The Sunflower Themes, Symbols, and Motifs

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


The Sunflower Theme

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

The Sunflower Themes to Look For & Discuss

Forgiveness

Much of the book focuses on the question that plagued Wiesenthal his entire life; should he have forgiven Karl? Throughout the book, he questions the act of forgiveness and what it truly means. Even more fascinating is reading and examining the thoughts and reactions of others from the book and from the symposium. Through his story and the responses it generates, readers learn that each choice or opinion is personal.


Justice

Although the reader can clearly see that Wiesenthal is concerned with forgiveness, he is really more concerned with Justice. His deeper question in the face of forgiveness is whether or not he, or anyone else, has the right to make statements against atrocities not committed against them, or to speak for a group of people. In the case of Karl the SS soldier, would it have been just for Wiesenthal to forgive him in this instance? When is it our right to forgive?


Silence

In the book, Wiesenthal describes many prominent times of silence. The first being his silence in response to Karl's question. The second refers to the silence Karl describes after his father boycotted him for joining the Hitler youth. Third, was the silence Simon presented to Karl’s mother when he went to her house. And finally, the silence of God, which Simon discusses often with Arthur and Josek. They believe that God has turned his back in their time of need; He is silent for the Jewish people.


Symbols and Motifs to Look For & Discuss

The Sunflower

In the book, Wiesenthal is often mesmerized by the sunflowers that lie, beautifully planted, over the graves of dead Nazi soldiers. The sunflowers represented a connection to the living word, a world that Wiesenthal no longer felt he was a part of as a prisoner. Moreover, the sunflower was a looming reminder that there would be no one to mourn him, or to plant flowers on his grave. Thus, the sunflower symbolizes the loss of life, injustice, and dehumanization of Jewish people by the Nazis.



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Student Instructions

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


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from The Sunflower you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for the example(s) that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.

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