogue, narration, tone, etc. Multiple themes
can work simultaneously within a work.

Themes can be simple and broad (like “identity” or “food”), but you will work to develop
the theme into a more specific and insightful observation (like “the theme of hunger
works to establish a literal and emotional void in family life”)

In this essay assignment you will write a thematic analysis of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner.
You will construct an argument based on a theme you observe in the memoir and support
your thesis with analysis of this theme. From our class discussions, group work, and your
own interpretations you have insights and opinions not only about themes in the memoir,
but how your own ideas and truths and experiences relate to those themes. Find your own
creative voice to articulate your analysis, and ultimately prove your argument.

Themes from Class Discussion:
   You may select from the following themes generated from class discussion, combine
   one or more of the themes as you develop your thinking, or select a new theme.

   1. Food (fast food, Vietnamese food, processed/packaged food, Mexican food, fruit,
   candy, restaurants, school lunch, seafood)
   2. Identity                              18. Assimilation     34. sisterhood
   3. Buddhism                              19. Music            35. TV
   4. Christianity                          20. Family           36. Communism
   5. Reading/Books                         21. Names            37. Push/Pull
   6. Immigrant                             22. Envy             38. Outsider
   7. Community                             23. School
   8. Isolation                             24. Double-Consciousness
   9. White American ideology               25. Gender
   10. Mothers                              26. Commercials/TV
   11. Shame                                27. Secrets
   12. Internal vs. external                28. Suburbia
   13. Invisibility                         29. The Mid-West
   14. The 1980s                            30. Beauty
   15. Escapism                             31. Love
   16. Language                             32. The Other
   17. Class Structure                      33. Oppression (systemic and internalized)
Thematic Thesis Example:
   1. Theme: TV Commercials

   2. Developed Theme: As a girl, Bich believes that commercials are reality.

   3. Thesis: In Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, Bich is fascinated by the glossy beauty of
      television commercials filled with perfect families and perfect food. Instead of
      seeing the commercials as tools to sell products, she mistakes them for
      representations of worlds she cannot enter, and this greatly contributes to her

Thematic Analysis Requirements:
   1. Introduction:
           Interesting/creative
           Lead into thesis (general to specific)
           Introduces the memoir (include title and author’s name) and theme(s)
   2. A Thesis Statement/Controlling Idea:
           Makes a clear argument about a specific and developed theme in the novel
           Argument evaluates and analyzes theme
   3. Developed Body Paragraphs/Critical Thinking:
           Follow PIE model
           Information in essay can include both internal (personal experiences) and
             eternal evidence
           Quote Sandwich formula (at least 3)
           Ability to analyze text/experiences critically
   4. Organization:
           Point in each paragraph (introduce 1 main point of paragraph and connect
             back to thesis)
           Strong connection between examples, ideas, and thesis
   5. Conclusion:
           Answer “So What?” to thesis or another concluding strategy
           Avoid restating thesis or summarizing essay
   6. Writing:
           Clear creative voice, effective vocabulary, sentence variety, style, mixing
             long and short
           Sentence structure (subordinators and coordinators)
           Proofreading (effective grammar and no spelling errors)

   Wednesday 3/7/12: TYPED Outline (Including: Thesis, 3 Points, 3 quotes to
   support Ps
   Monday 3/12/12: Final draft (can be revised again before final portfolio)

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