Discuss the theme of Doris Lessing’s short story “A Woman on a Roof.” We can think of the story’s theme
as the message it imparts to the reader. (A theme is best stated as a complete sentence: “In ‘A Woman on
a Roof,’ Doris Lessing is telling the reader that [insert your idea for the theme here].” Words or phrases
such as “sexism” or “fragile masculinity’ are subjects or topics, not themes.)
The thesis will probably state what you think the theme of the story is.
In order to make the case for what you think the theme of the story is, you should build your body
paragraphs to provide evidence and examples about the setting, characters, plot, or symbols. Focusing on
one of those literary concepts per body paragraph, with a topic sentence that clearly indicates which of
them is the topic of the paragraph, is strongly recommended.
Your introduction paragraph will of course provide background information that your reader needs to
understand your discussion. in this case, the background information will primarily consist of information
about the short story.
There are many options for your conclusion paragraph, which of course will provide ideas about the
broader significance of “so what” of your discussion of the story and its theme. One obvious option would
be to speculate on the degree to which “A Woman on a Roof’ is still relevant today, fifty years after it was
Refer to your notes from our class discussions and the supplementary materials provided when you find
them useful. Give signal phrases for all evidence and examples from the story and the materials. When
using information word-for-word, put that information in quotation marks and punctuate properly.