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Theme in Yellow

Theme in Yellow


by Carl Sandburg

Theme in Yellow Theme of Tradition and Customs

We know Halloween is a yearly tradition in America. And when it comes to holidays and festivities, there are all sorts of customs that are part of how we celebrate. "Theme in Yellow" covers all the major bases of Halloween, from pumpkins, to ghost songs, and, of course, those emblematic jack-o-lanterns.

Questions About Tradition and Customs

  1. How does Sandburg's use of personification contribute to his take on the tradition of Halloween? 
  2. How does the natural world of "Theme in Yellow" fit with the traditions and customs of that "last of October"?
  3. What do you think the children in Sandburg's poem think of all these traditions? 
  4. If the speaker didn't include the customs of carving pumpkins and singing "ghost songs," how might the poem have sounded different?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Relax, people. Traditions and customs are just for fun in Sandburg's poem and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Kids don't give a hoot about traditions; all they're looking for is a chance to have as much fun as possible—with or without the customs.

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