Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in The Moon is Down

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The Moon is Down Lesson Plans

The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

This novel, which won the Nobel Prize for literature, is helpful in generating English class extension lessons on propaganda, resistance movements, and World War II.

Moon is Down, The

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The Moon is Down Themes, Symbols, and Motifs Storyboard - The Moon is Down John Steinbeck

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  • The troops invade this small country as winter is moving in. Winter provides a sense of cold strength for the town, and a sense of beauty and wonder for the arriving troops. For the townspeople later, it provides them a place to hide their secrets.
  • The coal mine was an important resource before the invasion, and now it is one that the townspeople want destroyed. They figure that if they get rid of the reason for the occupation, the soldiers will leave. It gives them a way to resist.
  • The dynamite provides hope and another way to fight back. The dynamite floats down with instructions on ways to utilize it. For Colonel Lanser, the dynamite means an escalation of violent resistance. For the people, it gives a jubilant sense of rebellion.
  • Lieutenant Tonder utters this phrase in the middle of his breakdown. He echoes the ideas of what many soldiers were thinking: there’s no point. It becomes a rallying cry throughout the country. It also reflects the complexities of the soldiers' emotions.
  • The Mayoral Chain of Office represents the ideals of democracy and freedom. While Mayor Orden is threatened with death, he takes comfort in knowing the office cannot be arrested or killed; it is separate from him, created and maintained by free people.
  • Colonel Lanser’s staff represents the complexity of humans. Major Hunter sees the mission as an engineering one; Captain Bentick lacks ambition; Captain Loft is ambitious; Lieutenants Tonder and Prackle are emotional. They're not cold blooded drones, they're men.
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