How to write a theme statement
When you get done with a reading assignment for school, usually an essay, novel, or short story, you'll sometimes be asked to write a theme statement.
The definition of a theme statement can vary, but essentially it's asking you to state what the piece of writing was about — not the plot, but what sort of insight or perspective does it give on life/the world/human nature?
Theme is also sometimes known as the "main idea" of a story.
But how do you find the theme of a story? And how do you write a theme statement?
To write a theme statement, follow these 3 steps:
- Pick the main topic addressed in the story
- Pinpoint the author's view on the topic
- Format that perspective using a theme statement template
Let's dive a little deeper:
Finding the theme of a story using topics
After you're finished reading the book, story, or essay (you did read it, right?!), think back on the main character or characters.
Did they undergo some kind of change throughout the journey? Did their outlook on life evolve in some way?
That's usually a pretty good place to start looking for the theme.
For example, maybe the story deals with the broad topic of "love." Well "love" by itself isn't a theme, but a specific perspective on love could be.
Try this exercise once you've found your topic. Fill in the blank:
"This author believes _____ about (topic)."
In our example about love, maybe the story's about how love conquers all. Or maybe it's about how love is fleeting and fickle.
Your theme at this point might look something like this:
"The author believes that true love doesn't really exist."
(A little dark, but hey, it's just an example!)
Using a theme statement template
Every teacher or instructor is going to have their own way of wanting you to present your theme statement, so be sure to get clarity on that directly from them.
That said, there are some agreed upon "rules" of writing theme statements.
- Don't include specific characters or plot points. This perspective on life should apply to people and situations outside the story.
- Don't be obvious. "War is bad," is not a theme. Dig a little deeper using details from the story. (What specifically is bad about war? How does it negatively impact the characters or the world of the story?)
- Don't make it advicey. "You should always be there for your family," isn't a theme, it's a suggestion. Keep your theme statement objective and based solely on evidence from the story ("The bond between family can overcome any obstacle.")
- Don't use cliches. "Once a cheater, always a cheater," or "Actions speak louder than words," aren't themes. They're just expressions people use all the time and have very little power or real insight.
Here is a general template you can use based on what we learned above:
"The central theme of (piece of writing) is (author's position on topic) ."
Alternatively, you could try: "In (piece of writing), (author) presents the idea that (position on topic)."
You may also be asked to use supporting details from the story to back up your theme statement. In that case, your full theme statement might look something like this:
"The central theme of (piece of writing) is (author's position on topic). When (event from the story) happens, it results in (blank), which demonstrates (some element of the theme)."
You're going to have to tweak and adjust this based on how much detail the assignment calls for and which examples from the text you choose to use, but it should be a good starting point!
Theme statement examples
OK, so what does it look like in action?
Here are some example theme statements from stories you're probably already familiar with (I'm doing these mostly to demonstrate how to use the template. I hope you'll put a lot of thought into your own theme statements and play around with different ideas before committing to one) :
In 'The Dark Knight Rises', Christopher Nolan presents the idea that true heroism requires complete and utter selflessness.
The central theme of 'Finding Nemo' is that fear is sometimes more dangerous than danger itself.
In 'Romeo and Juliet', Shakespeare presents the idea that love is more powerful than hate.
Hope this helps! And good luck!
Questions? Let me know in the comments.
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50 Theme Statement Examples
Thematic statements are common in literary work. Writers use them to express their attitude towards the theme of their work or their intention in writing the particular literary piece.
Authors employ thematic statements to address readers and establish themselves as experts on the subject matter. They do this by sharing their knowledge, revealing their opinions concerning the theme.
What is a Theme Statement?
A theme statement is a sentence that reveals the general idea of the content as it is written and presented on paper. A good thematic statement is often an idea that can be condensed into one sentence or a generalization based on the entire content.
Why are Theme Statements Important?
- A theme statement helps readers focus on the main idea. Readers can then get an insight into what they are about to read, avoid being distracted by side issues, and stay on track.
- Thematic statements can be used by anyone who wants to make a point about what they are expressing. Teachers, business professionals, or students can use them to describe a project they have been assigned to do.
- A writer’s thematic statement is a reflection of their attitude towards the topic. It’s used to show what perspective they are using in writing about it.
- A good theme statement can be used to remind a writer of the project they have to do. It also acts as a guide that can help readers stay on track with what they are reading.
50 Thematic Statement Examples
The following are ten categories of theme statements with five examples for each category:
Theme statements about death
Theme statements about love, theme statements about change, theme statements about life, theme statements about nature, theme statements about friendships, theme statements about faith, theme statements about character, theme statements about parenting, theme statements about failure, steps for writing a great theme statement.
Remember that a theme statement is the essence of what you are trying to say about your subject. There are no rules or guidelines for writing one, but the steps below will get you there:
Consider several theme topics
Before deciding the most suited theme statement, you must have a list of options to choose from. Make sure you have a good understanding of the most important topics. Brainstorm as many ideas as possible
You’re not limited to a few sentences. Write as many as you can think of, then choose those that resonate with you most and discard those that don’t.
Analyze the options
Read through all your brainstormed ideas and think about which one fits in with your theme better than others. This step is to help you choose between your options, not eliminate them.
Do your research
Read through several sources on your chosen thematic sentence to get a better understanding. This will help you analyze the possible impact it will have on your audience.
Check out other theme statements
Going through and analyzing what other writers have will help you build your own. Try to see how they put it together and what makes their statement effective.
Decide on the best thematic statement for you
The right thematic statement is the one that best encapsulates what you want to say. You should feel confident about it and know that it will work well with your article.
Write your thematic statement
Once you’ve chosen your theme, it’s time to write your thematic sentence. Keep in mind that it should be both effective and efficient.
Tips for writing a good theme statement are:
- Stay away from cliches. Readers have heard them way too many times, and they don’t make an impact anymore. Stay original.
- Use active verbs to help your statement come alive. Words like ‘can’ and ‘will’ make a world of difference.
- Your theme should sound well thought out, not spontaneous or random. It should be relevant to the article and not seem like it’s added in for good measure.
- Make your thematic statement relate to what you are writing about.
- Vary your sentence structure and length.
- Make sure the first words of your thematic statement are powerful enough to grab attention.
- Don’t be long-winded. Nobody likes a drag; keep your sentence concise and to the point.
- Make sure that there is a logical connection between your theme statement and the article. Don’t contradict yourself.
Themes versus Theme Statements
Many people will use the terms themes and theme statements interchangeably, but they are two very different things. The following are differences between themes and theme statements:
- Themes are what you write about, while your thematic statement is a summation sentence of what you want to communicate.
- A theme can be a word, while a theme statement is a complete sentence. E.g., a love theme can just be written as “love” while the statement goes like, “Love is a powerful emotion; it cannot be quenched.”
- A theme can be anything, while a theme statement needs to have more structure. It’s basically the essence of your work.
- A theme can be interpreted in many different ways. A theme statement is a more specific and overarching message that leaves no room for doubts or second thoughts.
- A theme can be found in the body, while a thematic statement is used in the introduction.
- A theme can help you understand what you’re writing about, but a theme statement will help your reader better understand your topic.
- A theme can be anything that gives some kind of meaning to your work, while a theme statement projects what you’re writing about.
- The chosen theme can be an idea, while a thematic statement is worded to show the reader if they agree or not.
- A theme can be about any part of your work, while a thematic sentence condenses what needs to be communicated in the beginning paragraph.
- Remember that your theme is what you write about, but your thematic statement helps you communicate it.
Examples of themes versus theme statements
You want your theme statement to be the final piece that brings everything together. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your article, and it may take some tweaking. Having a clear idea of what your essay is about and who your audience is will help you.
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How to Write a Clear Theme Statement (with Examples)
Have you been asked to write a theme statement? It might seem easy at first glance, because theme statements are so short — one sentence, or two at most. Coming up with a solid theme statement requires careful analysis, however. Here’s how to write a strong theme statement for any work of art.
