What is a theme?
A theme is a message or main idea that the writer wants the reader to remember after reading his/her work. Most stories, plays, novels, and poems have more than one theme. Some works, like mysteries, might be intended primarily for entertainment and not have a clear theme.
What is a Thematic Statement
A thematic statement is a complete sentence (or two) that express a theme. A thematic statement could serve as a thesis in a thematic essay.
What is a theme NOT?
1. A theme is not ONE WORD. That is a topic.
Bad example 1: The theme was love. NO!
2. A theme is not a definition
Bad example 2: Love is when you have feelings for someone. NO!
3. A theme is not specifically about one story or character; rather, it is universal.
Bad example 3: Greasers and Socs don’t get along. NO!
Some GOOD Examples
Theme: Unconditional love withstands any obstacle.
Theme: Hope can help a person to survive any dark time.
Theme: It is important to have courage to express your individuality.
Theme: Jealousy can cause lasting damage to individuals and relationships.
Think back to the short story or novel you have read.
Make a list of 5-10 things/topics within the story.
Step 1: Find a main topic that is contained in the story. Choose one below or come up with your own!
Common topics for themes include:
Courage Honesty Unhappiness
Death Identity Wealth
Freedom Prejudice Respect
Friendship Trust Stereotyping
Hate Violence Innocence
Step 2: Write a statement based on your topic
Step 2: continued
Thematic Statement: Racism is caused by ignorance and insecurity
Write down your topic: ___________________
Thematic statement:______________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Step 3: Check that your thematic statement is universal
Could this thematic statement apply to everyone (in the world? In this classroom?)
Where have you seen this theme in your life? If you can’t relate, come up with a situation you could encounter where you’d observe this theme.
Write your situation:
If you can relate, it’s probably universal!
Step 4: Connect your thematic statement to the text
1. Find a quote (evidence) that supports your thematic statement (don’t forget to record page number):
2. Write 2-3 sentences of commentary explaining HOW this quote (evidence) supports your thematic statement.
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