Common Themes in Lower & Upper Sec Literature

Texts are often changed, either replaced by new ones or by previously used titles. No matter what the changes are, there are certain common themes that occur in the texts. The common themes are: resilience, prejudice and discrimination, racism, relationships, conflict, love and courtship, friendship, family and community, and identity.  The less common themes are expectations and loss, fear,  and idealism versus realism.

Themes are avenues for the imparting of values and desirable character traits.  Themes help draw focus to the contradictions, the different layers in human relationships, encourage us to think deeply and explore key issues, evoking new insights. Sometimes themes draw our attention to what is troubling about our humanity and the challenges that confront societies. Themes mirror our hopes and fears, our joy and pain, our triumphs and defeats.

Sometimes certain themes are adapted, modified according to the emotional and cognitive abilities of children. In some schools, certain issues are sidestepped because the educators are convinced that certain political, social contexts are not appropriate for students. This is because a text can be studied at different levels. At higher level, a text like Twelfth Night take on a different dimension from the lower levels.

An experienced Literature tutor must be able to pitch at the level that the school is adopting so as to guide the student effectively. It is therefore pertinent that the tutor knows  the focus of the student’s school regarding the texts.