Theme Statement Basics
A theme is, in works of art, literature, film, and TV, the one overarching idea that defines the work. No matter the plot and the sub-themes explored in the work, the main theme will shine through in everything the work deals with. A theme statement is a short summary of that idea — a single sentence, or sometimes two, that lay the subject out for an audience.
Theme statements are helpful tools when analyzing a work. In the case of novels, movies, and TV shows, they can also be used to draw potential audience members in without spoiling the work — because (and this is important, so listen up!) a theme statement is not a plot summary, and should never mention specific plot points !
A good theme statement describes the essence of a work, but not its details. It describes the whole work, and not only one particular part of it.
Here’s one example:
In the Amazing Spider-Man 2, Marc Webb shows that with great power, there must not only come great responsibility, but also great sacrifice.
Theme statements are, however, to an extent open to interpretation. Works of art often have multiple themes, and you can write an accurate theme statement in a few different ways.
Theme Statement Vs. Theme Topic
If you find yourself needing to craft a theme statement, you may struggle with this question. How does a theme statement differ from a theme topic? Understanding the similarities and differences is quite easy, thankfully. Look at it like this:
- A theme topic simply describes the theme of the work — and although there are many, some common examples include “rags to riches”, “coming of age”, or “true love”.
- A theme statement, in contrast, is a complete sentence (or even two), with some additional information and an interpretation about the way in which the work (film, book, painting, poem…) deals with the theme topic.
As an example, “love conquers all” would be a theme topic. “The central theme in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is that only love can prevail across space and time,” would be a theme statement.
How to Write a Theme Statement
Are you still lost? Are you no closer to writing a killer theme statement now than when you started reading? That’s where this step-by-step guide comes in. Warning: Penning a high-quality theme statement requires a deceptively large amount of work and creative power.
1. Explore the Work Thoroughly
Theme statements may be written about:
- Short stories
Your first step lies in interacting with the work — and to keep things simple, let’s say you’re writing a theme statement about a novel. Read the work thoroughly, cover-to-cover, at least once. It helps if you take notes as you read.
2. Make a List of the Theme Topics You Discover
As you read, you will inevitably discover that the book contains multiple sub-themes. Get yourself a nice notebook, or set up a Word document, and write down any theme topic you come across.
Which one bleeds through in the entire work? That will be the main theme. From the main challenge the protagonist faces and the way in which they overcome it, the interactions the characters have, the language used, and the way in which the setting is described, can you guess the author’s opinion on this central theme? Now you have a solid base to work with.
Reading the book closely, and asking yourself what message it’s sending, is the way to find a theme in a literary piece. That same process works for movies, TV shows, and short stories as well. Finding the theme in a painting or poem can be significantly more challenging, however.
3. Explore the Author’s Thoughts
The work you are interacting with, and are attempting to write a theme statement for, is of course the main place where you will be exploring the author’s thoughts on the book’s theme topic. It is not, on the other hand, your only possible source of information. Especially if you are writing a theme statement for a more recently-written book, you are highly likely to be able to find:
- Interviews in which the author shares their thoughts on the character’s main struggles and the ultimate meaning of the literary work.
- Social media blurbs on the topic.
- Don’t discount the synopsis on the back of the cover, either! You’ll often find a lot of good info there.
4. Use a Template or Theme Statement Generators
Congratulations! The book you are writing a theme statement for has now become, at the very least, an “acquaintance”, and maybe even a “friend”. You have immersed yourself in the book’s overarching theme, and you have intellectually analyzed the book, at least informally in your own mind.
Still not sure how to write a theme statement? You could look for theme statement templates or theme statement generators on the internet, and find some useful tools. You could also work with the following informal template:
The [film/book/poem/etc] [title], by [author] explores [main theme], showing that [main opinion or message about the theme].
Once you’re done filling in the blanks, get to work on rewriting that sentence to make it sound a lot more appealing.
You could start your sentence with:
- [Name of the work] masterfully explores how….
- The main theme of [Title] is that…
- [Name of author’s] work [Title] shows that…
Once you have penned a theme statement you wholly agree with, and you feel confident that it reflects the spirit of the work, you will only need to format it and incorporate it, where relevant, into a wider essay you are writing about the work.
Good Examples of Theme Statements
Are you still not certain that you are on the right track with your theme statement? It always helps to see some examples in action.
Theme Statements Exploring Family
The remake of the classic show Lost in Space sheds a new light on an age-old struggle — exploring each member’s individuality in relation to the family unit.
E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web illustrates that “family” is not necessarily the group one is born into, but a group that chooses to stick by one another unconditionally, no matter what struggles lie ahead.
Theme Statements Dealing with Friendship
Stranger Things is ultimately about the enduring power of friendship — which can, with the right dose of determination, overcome almost anything.
Spider-Man Far from Home deals with some of the hardest aspects of friendship, asking what lengths we are morally obliged to go to to protect those we love.
Theme Statements Discussing Love
Shakespeare explores the unstoppable force of love, regardless of obstacles, in Romeo and Juliet .
Pride and Prejudice leaves no stone unturned as it boldly discusses the ways in which budding love can change us forever.
Theme Statements About Death
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera demonstrates the power of mortality itself, for it is the guaranteed ending that makes life worthwhile.
Henry Scott-Holland’s poem Death Is Nothing At All explores the transitory nature of life.
Theme Statements that Touch on Fear
In Heart of Darkness , Joseph Conrad shows that fear can be used to control — or to overcome.
Sony’s Into the Spider-Verse sheds a unique perspective on the universal emotion of fear, showing that our own insecurities often represent our most significant fetters.
Theme Statements about Identity
Good Will Hunting explores the universal themes of abandonment and identity, asking whether trusting others is possible after a lifetime of isolation and fear.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden is a tale of lost souls who are found, and learn to trust themselves in the process.
The book Record of a Spaceborn Few , by Becky Chambers, shows that even the oldest of traditions must sooner or later bend to the harsh tides of history.
Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy grapples with the universal human challenge of injustice, showing that hope can be found in the darkest of places.
The Hate U Give , by Angie Thomas, is a coming-of-age story with a twist. When oppression is a daily reality, Thomas shows, love and unity are the only way forward.
5 Important Tips on Writing a Theme Statement
Are you ready to rock your own theme statement now? Yes — very nearly. Before you do go forward with your final version, you’ll want to make sure to stick to a few important dos and don’ts.
When you present a theme statement for a book, movie, TV series, or piece of poetry, see to it that your statement is:
- The best theme statements are the result of the hard work you did in interacting with (reading, watching) the work of art you are writing a theme statement for, and getting to know it intimately. Once you are familiar with the work, you can analyze it and present an authentic opinion on its main theme. Note that others may disagree with you. That is OK, as long as you sincerely believe that your position is correct and can defend it.
- Your opinions in writing your theme statement should flow directly from the literary or cinematic work you are analyzing; don’t bring your own baggage into the theme statement if the work does not explicitly tackle it.
As you pen your theme statement, make sure that you don’t:
- Offer specifics. This is both so that you can see the “trees for the forest”, so to speak, and identify the theme rather than the plot points, and so that you do not spoil the work for people who have not yet read it or seen it.
- Deal in cliches. It’s easy. You’ll even spot a few in the previous section. If your theme statement is important to you, however, try to toss your preconceived ideas aside and analyze the work’s important subject matter in a novel way.
- Don’t generalize in your theme statement. Love doesn’t “always triumph”, for instance.
As long as you keep these points in mind, and you have done the work you need to in analyzing your book, movie, or other piece of art, you will end up with a theme statement you can be proud of.
How to start a theme statement?
You can start a theme statement simply by discussing what work of art you are talking about — “in [this work] authored by [this person]…”, or “[Author’s] classic book, [title], shows that…”. Your readers want to know what you are talking about, after all. Take it from there.
How to write a theme statement essay?
After opening your essay with the theme statement, as you view it after careful analysis, you can discuss the main theme and related sub-themes explored within the work you are analyzing in detail. You may compare the work to other works that deal with similar themes, perhaps in entirely different settings, as well.
How to write a theme in a sentence?
If you follow the format of “who wrote this work”, “what’s the main underlying topic?”, and “why is that important?”, you will be able to summarize the theme of a literary or cinematic work in a single sentence. Remember that theme statements may have two sentences, though.
