Writing about themes could give your analysis of an extract a deeper response and show that you are thinking about the ideas the writer is presenting.
When you are analysing an extract, think about the following:
The opening of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley describes a setting with very little action. The reader can detect some of the themes and ideas of the text from Huxley’s language choices.
A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State's motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.
The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold for all the summer beyond the panes, for all the tropical heat of the room itself, a harsh thin light glared through the windows, hungrily seeking some draped lay figure, some pallid shape of academic gooseflesh, but finding only the glass and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of a laboratory. Wintriness responded to wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with a pale corpse-coloured rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Only from the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it borrow a certain rich and living substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak in long recession down the work tables.
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
The author’s use of language in this extract presents the reader with some important themes:
These language choices combine to suggest two themes:
Even from this short extract it’s clear that the scientific setting is important. Those who work in the centre are almost lifeless.
The way the light seems to be fighting against the sterile laboratory suggests there is a tension between man and nature.
Colour and light are important images in this extract. They can be used to support the theme of life and death. Light is usually a sign of life, but here it is negative.