How Do You Find The Theme Of A Story? - Writers Bureau (2023)

To determine the theme of a story, you need to read the story and understand the basics of the characterization, plot, and other literary elements included in the story. As you try to figure out the theme of the story, ask yourself what the writer is trying to convey through the characters and events of the story.

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To complete the review, it may be necessary to re-read the text to find examples of the theme of the story.

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How to identify theme

The topic should be a simple statement of the main point of your stories. The topic is the general message you want readers to take away from your story. This is the meaning of your story, which is expressed in what happens in the plot, as well as in the internal and external journeys of your characters.

The theme drives the plot, so it keeps the writer from deviating from the main idea and thus helps the story stay focused.

Video – How to find the theme of a story

What is the significance of a theme in a story?

The theme gives the reader an idea of ​​how the characters of the story live, striving for something good, the results of conflicts, and how all these choices are made in their lives.

By telling the reader what the story is about, the topic of the story expresses what ideas or issues are raised in the story. The theme is expressed through what the characters say, do, and think, as well as through the actions that take place in the narrative.

What is the theme of the story?

While the theme of the story captures its main ideas, the writer also expresses those ideas through various means. The theme of a story is a universal idea that can be inferred by the reader from the story and is described by literary symbols that continue to appear throughout the story.

The theme of a book is the main idea that runs through the story and ties together the parts of the story. The theme of a book is not the same as its plot or moral lesson, but the elements are interrelated and necessary to build a larger story.

3 steps to determine theme

The theme of a book often depends on the emotional development of the characters or the consequences the characters face as a result of their actions.

All literary works are faced with some difficult ideas, and the theme is how the story or poem approaches those ideas. The ideas featured in this list of topics in literature appear in novels, memoirs, poetry, and short stories throughout history. All topics of literature are broad and open, allowing writers to explore their own ideas on these complex topics.

How Do You Find The Theme Of A Story? - Writers Bureau (1)

What is a central theme?

In modern literary criticism, a theme is a central theme, theme, or message in a narrative. According to the best essay writing service, a topic is defined as the central theme that the authors discuss in their literary work.

Along with plot, character, staging, and style, theme is considered one of the components of storytelling. The theme of the story or poem will be explored through elements such as characters, plot, setting, conflicts, and even choice of words and literary devices.

4 steps to identify theme

A story often has multiple themes, especially if it’s a novel rather than a short story. In many stories, the themes develop over time, and it is only when you read the novel or story well that you fully understand the underlying theme or theme. Many stories have a theme and several sub-themes that help develop the theme.

While you will most likely only have one main theme running through your story, you may have many sub-themes serving as support. These secondary themes can enhance your main theme and add depth to your story. You should at least define the “main theme” or main idea that your story will focus on.

When you know what your topic is or what you are trying to tell the reader, the rest of your story will begin to take shape. Your topic will grow, deepen, and change as you learn more about your story.

Your reader will expect a familiar topic based on your field. While power corruption can work as a side theme, the main theme should be something the reader expects due to the genre of your stories.

What is the theme of a story examples

It’s okay if your story has multiple topics, just be careful not to have too many. Most books explore one topic (or several) from different points of view, in several plot scenarios. The theme creates the difference between a great story that readers can understand and a mediocre one.

The most common modern interpretation of a theme is the central idea or point of the story, which can often be summed up in one word (eg love, death, betrayal). The theme of your story can be as broad as love or loneliness (thematic concept), or as specific as “greed is the greatest force in human culture” or “human behavior is a product of education and experience” (both are thematic statements because they expresses an opinion on the subject).

Ideally, the theme of the story is something that can be expressed in a single sentence that describes the changes that happened throughout the story, especially how and why things changed.

Theme examples

A Certain Theme It can be easy to confuse the plot of your story with the theme of your story. Often the theme of the story is suggested by a thinly veiled lesson or details contained in the plot.

Once you have determined your theme and foundation, try to find all the ways that your characters and your plot relate to that theme, both explicitly and implicitly.

When it comes down to it, just read the topic and try to figure out what it might mean, then jump to the main body and see how the author relates the topic to another event in the story.