How to write a theme paragraph?
If you were asked to write an entire paragraph, simply explore the work’s theme topic in more depth. You should still avoid any specifics, including plot points or character analyses.
Can you find a theme through titles?
Titles can sometimes offer important clues about a work’s theme. This is not always the case, however. Some works of art have deceptively unrelated titles.
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Writing Theme: The Simple Way to Weave a Thematic Message into Your Story
by J. D. Edwin | 0 comments
Does the concept of “theme” confuse you? Do you have trouble writing a strong theme, or weaving a theme into your story? How do you write a theme in literature?
If theme confuses you, you’re not alone. Lots of writers struggle to identify a theme in their book—and many don't even know what thematic message the are communicating through their story until a second or later draft.
The good news is, there are writing tips you can use when weaving a thematic message (or two) into your story. I'd like to share three simple ways to do this.
Why Writing Theme Was Difficult for Me (And How I Overcame This)
I remember the days back in high school English class when I dreaded writing essays on the common themes of books and stories.
There was one particular book that always lingers on my mind, Cold Mountain. I did not understand this book in the least, and when asked about theme, I picked a random sentence that sounded nice and called it a thematic statement. It wasn't one. It was about rocks—not the human condition.
As I grew and developed my skills as a writer, the concept of inserting a theme into a story eluded me.
A theme, after all, is an important story element when writing a novel .
It’s often abstract and vague, and yet it’s supposed to fit every part of your story and tie it all together.
How can you fit this big, confounding idea into your story and keep it consistent throughout, especially when writing a book?
Believe it or not, there is a way!
It wasn’t until the last few years that I finally began to understand how exactly a theme should fit into a story, and that—as it turns out—writing theme isn’t that complicated at all.
When Writing Theme, First Ask Yourself: “What is a Theme?”
A central theme is the main idea or underlying meaning that an author explores in a novel. There can be multiple themes in a story, but each of them says something big about the story's lesson, and what readers can take away from the book.
Does this seem confusing, or ambiguous? Let’s make it simpler:
A theme is an idea that recurs in a story.
That makes a little more sense. But let’s break it down even further.
A theme is a message you keep reminding your reader because it's what the story is really about.
That means a theme is a message that says, “Hey, by the way, just so you remember, this is what I’m trying to tell you. I want you to read this story and remember this .”
You sprinkle this message throughout your story like seasoning on a dish, through description, through dialogue, and through choices made by your characters.
But when writing theme, how do you choose your story's theme(s)? And even after you choose them, how do you weave them into your story's scenes ?
How to Choose Your Story's Theme
Your theme doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be one sentence, a simple phrase, or just one word. In fact, the simpler and more straightforward the theme, the better.
Think of your theme as the one idea you want your readers to keep in the back of their minds during and after reading the story.
For an example, let’s pretend we are going to write a story about an old woman recounting the long life she’s lived.
The theme we want to convey is “passage of time.”
But what does this mean? What will this say about your character experiencing your story, and how can you make this clear to the reader without being overly obvious? What will my story say about the passage of time?
Weaving Theme in Your Story
When writing theme, and then weaving it into your story, begin by identifying words relevant to your theme.
In the example we’ve selected, many words tie to the concept of time, such as:
Once you identify these words, weave them into your story. This is something that may feel difficult when you first draft your story, but can be done fairly easily in future drafts or during editing.
Let’s take a look at how we can weave this theme of passing time into our story. Imagine this scene:
Doris sat on the creaky bench at the bus stop. The shops down by Main Street had changed from what she remembered. Old McLaren’s barbershop had become a trendy boutique, and the high school where her children attended had been knocked down and rebuilt twice since they graduated. A bike lane had been added to accommodate the increase in cyclers. Biking seemed to have made a comeback. The city bus pulled up with a groan. The tired-looking driver popped the door and gestured to her. “Come on now, I got a schedule to keep.” Doris rose, wincing at her aching bones, and dragged herself onto the bus, where she chose a seat near the back window and watched the city she no longer recognized scroll by outside.
This passage conveys what the story wants to say about time, but something feels weak about it.
It’s loose, like a series of thoughts and descriptions that has a central idea but not quite. To change that, let’s review our theme-relevant words above and take another crack at it.
Here we go:
The ancient bench creaked under Doris as she put her weight on it. It needed a coat of paint badly, but the fast-paced city couldn’t be bothered to pause and refurbish every run-down bus stop. It certainly had time though, Doris thought, to take down and replace all her old haunts. Old McLaren’s barbershop had become a trendy boutique last fall, and the high school where her children attended had been knocked down and rebuilt twice since they graduated at the turn of the century. A bike lane had been added to accommodate the increase in cyclers. Biking was big in the ‘80s, and now the hipsters have brought it back. The city bus pulled up with an exhausted groan. Compared to the bus stop, the old machine looked even worse for wear. The driver with deep lines over his brows popped the door and gestured to her. “Tick-tock, lady. Got a schedule to keep.” Doris rose, wincing at her aching bones. Perhaps she ought to lose weight, she thought to herself, but it was more a flight of fancy than anything – the days when she could still hit the treadmill in between busy work days and long nights partying were far behind her. She dragged herself onto the bus, started to sit in the first available seat, then changed her mind and moved to a quieter spot near the back window, where she settled down heavily and watched the city she no longer recognized scroll by outside.
Does this passage feel more interesting? More emotive? Paints a clearer picture?
The reason is because the theme of time comes through, not only for Doris, but in the poorly maintained bus stop (ancient; contrast against the fast-paced city), the passing of seasons and time (fall, turn of the century), and word choices (tick-tock).
The bus is an old machine, the driver has lines over his brows, the old trend of biking comes full circle, and Doris is no longer the young buck she once was.
Then, instead of sitting in the most convenient seat, she chooses one in the back, a quiet spot that contrasts against her former busy, noisy life of working, gym, and parties.
Every part of this passage now emphasizes time, using words that call to mind clocks, seasons, fast and slow, old and young. Not only does it bring forth the theme and message more strongly, it also makes the story more vivid, tight, and emotional.
Writing theme—specifically the passage of time—in this example takes on new meaning because the context of the story's character, perspective, setting, and conflict all points back to the character's relationship with time itself.
The theme becomes more purposeful because the theme, the passage of time, has a purpose in how the character experiences her surroundings.
Writing With a Theme Makes a Difference
Fitting a theme to your story doesn’t have to be complicated.
By breaking it down to relevant words wrapped around a central idea, you can sprinkle it all throughout your book and reiterate your message to your readers in a subtle, consistent manner.
Writing with a theme can seem daunting, because it feels like everything you write has to fit this one central idea. But the truth is, deciding on a theme can actually help making the writing process easier.
There are a million ways to describe a particular tree your character encounters on their walk. Is it tall? Beautiful? Ugly? Majestic? Inconvenient? Knobbly? But with a theme in mind, you can quickly narrow down the appropriate words to use.
A theme of time, as mentioned above, might lead you to describe the tree as “ancient”, or “a young sapling,” or “bent like grandmother's back.” A different theme, such as young love, might lead you to describe it as “a meeting place of lovers,” or “swaying gently like a lady's hips.”
Instead of being a burden or extra consideration, a theme can work with you and serve as your guide.
And remember, you shouldn't overthink (or overdo) a theme. Plenty of writers don't even know their story's theme until after they've written their first draft.
Still, you need a theme to make a story resonate with your reader after they finish your book. And using the simple tip for writing theme (and weaving it into your scenes) discussed in this post will strengthen your revisions—and the messages making your story memorable and meaningful.
Have you come across themes in your past readings that really resonated with you? Share in the comments below.
First, pick a theme and list out five to ten words relevant to it. Really think about what it would take to integrate these words into a story. Take five minutes to choose your theme and list your words.
Now, take ten minutes to write a blurb that communicates the theme above using the words you listed to inject your message into the story.
When you're done, share your theme and your blurb in the Pro Practice Workshop here . And be sure to support your fellow writers by commenting on what they share, too!
