Theme in "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth"

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth...


Themes in If I Forget Thee

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Activity Overview



Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the story, and support their choices with details from the text.


Themes and Ideas to Discuss

The Dangers of Nuclear Weapons

One theme is a warning of the potential consequences of nuclear weapons. When nations arm themselves with enough power to wipe out the entire planet, the entirety of the human race must hope and pray that those nations have leaders with enough common sense not to use them.


The Importance of Purpose

There is importance in having a purpose, or goals. Many students will be able to relate to this concept on a smaller scale: graduating from high school, getting a job, winning their next football game, etc. In Marvin’s world, his people’s purpose is important to their very survival. Without the ultimate goal of returning home, there would be no reason to continue their exile; there would be no point in trying to maintain their little moon Colony, and there would be no point in bringing forth new generations.


Motifs & Symbols to Look For

The Farmlands

Before they enter the Outside, Marvin gets a chance to walk through the Farmlands, which is essentially a greenhouse for the plants and vegetation of the Colony. Marvin loves the smell of life in the Farmlands. It’s a different kind of smell than the filtered oxygen found in the Residential levels. The Farmlands awaken Marvin’s instincts and longing for a place he’s not quite sure he understands: home.


The Evil Phosphorescence

Marvin observes the "evil phosphorescence" in what should have been the dark portions of the Earth. The menacing glow highlights the lingering danger of the radiation fallout from the war. It also gives Marvin a sense of despair; he knows that that glow will be there for many years yet, and while maybe his children’s children will be able to return one day, he himself will never be able to go to Earth.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard depicting important themes, symbols, and motifs in the story.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify important themes, symbols, and motifs.
  3. Describe how the theme, symbol, or motif is important to the story.
  4. Illustrate each example with appropriate images, scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.
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If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth...






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