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What is THEME?

A look at the literary element of theme.

Frank Williams

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of What is THEME?

The MESSAGE or LESSON ABOUT LIFE that is communicated by the author in a work of art - literature, music, painting, film, etc.
NOT the same as Topic
May be major or minor
Major themes are addressed repeatedly. The author keeps coming back to the topic/message over and over throughout the work - like a song chorus. Major themes are the lessons that the author wishes to communicate most.
Themes are messages/lessons that are implied through the actions and results of characters within the story.
Minor themes appear from time to time - like song verses or one scene from a story - and are typically lessons learned by supporting characters.
topic = the subject that the author chooses to write about
is the expression of a universal truth, a lesson learned, or a message that the author wishes to convey about a topic based upon their own experience/opinion.
topic = war
How to state theme
1. Use a complete statement.
2. State theme in the form of a general life lesson.
3. Do not over generalize by using words such as always, never, everyone. Instead use some, usually, most, sometimes...
4. Avoid the second person - remember the YOU and the implied YOU.
5. Take a subject and make a statement about it that expresses what you know to be true. Some examples may include...
Questions to help identify theme:
What are the main character's thoughts and feelings?
What thoughts and
ideas are repeated throughout
the story?
What does the main character learn from what happens to them in the story?
You can't judge a book by its color.
Blood is thicker than water.
Money is the root of all evil.
Theme = War is difficult.
Money is the root of all evil.

There's no place like home.

You can't judge a book by its cover
You do not know a person until you walk in his or her shoes.

You should not text and drive.

Study hard and make good grades.
What is THEME?
"I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme." -Henry James
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