J. D. Edwin
J. D. Edwin is a daydreamer and writer of fiction both long and short, usually in soft sci-fi or urban fantasy. Sign up for her newsletter for free articles on the writer life and updates on her novel, find her on Facebook and Twitter ( @JDEdwinAuthor ), or read one of her many short stories on Short Fiction Break literary magazine .
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What is theme? Here’s a quick and simple definition:
A theme is a universal idea, lesson, or message explored throughout a work of literature. One key characteristic of literary themes is their universality, which is to say that themes are ideas that not only apply to the specific characters and events of a book or play, but also express broader truths about human experience that readers can apply to their own lives. For instance, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (about a family of tenant farmers who are displaced from their land in Oklahoma) is a book whose themes might be said to include the inhumanity of capitalism, as well as the vitality and necessity of family and friendship.
Some additional key details about theme:
- All works of literature have themes. The same work can have multiple themes, and many different works explore the same or similar themes.
- Themes are sometimes divided into thematic concepts and thematic statements . A work's thematic concept is the broader topic it touches upon (love, forgiveness, pain, etc.) while its thematic statement is what the work says about that topic. For example, the thematic concept of a romance novel might be love, and, depending on what happens in the story, its thematic statement might be that "Love is blind," or that "You can't buy love . "
- Themes are almost never stated explicitly. Oftentimes you can identify a work's themes by looking for a repeating symbol , motif , or phrase that appears again and again throughout a story, since it often signals a recurring concept or idea.
Here's how to pronounce theme: theem
Every work of literature—whether it's an essay, a novel, a poem, or something else—has at least one theme. Therefore, when analyzing a given work, it's always possible to discuss what the work is "about" on two separate levels: the more concrete level of the plot (i.e., what literally happens in the work), as well as the more abstract level of the theme (i.e., the concepts that the work deals with). Understanding the themes of a work is vital to understanding the work's significance—which is why, for example, every LitCharts Literature Guide uses a specific set of themes to help analyze the text.
Although some writers set out to explore certain themes in their work before they've even begun writing, many writers begin to write without a preconceived idea of the themes they want to explore—they simply allow the themes to emerge naturally through the writing process. But even when writers do set out to investigate a particular theme, they usually don't identify that theme explicitly in the work itself. Instead, each reader must come to their own conclusions about what themes are at play in a given work, and each reader will likely come away with a unique thematic interpretation or understanding of the work.
Symbol, Motif, and Leitwortstil
Writers often use three literary devices in particular—known as symbol , motif , and leitwortstil —to emphasize or hint at a work's underlying themes. Spotting these elements at work in a text can help you know where to look for its main themes.
- Near the beginning of Romeo and Juliet , Benvolio promises to make Romeo feel better about Rosaline's rejection of him by introducing him to more beautiful women, saying "Compare [Rosaline's] face with some that I shall show….and I will make thee think thy swan a crow." Here, the swan is a symbol for how Rosaline appears to the adoring Romeo, while the crow is a symbol for how she will soon appear to him, after he has seen other, more beautiful women.
- Symbols might occur once or twice in a book or play to represent an emotion, and in that case aren't necessarily related to a theme. However, if you start to see clusters of similar symbols appearing in a story, this may mean that the symbols are part of an overarching motif, in which case they very likely are related to a theme.
- For example, Shakespeare uses the motif of "dark vs. light" in Romeo and Juliet to emphasize one of the play's main themes: the contradictory nature of love. To develop this theme, Shakespeare describes the experience of love by pairing contradictory, opposite symbols next to each other throughout the play: not only crows and swans, but also night and day, moon and sun. These paired symbols all fall into the overall pattern of "dark vs. light," and that overall pattern is called a motif.
- A famous example is Kurt Vonnegut's repetition of the phrase "So it goes" throughout his novel Slaughterhouse Five , a novel which centers around the events of World War II. Vonnegut's narrator repeats the phrase each time he recounts a tragic story from the war, an effective demonstration of how the horrors of war have become normalized for the narrator. The constant repetition of the phrase emphasizes the novel's primary themes: the death and destruction of war, and the futility of trying to prevent or escape such destruction, and both of those things coupled with the author's skepticism that any of the destruction is necessary and that war-time tragedies "can't be helped."
Symbol, motif and leitwortstil are simply techniques that authors use to emphasize themes, and should not be confused with the actual thematic content at which they hint. That said, spotting these tools and patterns can give you valuable clues as to what might be the underlying themes of a work.
Thematic Concepts vs. Thematic Statements
A work's thematic concept is the broader topic it touches upon—for instance:
while its thematic statement is the particular argument the writer makes about that topic through his or her work, such as:
- Human judgement is imperfect.
- Love cannot be bought.
- Getting revenge on someone else will not fix your problems.
- Learning to forgive is part of becoming an adult.
Should You Use Thematic Concepts or Thematic Statements?
Some people argue that when describing a theme in a work that simply writing a thematic concept is insufficient, and that instead the theme must be described in a full sentence as a thematic statement. Other people argue that a thematic statement, being a single sentence, usually creates an artificially simplistic description of a theme in a work and is therefore can actually be more misleading than helpful. There isn't really a right answer in this debate.
In our LitCharts literature study guides , we usually identify themes in headings as thematic concepts, and then explain the theme more fully in a few paragraphs. We find thematic statements limiting in fully exploring or explaining a the theme, and so we don't use them. Please note that this doesn't mean we only rely on thematic concepts—we spend paragraphs explaining a theme after we first identify a thematic concept. If you are asked to describe a theme in a text, you probably should usually try to at least develop a thematic statement about the text if you're not given the time or space to describe it more fully. For example, a statement that a book is about "the senselessness of violence" is a lot stronger and more compelling than just saying that the book is about "violence."
Identifying Thematic Statements
One way to try to to identify or describe the thematic statement within a particular work is to think through the following aspects of the text:
- Plot: What are the main plot elements in the work, including the arc of the story, setting, and characters. What are the most important moments in the story? How does it end? How is the central conflict resolved?
- Protagonist: Who is the main character, and what happens to him or her? How does he or she develop as a person over the course of the story?
- Prominent symbols and motifs: Are there any motifs or symbols that are featured prominently in the work—for example, in the title, or recurring at important moments in the story—that might mirror some of the main themes?
After you've thought through these different parts of the text, consider what their answers might tell you about the thematic statement the text might be trying to make about any given thematic concept. The checklist above shouldn't be thought of as a precise formula for theme-finding, but rather as a set of guidelines, which will help you ask the right questions and arrive at an interesting thematic interpretation.
The following examples not only illustrate how themes develop over the course of a work of literature, but they also demonstrate how paying careful attention to detail as you read will enable you to come to more compelling conclusions about those themes.
Themes in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald explores many themes in The Great Gatsby , among them the corruption of the American Dream .
- The story's narrator is Minnesota-born Nick Caraway, a New York bonds salesman. Nick befriends Jay Gatsby, the protagonist, who is a wealthy man who throws extravagant parties at his mansion.
- The central conflict of the novel is Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy, whom he met and fell in love with as a young man, but parted from during World War I.
- He makes a fortune illegally by bootlegging alcohol, to become the sort of wealthy man he believes Daisy is attracted to, then buys a house near her home, where she lives with her husband.
- While he does manage to re-enter Daisy's life, she ultimately abandons him and he dies as a result of her reckless, selfish behavior.
- Gatsby's house is on the water, and he stares longingly across the water at a green light that hangs at the edge of a dock at Daisy's house which sits across a the bay. The symbol of the light appears multiple times in the novel—during the early stages of Gatsby's longing for Daisy, during his pursuit of her, and after he dies without winning her love. It symbolizes both his longing for daisy and the distance between them (the distance of space and time) that he believes (incorrectly) that he can bridge.
- In addition to the green light, the color green appears regularly in the novel. This motif of green broadens and shapes the symbolism of the green light and also influences the novel's themes. While green always remains associated with Gatsby's yearning for Daisy and the past, and also his ambitious striving to regain Daisy, it also through the motif of repeated green becomes associated with money, hypocrisy, and destruction. Gatsby's yearning for Daisy, which is idealistic in some ways, also becomes clearly corrupt in others, which more generally impacts what the novel is saying about dreams more generally and the American Dream in particular.
