The Graveyard Book Themes, Symbols, and Motifs

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Graveyard Book


The Graveyard Book Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

Example



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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 novel, and support their choices with details from the text.



Growing Up

The Graveyard Book is the story of a boy growing into a man. It spans most of Bod's childhood and ends when he is old enough to start out on his own. The book traces his growth as it depicts snippets of his life as a toddler, a child, and a teenager. Bod makes mistakes, learns from them, and grows up to be a wise and brave young man.


Free Will vs. Fate

The Jacks try to kill Bod and his family due to a prophecy. When circumstances shape Bod's life to align with the prophecy, it seems that Bod's fate may be controlled by forces beyond his control. In the barrow, however, he discovers that fighting the Jacks will be based on his own choice about his identity, not some uncontrollable fate.


The Importance of Community

Although Silas and Mr. and Mrs. Owens play the most direct role in raising Bod, the entire graveyard helps in many ways. They all vote in the initial decision to take in Bod. As time goes on, different ghosts provide advice and companionship. In the final showdown against the Jacks, the various inhabitants of the graveyard all play a role in supporting Bod.


The Graveyard Gate

The gate marks the boundary of Bod's existence for most of his childhood. It is a sign both of security and of limitation. The locked gate protects Bod from the dangers of the world. At the same time, however, it also confines him to the graveyard and prevents him from fully enjoying the experiences of the living. The graveyard is like the protective home of childhood, and passing through the gate at the end is symbolic of Bod's maturity and independence.


Lady on the Grey

The Lady on the Grey represents death. The suggestion that all humans will eventually "ride her horse" indicates that she represents a kind of spiritual travel from the land of the living to the land of the dead. Her influence over the ghosts in their decision to take in Bod also reflects her power over the dead.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in The Graveyard Book. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Identify the theme(s) from The Graveyard Book you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  2. Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
  3. Write a description of each of the examples.

Template: Theme

Template


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