Key takeaways about the theme of a story

  1. A story doesn’t start with a thematic statement but the theme is implied by the setting, and often the coming of age of the main character
  2. Common themes are: Good vs. evil, redemption, love, courage, never giving up, revenge. Minor themes may also be hidden among the major themes.
  3. Other examples of theme are power, family, loneliness and friendship
  4. Theme in a work of literature is a literary device intended to explore the common human condition: theme is the basis of a good story
  5. Theme can be called the moral of the story. For example, the theme of love conquers all is a powerful moral for any work of fiction.
  6. Another theme is that power corrupts even innocent children (think Lord of The Flies) and is a common idea in the literary genre of politics
  7. The first draft of any creative work should state the big idea: this major idea is closely related to the theme running throughout the tale
  8. Popular themes show the different ways human behavior expresses itself, whatever the central topic. It is the point of a story and conveys a deeper meaning
  9. What is the theme of my story? should be one of the first questions an author asks himself: it expresses a basic struggle in human culture
  10. The story’s theme is nothing to do with point of view, the story’s genre, the series of events (plot of a story): it’s the underlying message expressed as human experience
  11. From Charles Dickens to the Hunger Games to Leo Tolstoy, a strong theme is the secret to great writing. The importance of theme can’t be overestimated
  12. Theme mirrors the best and worse aspects of human nature in real life. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes not.


Other resources relating to story theme:

3 Steps To Help You Find Your Story’s Theme – Writers Write

How to Find the Theme of a Book or Short Story – ThoughtCo

3 Ways to Figure out the Theme of Your Story – Savannah Gilbo

Story Theme – How to Use It In Fiction – A Research Guide

How Do You Find The Theme Of A Story? - Writers Bureau (2)


How Do You Find The Theme Of A Story? - Writers Bureau? ›

To identify the theme of a story, you have to read through the story and understand the basics of the characterization, plot and other literary elements that are included in the story. Get to know the main subjects of the story. Get to know what the author's view on the mentioned subjects is.

How do you determine the theme of the story? ›

To identify the theme of a story, you have to read through the story and understand the basics of the characterization, plot and other literary elements that are included in the story. Get to know the main subjects of the story. Get to know what the author's view on the mentioned subjects is.

How do you identify the author's theme? ›

the idea the writer wishes to convey about the subject—the writer's view of the world or a revelation about human nature. To identify the theme, be sure that you've first identified the story's plot, the way the story uses characterization, and the primary conflict in the story.

What is the theme of a story? ›

The term theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. It is the message the writer is trying to convey through the story. Often the theme of a story is a broad message about life. The theme of a story is important because a story's theme is part of the reason why the author wrote the story.

What does the theme mean in book report? ›

A theme is an important idea that is woven throughout a story. It's not the plot or the summary, but something a little deeper. A theme links a big idea about our world with the action of a text.

What are three ways authors often reveal the theme? ›

By employing literary tools the author embeds the theme or meaning into separate elements that make up the totality of the literary piece. Some of the more common tools of the author's craft are: character development, setting, mood, plot, point of view, figurative language, allegory, symbolism, and irony.

What do we analyze to discover the theme? ›

Theme can be discovered only by becoming aware of the relations among the parts of a story and of the relations of the parts to a whole: Characters: What kind of people does the story deal with? Plot: What do the characters do? Are they in control of their lives, or are they controlled by fate?

Where should you look to try to determine a novel's theme? ›

Monday, March 08, 2021
  • 5 Places to Find Your Novel's Theme. ...
  • Look for theme in the main concept of the idea. ...
  • Look for theme in the cliché you use to describe the novel. ...
  • Look for theme in the recurring problems of the novel. ...
  • Look for theme in the character arc. ...
  • Look for theme in the character's dreams.
Mar 8, 2021

What is one of the ways to identify the theme of a literary text? ›

Read and Analyze the Work

Common subjects include coming of age, death and mourning, racism, beauty, heartbreak and betrayal, loss of innocence, and power and corruption. Next, consider what the author's view on these subjects might be. These views will point you toward the work's themes.

What is an example of a theme in a story? ›

Examples. Some common themes in literature are "love," "war," "revenge," "betrayal," "patriotism," "grace," "isolation," "motherhood," "forgiveness," "wartime loss," "treachery," "rich versus poor," "appearance versus reality," and "help from other-worldly powers."

What is an example of a theme? ›

Examples of Theme Topics: Love, Justice/Injustice, Family, Struggle, the American Dream, Wealth, Inhumanity Examples of Themes: People risk their own identity to find love; Power corrupts humanity; Without empathy, there can be no justice.

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