Gatsby pursues the American Dream, driven by the idea that hard work can lead anyone from poverty to wealth, and he does so for a single reason: he's in love with Daisy. However, he pursues the dream dishonestly, making a fortune by illegal means, and ultimately fails to achieve his goal of winning Daisy's heart. Furthermore, when he actually gets close to winning Daisy's heart, she brings about his downfall. Through the story of Gatsby and Daisy, Fitzgerald expresses the point of view that the American Dream carries at its core an inherent corruption. You can read more about the theme of The American Dream in The Great Gatsby here .
Themes in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart
In Things Fall Apart , Chinua Achebe explores the theme of the dangers of rigidly following tradition .
- Okonkwo is obsessed with embodying the masculine ideals of traditional Igbo warrior culture.
- Okonkwo's dedication to his clan's traditions is so extreme that it even alienates members of his own family, one of whom joins the Christians.
- The central conflict: Okonkwo's community adapts to colonization in order to survive, becoming less warlike and allowing the minor injustices that the colonists inflict upon them to go unchallenged. Okonkwo, however, refuses to adapt.
- At the end of the novel, Okonkwo impulsively kills a Christian out of anger. Recognizing that his community does not support his crime, Okonkwo kills himself in despair.
- Clanswomen who give birth to twins abandon the babies in the forest to die, according to traditional beliefs that twins are evil.
- Okonkwo kills his beloved adopted son, a prisoner of war, according to the clan's traditions.
- Okonkwo sacrifices a goat in repentence, after severely beating his wife during the clan's holy week.
Through the tragic story of Okonkwo, Achebe is clearly dealing with the theme of tradition, but a close examination of the text reveals that he's also making a clear thematic statement that following traditions too rigidly leads people to the greatest sacrifice of all: that of personal agency . You can read more about this theme in Things Fall Apart here .
Themes in Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken
Poem's have themes just as plot-driven narratives do. One theme that Robert Frost explores in this famous poem, The Road Not Taken , is the illusory nature of free will .
- The poem's speaker stands at a fork in the road, in a "yellow wood."
- He (or she) looks down one path as far as possible, then takes the other, which seems less worn.
- The speaker then admits that the paths are about equally worn—there's really no way to tell the difference—and that a layer of leaves covers both of the paths, indicating that neither has been traveled recently.
- After taking the second path, the speaker finds comfort in the idea of taking the first path sometime in the future, but acknowledges that he or she is unlikely to ever return to that particular fork in the woods.
- The speaker imagines how, "with a sigh" she will tell someone in the future, "I took the road less travelled—and that has made all the difference."
- By wryly predicting his or her own need to romanticize, and retroactively justify, the chosen path, the speaker injects the poem with an unmistakeable hint of irony .
- The speaker's journey is a symbol for life, and the two paths symbolize different life paths, with the road "less-travelled" representing the path of an individualist or lone-wolf. The fork where the two roads diverge represents an important life choice. The road "not taken" represents the life path that the speaker would have pursued had he or she had made different choices.
Frost's speaker has reached a fork in the road, which—according to the symbolic language of the poem—means that he or she must make an important life decision. However, the speaker doesn't really know anything about the choice at hand: the paths appear to be the same from the speaker's vantage point, and there's no way he or she can know where the path will lead in the long term. By showing that the only truly informed choice the speaker makes is how he or she explains their decision after they have already made it , Frost suggests that although we pretend to make our own choices, our lives are actually governed by chance.
What's the Function of Theme in Literature?
Themes are a huge part of what readers ultimately take away from a work of literature when they're done reading it. They're the universal lessons and ideas that we draw from our experiences of works of art: in other words, they're part of the whole reason anyone would want to pick up a book in the first place!
It would be difficult to write any sort of narrative that did not include any kind of theme. The narrative itself would have to be almost completely incoherent in order to seem theme-less, and even then readers would discern a theme about incoherence and meaninglessness. So themes are in that sense an intrinsic part of nearly all writing. At the same time, the themes that a writer is interested in exploring will significantly impact nearly all aspects of how a writer chooses to write a text. Some writers might know the themes they want to explore from the beginning of their writing process, and proceed from there. Others might have only a glimmer of an idea, or have new ideas as they write, and so the themes they address might shift and change as they write. In either case, though, the writer's ideas about his or her themes will influence how they write.
One additional key detail about themes and how they work is that the process of identifying and interpreting them is often very personal and subjective. The subjective experience that readers bring to interpreting a work's themes is part of what makes literature so powerful: reading a book isn't simply a one-directional experience, in which the writer imparts their thoughts on life to the reader, already distilled into clear thematic statements. Rather, the process of reading and interpreting a work to discover its themes is an exchange in which readers parse the text to tease out the themes they find most relevant to their personal experience and interests.
Other Helpful Theme Resources
- The Wikipedia Page on Theme: An in-depth explanation of theme that also breaks down the difference between thematic concepts and thematic statements.
- The Dictionary Definition of Theme: A basic definition and etymology of the term.
- In this instructional video , a teacher explains her process for helping students identify themes.
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- Explanations and citation info for 37,864 quotes across 1807 books
- Downloadable (PDF) line-by-line translations of every Shakespeare play
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How to Write a Thematic Statement - Tips & Examples
Published on: Jan 16, 2020
Last updated on: Dec 19, 2022
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A thematic statement is one or two sentences that express the main idea of a story or essay. It is the most important part of academic writing and literature. To write a good statement, you need to understand the literary work well.
Read the blog to get a comprehensive idea of the thematic statement.
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What is a Thematic Statement?
A thematic statement is a sentence (or two) that expresses the main idea of the writing. It is the central message of a literary work. It is closely related to the thesis statement, and it can represent the thesis statement in a literary work.
According to the thematic statement definition:
“It is a central message of a literary work that the author wants to convey about the subject.”
The thematic statement is not the same as the subject, as it can’t be described in a word or two. It is a complete sentence or two sentences that present the whole idea of the literary work. It is expressed as a general statement about the subject of the literary work and is different from a simple theme.
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Theme vs. Thematic Statement
The theme is the main message that the writer wants the reader to remember after reading the work. In contrast, the thematic statement is a general statement that explains the theme of the work.
The theme could be represented by just one or two words, i.e., love, hate, courage, etc. In comparison, the thematic statement is a complete sentence (or two) that expresses the theme. A literary work can have more than one theme, and not all of them are directly stated but are implied.
Purpose of Thematic Statement
The thematic statement aims to present the whole idea of the work. It helps the reader interpret the main message of the literary work.
The primary purpose of this statement is to present a summary of the work. The goal is to give a simple and clear interpretation of the subject in one or two sentences.
How to Write a Thematic Statement?
There is no specific set of rules that defines the statement format. However, some aspects can be defined as desirable characteristics. The following steps will help you write a strong thematic statement.
1. Create a List of Theme Topics
Brainstorm several theme topic ideas and make a list of them. Check which idea can support your argument with evidence from the literature or examples. Choose the one that the literary text can best demonstrate.
2. Conduct Exhaustive Research
Research your chosen theme to collect relevant material and see what others have written about it. Read the available literature work thoroughly to analyze what could be the central message of your work. Carefully examine the plots, characters, writing styles, and different human perspectives. It will help you develop an original interpretation.
3. Pick out Thematic Statements of Other Writers
While reading the literature work, pick out the statements of other authors. Analyze what others think about your chosen subject and how they have conveyed their thoughts.
4. Identify Conflict Areas
Every theme or topic has a conflict of ideas essential to present to understand the theme completely. Identifying the conflict area will help you analyze the central concept for your work. It will also guide you to determine the motives and values to understand the nature of the conflict.
5. Focus on the Crux
The purpose of the statement is to present the complete message of the work in one sentence. Therefore, it is important to focus on the crux instead of talking about what or how.
6. Avoid Directive and Moral edict
A theme statement weighs, observes, and considers actions and ideas, but it doesn't judge what people should or should not do. Therefore, it is important to avoid moral, directive, or order statements that tell someone how to behave or do something. Hence, avoid words like ought, should, must, and other similar words that impose something.
