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Ch 2: SAT Subject Test Literature: Interpreting Theme & Meaning in Literature

About This Chapter

Review how to find the meaning and theme in a literary work to prepare you for the SAT subject exam in literature. Video lessons and quizzes incorporate all of the elements of this section in a simple and clear manner.

SAT Literature: Interpreting Theme and Meaning in Literature - Chapter Summary

Use our video lessons to help you understand how to find a writer's theme and understand the meaning when you read a literary passage. The interpreting theme and meaning chapter includes:

  • Glossary of Literary Terms
  • Understanding Inference
  • Close Reading vs. Big Picture
  • Reading Strategies: Constructing Meaning and Visualization
  • What are Connotation and Denotation?
  • What is Structure?
  • What are Themes and Motifs?
  • Tone vs. Mood: Interpreting Meaning In Prose
  • Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage
  • Symbolism & Imagery in Literature
  • Weighing Options of Interpretation
  • How To Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-By-Step Guide
  • Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

Our video instructors show you step-by-step how to use these techniques to look for meaning in a piece. Short, easy-to-understand lessons and self-assessment quizzes help you track how well you're learning each lesson as you go.

SAT Literature Objectives

The SAT literature subject test lets you demonstrate how well you've learned the material commonly taught in U.S. classrooms compared to other high school students. You'll answer questions about 6-8 sets of passages, which are usually excerpts from longer works, but may be complete poems. These passages test your knowledge of literature from the Renaissance era to the 20th century and include English-language writers from England, the United States, and other parts of the world.

In all, you'll answer about 60 multiple-choice questions. The types of works represented on the exam include:

  • Prose, including both essays and fiction - 40%-50%
  • Drama (plays) - up to 10%
  • Poetry - 40%-50%

6 Lessons in Chapter 2: SAT Subject Test Literature: Interpreting Theme & Meaning in Literature
What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

1. What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

In this lesson, you will learn about how writers use themes in works of literature as a way to explore universal ideas like love and war. You will also explore motifs, or repeating objects and ideas, which can contribute to theme.

Tone vs. Mood: Interpreting Meaning In Prose

2. Tone vs. Mood: Interpreting Meaning In Prose

In this lesson, learn the difference between the tone and the mood of a piece of prose. Explore examples of how tone and mood are conveyed by authors through word choice and telling details.

Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

3. Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

In this lesson, we will define the literary terms tone and mood. We will then discuss how to identify each of them, as well as how to identify them in small reading passages.

Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

4. Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson you will learn how poets and authors use symbolism in their writing to make it more meaningful and interesting. Explore how descriptive writing called imagery appeals to the senses, adding to works of literature.

Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

5. Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

In this lesson, we will discuss how to find and interpret literary meaning in writings. The lesson will focus on using the text to find key elements to guide your interpretation.

Tragic Hero: Definition, Characteristics & Examples

6. Tragic Hero: Definition, Characteristics & Examples

You may have cried and rooted for a few tragic figures in your lifetime, but do you know what this term really entails? Watch this video lesson to learn more about these dramatic figures and meet a few exemplary individuals.

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