7. Avoid Cliches
Cliches have already been used several times, and they do not sound unique anymore. So, it's better to come up with an original statement for your work.
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Thematic Statement Examples
A thematic statement is an overarching message of a literary work. The following examples will help you understand what a good statement looks like.
- “Love can conquer even the greatest evil”
- “Love makes you care about others more than yourself”
- “Love, if taken to the extreme, can be negative rather than positive”
- “A man who lives fully is prepared to die anytime”
- “Death is so beautiful that whoever meets it never comes back”
- “To die will be an awfully amazing adventure”
- “Be who you are, and the world will adjust”
- “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not”
- “We know what we are, but not what we may be”
- “Fear is something more dangerous than the danger itself”
- “Fear is nothing more than just a state of mind”
- “The biggest thing to fear about is fear itself”
- “Racism is an institutionalized form of discrimination that exists in our society today”
- “Racism results in the exclusion of certain groups from full participation in society”
- “Racism leads to social and economic inequality”
Thematic Statement Template
The following thematic statement template will help you write a good theme statement for your paper.
Template of Thematic Statement
This guide and example are everything that you need to get started with thematic statements. Following the guidelines, start composing your thematic statement, and if you get stuck, we are here to help. MyPerfectWords.com is an online essay writing service that provides top-quality academic writing at affordable prices.
Whether you need just a theme statement or a complete paper, we have got it all covered. So, without wasting more time, hire our essay writer now.
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- How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .
Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:
- Start with a question
- Write your initial answer
- Develop your answer
- Refine your thesis statement
Table of contents
What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.
A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.
The best thesis statements are:
- Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
- Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
- Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.
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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.
You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.
You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?
For example, you might ask:
After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .
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Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.
In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.
The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.
In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.
The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.
A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:
- Why you hold this position
- What they’ll learn from your essay
- The key points of your argument or narrative
The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.
These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.
Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:
- In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
- In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :
- Ask a question about your topic .
- Write your initial answer.
- Develop your answer by including reasons.
- Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.
The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .
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These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.
The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable
An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.
Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:
This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.
Example of a debatable thesis statement:
This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.
Another example of a debatable thesis statement:
In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.
The thesis needs to be narrow
Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.
Example of a thesis that is too broad:
There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.
Example of a narrow or focused thesis:
In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.
We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:
Narrowed debatable thesis 1:
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.
Narrowed debatable thesis 2:
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.
Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.
Types of claims
Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.
Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:
Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:
Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:
Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:
Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.
Thematic Statement: Perfect Tips with Example
Knowing how to write a thematic statement is crucial for the students of literature and creative writing. Composing a good thematic statement increases the general understanding of the whole idea and helps the writer to convey the main idea in a better and concise way.
For this purpose, writing a thematic statement is an important part of essay writing. If you want to know how to write a good thematic statement , then keep reading the blog. You will be provided with a complete guide and tips on it.
What is a thematic statement?
The literacy meaning of the thematic statement is “composed around the theme”
A theme is the main or central message that the writer wants the reader to remember after reading his work. A large number of stories, dramas, novels, and poems have more than one theme.
A thematic statement is a complete sentence (or two) that states a theme. A thematic statement can be turned into a thesis in a thematic essay.
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Thematic statement differs from the theme in a way that can be explained in a single word, for example, the theme of a literary work can be based on love, revenge, action etc.
You can easily understand the general concept of the entire work by this single word. Whereas, thematic statement is further explanation of the theme where the writer attempts to cover a large-scale topic in one or two sentences.
Example of Thematic Meaning
“I’m here just to ask about the rumors that have been circulating recently.”
The part of the sentence that is italicized in the sentence above is the emphasis as well as the thematic meaning of the sentence. Thus, the sentence means that the writer wants to specifically ask about the rumors that have been circulating recently.
Purpose of Thematic Statement
The purpose of the thematic statement is to convey the message to the readers by giving the clear idea of the entire literacy work. The message when conveyed effectively, satisfies them, emotionally and analytically, and makes them feel like they’ve gone through a good work.
It also aims to provide the summary of the entire work by keeping the writer focused and clear. As a good thematic statement keeps all the characters revolve around the central theme so there are less chances that the writer can go out of the topic
Characteristics of Good Thematic Statement
A good statement must be general as well as specific. It should be general enough to present the main idea of the work and specific enough to to present a clear interpretation. Below are some points on what makes a statement interesting.
- This statement contains a core message, is focused in terms of content and clearly structured.
- An interesting thematic statement consists of three components: Message, Reason, and Example.
- It is essential to ensure that the statement is not ‘overfed’ with information and unnecessarily prolonged.
- General places are to be avoided. Statement should only express itself if it has something to say and can offer added value.
- Even if it is tempting, the brevity and precision of the thematic statement must never be jeopardized by many reasons, additional examples, or awkward language. If a statement is too long, it runs the risk of being ignored or lost purpose. Neither is desirable, so content-related precision is very important.
How to write a thematic statement?
There are no fixed rules of creative writing however some methods are there to follow in order to create desirable thematic statements . Follow the step mentioned below to compose a statement perfectly.
Read Thoroughly to Develop a Perfect Thematic Statement
The first step of composing a good thematic statement is to read the entire work thoroughly. Capture all human perspectives by noticing what is the writing style, what characters are used, and what plots are made. This practice will help in generating an original interpretation.
Identify Conflict Areas
A thorough reading would help you to identify the conflict of ideas. Conflict ideas are in every story and the nature of conflict can be identified by values, motives, and interest of the story. Identifying main conflicts will also help you to reach the central Idea on which the story was narrated.
Focus on the Core
Automatic statements convey the central message. It is important to focus on the core message without adding extra explanation. Therefore instead of writing about how and when things happen it’s better to just add the end results of what has happened.
Capturing the Gist
So far you would be able to imagine the big picture of your story by following the above-mentioned steps. To make it clearer, start writing a sentence that describes the particular aspect of your story and leave it to rectify afterwards.
It is not necessary to write the details about how things happened. Instead, a Thematic statement gives a clear picture of why things happened. Explaining the “why” questions give the clear sense of events happening in a story.
Avoid the Absolute Statements
As the thematic statement is a one-line concise statement, it should avoid the absolute aspects of the story that are already clear and do not need any explanation. However, you can use this statement where you really need them, following the condition that it should make sense.
No Moral Edict
Keep your thematic statement in correspondence to the original idea. Do not transform and add moral edict in order to make it more presentable. Adding moral edict in the thematic statement, which is not originally present in the main idea would alter the complete meaning and you would end up in making a wrong thematic or a thesis statement.
A thematic statement should not be a copied sentence from the original work. Rather, it should be the original expressions of opinion instead of using famous punchlines.
Things to Avoid While Writing a Thematic Statement
Most writers make mistakes while writing these statements. Following are the mistakes which they make. Always keep in mind these mistakes and avoid making them.
It Is Not a Moral, Command or A Directive
Sometimes in order to present more decent text authors attempt to add moral values to the theme and hence lose originality. Themes are not made to judge what others’ actions should or should not be. Writers should only take the general perspective of the person’s behavior and state it as it is.
It Has No Trite Sayings
Purpose of the theme is to express the complexity of life enriched in literacy. That’s why it is very important for these ideas to be original and thoughtful by avoiding clichés or aphorisms.
Avoid Referring Particular Names or Events
Writers often confuse the idea of summary and statement. Thematic statements are never meant to summarize the work, instead they only represent a general idea of what happened. Therefore, writers should avoid referring to a particular name or event in order to explain the details of the story.
Avoiding Absolute Terms
Writers often add absolute terms in composing a statement, which shows the poor reasoning. Therefore, writers should avoid using the absolute terms and rely on their own words while writing a thematic statement.
Don’t Be Obvious
The obvious phrases like “peace is better than war” should not be added in the thematic statement. As these statements are already obvious for the readers and it makes no sense in adding it into the central theme.
Instead, the explanation or reasons like “why is peace better than war” or “what makes peace better than a war” or “its impact on different characters” should become part of the central theme.
Don’t Make It Advise
Try not to make your statement sound like advice. It should be objective and completely based on strong evidence from the work. As the thematic statement has nothing to do with morality, it’s just the statement around which the story revolves.
Thematic Statement Theme
Six common themes of literacy are:
- Good vs Evil
- Courage and Perseverance
- Coming of Age
Examples of Thematic Statement
Following are some examples of thematic statements:
- The man of true character never take part in hypocrisy no matter what
- Pride is the way of finding true love
- Love is the most misunderstood language, still loved by every human being.
- If the method logic system of mind is in control it originates the absolute power on which human fear and weakness are based.
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Crafting Your Thematic Statement with 7 Amazing Techniques
Are you finding it hard to produce a profound thematic statement for your writing? Don’t worry, because we are already on top of it. Start crafting an interesting theme statement with 7 amazing techniques while your peers are still scratching their heads over it!
Table of Contents
What is a Thematic Statement?
A Thematic Statement is a simple sentence that expresses what the author wants to teach, argue, or show us in their work. These statements often explore universal truths and can apply to various aspects of life.
Let’s look at some examples ;
- “The only thing to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (from his inaugural address)
- “Love conquers all” – Virgil (from his epic poem, The Aeneid)
- “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” – George Orwell (from his novel Animal Farm)
Also known as theme statements, these are more commonly used in literary writings like novels and short stories. And although the practice is rare, there is nothing wrong with using them in formal or academic writing.
We understand that most of you want to learn how to write a thematic statement because of your essay assignment. Using such statements can enhance your writing to perfect essay writing . So let’s jump into it.
How to Write a Thematic Statement For Your College Essay? A Step-By-Step Guideline
A theme statement can provide the writer with a clear direction so they can stay focused on their main agenda. These statements guide your writing and help you choose to enhance your content.
When writing a theme statement for your college essay or story, think about the main message you want to convey to the reader. The steps below will help you change that idea into an impactful theme statement.
Understand The Material
There are two ways of writing a theme statement: before writing any body paragraph and after writing everything. If you take the latter route, read through your entire work carefully.
Consider your writing style, plot, narratives, and characters (if you’re writing it for a story). The more you interpret your content, the clearer your main idea becomes. So, take your time to thoroughly analyze the work before attempting to craft a theme statement.
However, if you’re crafting a theme statement before your content, make sure it’s debatable and thought-provoking. It would help to keep your intended audience in mind while writing your statement.
Identify the Central Ideas of Your Work
Identifying the central ideas or themes is of utmost importance. This central idea of your writing will determine what your theme statement talks about. Notice how your work reflects on that central idea.
Jot down the main values and motives you have conveyed in your work. If you’ve written a story, then make sure to note the main conflicts your characters face and what motivates them. This will help you create a power theme statement that you can support through text evidence.
Choosing the right words to state the theme
While crafting a theme statement, it is important to use clear, concise, and effective language to convey the intended message. This involves choosing words appropriate for the audience and the purpose of the work.
For example, if the work is academic, you may need to use more technical language. On the other hand, if the work is more creative, you need to use descriptive and imaginative language.
Keep it General
When writing a theme statement, it’s important to focus on the bigger picture and not get bogged down in the details. You don’t need to go down any rabbit holes or explore every minor aspect of the work.
Instead, you should keep your statement general and applicable to various situations. By doing so, you can create a statement that is easily understood and resonates with a broad audience.
Choose an Objective Point of View
A theme statement indeed reflects your opinion on a central subject. But don’t get too carried away with it. Remember, there’s always a difference between thematic and thesis statements.
Your thesis statement can be super subjective because it will be used as a beacon for your writing. Your theme statement, on the other hand, has to be general or objective. That’s because it’s reflective of your stance on the main theme.
Look at it this way;
There are levels of specificness and subjectivity. Your main theme is purely objective, a theme statement is fairly objective, but a thesis is subjective.
You write an impactful theme statement; you must leave your comfort zone and be creative. Our writers would always suggest avoiding cliches like;
- Love conquers all
- Follow your dreams
- Life is a journey, not a destination.
- Honesty is the best policy.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover
- Money can’t buy happiness
Try to be original while expressing your opinions. Write something meaningful to your work.
Revisiting and Editing
Once you have drafted your theme statement, you need to edit and refine it to ensure that it effectively captures the essence of the theme. This involves revising and polishing the language. It would help if you also considered whether the statement accurately represents the main idea or message of the work.
Remove the unnecessary words and phrases. Check if the statement effectively conveys the emotions or feelings expressed in the work. By refining your theme statement, you can create a strong and impactful message that effectively captures the essence of the theme.
These were the 7 steps that you need to remember before crafting your theme statement. But of course, many students require additional help, and for that, you can check out our assignment writing service to get all the professional assistance you need.
The Don’ts of Thematic Statements
Remember, a good theme statement should capture the essence of the work, convey a universal message, and provide insight into the themes explored by the author. Here are some of the “Don’ts” you must be mindful of while creating a theme statement.
- Don’t get into too much detail. A theme statement is only supposed to be 1-2 lines.
- Don’t try to turn it into something preachy.
- Don’t use absolute statements unless you’re sure of them
- Avoid the words like “ought” or “should.”
- Try not to use Maxims or Aphorisms
- Don’t name particular events from history or names
- Don’t use absolute terms because they indicate poor reasoning
Now those were enough rules for creating an impactful theme statement. Let’s familiarize you with these statements from popular culture and literature.
Examples of Thematic Statement
The use of these statements is a fairly new concept to many students. So we’ve brought you examples from cinema and books we know too well.
Examples of Thematic Statements from Popular Media for Your Recognition
- From the Netflix show You : “Obsession and desire can lead to dangerous consequences, ultimately revealing the dark and manipulative nature of human behavior.”
- No Country for Old Men : the pursuit of greed and violence can have devastating effects, even on the most skilled and experienced people.
- The show Friends : True friendship can help you navigate through all of the challenges of life.
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy: Good will always prevail over evil as long as people can keep their courage.
- Casablanca : True love requires sacrifice for the greater good.
- For the movie Legally Blonde : Stereotypes are easy to break if one is determined to work on personal growth.
- Amelie : Routine can confine you; breaking out of isolation can lead to personal growth and transformation.
- A theme statement for the famous HBO show Game of Thrones : “Power corrupts even the noblest of characters, and the pursuit of Power can ultimately lead to destruction and chaos.
- In the movie Titanic : Love transcends social and cultural barriers and can have long-lasting effects.
- Corpse Bride : True love can transcend social barriers and death. And the pursuit of personal desires and societal expectations almost always clash.
- For the show Breaking Bad : Desperation and the desire for control can make you morally ambiguous.
- The movie Gone with the Wind : Clinging to the past and the inability to adapt to change can have devastating effects.
- In the movie Godfather : Change is inevitable, even for people in Power.
- Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises shows: Selflessness is the only condition for heroism.
Examples of Strong Thematic Statements in Your Favorite Piece of Writing
- J.K Rowlings’ Harry Potter series: Love, friendship, and bravery can always stand against adversity and oppression.
- Great Gatsby shows: The American Dream is hollow.
- Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet displays: Love is always stronger than hate.
- The Hunger Games : Survival without the freedom to choose your destiny is fruitless.
- Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance exhibits: Trusting your instinct will save you from many false consistencies and conformity.
- Austen’s Pride and Prejudice depicts: Our prejudices and pride against people constrict us from seeing their true colors.
- Joan Didion, in her essay Goodbye to All That reveals: Pursuing identity and purpose, can leave you lonely and isolated.
- A prominent theme statement of The Handmaid’s Tale is: Sexist attitudes have chaotic outcomes.
- Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment show: Suffering can have transformational powers and the potential for spiritual renewal.”
- In Wuthering Heights , Emily Bronte claims: “Thirst of revenge on obsessive love will always have devastating consequences.”
How is the Thematic Statement Different From Other Literary Techniques?
A strong theme statement requires knowing how it differs from other literary devices and techniques. So let’s explore that.
How is the Thematic Statement Different from the Theme?
In essay writing, a theme refers to the central idea that the author tries to explore through their work. These themes are so broad and complex that they require a writer to have a specific perspective.
We have a theme statement when we explain this “perspective” in one or two sentences. This statement summarizes what the writer is arguing about. It explains the themes in one line according to the entire piece of writing.
How are Thematic Statements and Thesis Statements Different?
For many students, this question might be the most puzzling. As we already mentioned, there is a stark difference between thematic and thesis statements. A theme statement only reveals the theme within the context of your writing. In contrast, your thesis explains how you will explore your theme.
Let’s say; you’re writing a friendship essay and have talked about how your friends have helped you face horrifying consequences with ease.
Your theme statement can be: “Friendship can help you navigate through the deepest forests of your journey.”
you can see how precise, objective, yet creative this statement is.
Now we can write a thesis statement in the same essay on friendship. It can be: “True friends offer unwavering support and comfort in times of crisis, as demonstrated by my experiences with my closest companions, whose unwavering loyalty and kindness have enabled me to navigate some of the most challenging and frightening situations of my life.”
It is evident that this take is far more detailed, personal, and focused on the writer’s point of view.
How is a Thematic Statement Different from a Metaphor?
Yes, it can get a little tricky, but there is a clear difference between the Metaphor and theme statement. The Metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two things that are not alike but have something in common.
For instance, Shakespeare wrote “all the worlds a stage” in his play Merchant of Venice. This is a metaphor. On the other hand, the theme statement summarizes the main message the writer wants to play through his writing.
Similarly, the theme statement for Merchant of Venice is “everyone plays their part in this life”. Though both devices are different, they can be used together to reinforce the message you’re trying to convey through your writing.
In conclusion, writing a theme statement requires a deep understanding of the work and the ability to distill its core themes and ideas into a concise and memorable statement. We know by following these 7 steps you can write impactful thematic statements. If you need help with theme statements or adjusting one in your essay, you can use our college essay writing service to get professional help. Not just that, our services are available at amazing student-friendly discounts, so what are you waiting for?
These are the 4 characteristics that make any theme statement impactful.
- Universality : Expresses a universal truth or insight beyond the specific context.
- Clarity : Clear and easy to understand, even for those unfamiliar with the work.
- Relevance : Reflects the themes and ideas explored in the work.
- Depth : Thought-provoking and offers insight into complex ideas or emotions.
- Love can conquer all obstacles and triumph over adversity.
- The course of true love never runs smoothly and may involve sacrifice and compromise.
- Love is a transformative and often unpredictable force that can bring both joy and pain.
- Love can transcend time and space, enduring even beyond death or separation
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What Is A Theme Statement? Examples and Writing Tips
Theme statements also serve as guides in literature and other forms of writing. For example, they help writers develop plot and character development. By choosing a theme statement to focus on, the writer can begin exploring ideas that relate back to it. This allows them to create an interesting story that conveys their thoughts on a given topic in an engaging way.
Theme statements also play an important role in how readers interpret works of literature. By recognizing the statement and connecting it to their own experiences, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the story and its meaning. This helps them draw connections between the characters, plotlines, and themes of the work in order to uncover key messages that may have been overlooked.
How To Write A Theme Statement?
Consider the following advice to help you write a comprehensive theme statement:
1. Consider the Author’s Perspective:
Writing a theme statement requires one to consider the author’s perspective and intentions when writing their work. This means examining not only what the author has written, but also why they chose to write it in such a way. It is important to look at any outside sources or influences that may have shaped the perspective of the author and their writing.
Follow these steps to consider the author’s perspective when writing a theme statement:
– Analyze any outside influences that may have shaped the author’s intentions and point of view
– Construct a detailed theme statement that accurately represents the author’s intentions and perspective.
2. Analyze the text:
When writing a theme statement, it is important to carefully analyze the text to identify any underlying conflicts and central ideas. This involves considering the author’s perspective and looking for clues that may suggest a particular meaning or message. Furthermore, it is important to understand how the different elements of the text such as the characters, setting, plot, and language contribute to the overall story.
3. Identify conflicts and central ideas:
When analyzing a text, it is important to identify any underlying conflicts and central ideas. This helps to determine what the author may be trying to say about a particular topic or situation. To do this effectively, consider how different characters interact with one another and how their choices may contribute to the development of the story.
4. Consider the author’s perspective:
When writing a theme statement, it is important to consider the author’s perspective. What point of view is he or she trying to convey? Does this suggest any particular ideas about a certain issue? Consider how the narrative is structured and how different elements are used to convey a particular message or theme.
5. State the theme:
Once you have identified any underlying conflicts and central ideas, as well as considered the author’s perspective, it is time to state the theme of the text. This can be done by summarizing the main idea of the text in one concise sentence. This should provide a clear and concise statement that encapsulates the message or meaning of the text.
6. Edit for clarity:
It is important to edit your theme statement for clarity. Make sure that the language used is understandable and that the message being conveyed is clear. Double-check any information or facts included in your theme statement to ensure accuracy and precision.
What Is A Thematic Statement?
A thematic statement is a sentence or phrase that encapsulates the main idea or theme of a text. It expresses the core message that the author wants to communicate to its readers. Thematic statements are often found at the beginning or end of works but can be located throughout a text as well.
It can be used to provide structure, help the reader grasp the main point, and provide a sense of closure. Thematic statements are also used to create connections between texts, as they can be used to compare and contrast different works.
By reviewing thematic statements, we can gain insight into an author’s intent and meaning behind their work. It is important to remember that not all authors will explicitly state their thematic statement, as it may be implied or suggested in the text.
Why Use A Thematic Statement?
A thematic statement is a powerful tool that can be used to effectively communicate and convey a specific message or concept. It acts as a focus for an essay, speech, advertisement, novel, or any other form of communication. A thematic statement is an effective way to create coherence and unity within your written work.
By using one single idea or concept, a thematic statement is able to unify your text and give it purpose. It clarifies the main point you are trying to make and helps readers to better understand your work. To create an effective thematic statement, keep some key points in mind.
Ensure that your statement is clear and concise; use language that can easily be understood by your intended audience. Make sure that it is specific enough to capture the essence of what you are trying to convey.
Ensure that it can stand alone as a sentence and does not require any additional explanation or clarification. With a little practice, you can create effective and powerful thematic statements that will help communicate your ideas and messages clearly.
Is The Theme Statement Important?
The theme statement is incredibly important for any message, as it serves to define the main point of the communication. It encapsulates the core idea or concept and provides a succinct summary of what will be discussed. A well-crafted theme statement can help guide readers through complex topics and provide a sense of direction for any conversation.
A strong theme statement should be concise, direct, and memorable. It should also align with the overall message of the communication and capture the audience’s attention. To ensure your statement is effective, it’s important to consider who you are speaking to and what sort of language they will respond best to.
5 Powerful Thematic Statement Examples
“The power of the individual to influence and shape society is undeniable; we can see countless examples throughout history of individuals who have made a lasting impact on their communities. As individuals, we each have the potential to make a difference in our own communities. Whether that means volunteering at a local shelter, organizing a fundraiser for a worthy cause, or speaking out against injustice, each of us has the power to be an agent of change.”
“It is important to remember that while individuals can have an impact, real and lasting change requires collective action. In many cases, the power of a group working together can be much more effective than any individual effort alone. By combining our resources including time, energy, and money. We can create a larger and more impactful force for good. We also have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another, sharing our unique perspectives and pooling our collective wisdom. When we come together in solidarity, we empower ourselves to create a better future for all.”
“We all have the power to help bring about positive change in our communities; it is simply a matter of finding ways to use our individual and collective strengths for the greater good. Whether that means organizing a protest, running for office, or simply donating to an organization you believe in, each of us can make a difference if we choose to do so. By banding together with others who share our vision and values, we can create powerful and lasting change in the world around us.”
“At the end of the day, it is up to each and every one of us to make a conscious effort to help create a better future. We can start by taking small steps within our own lives educating ourselves on issues that matter, supporting local causes we care about, and committing to making a positive difference in our communities. By utilizing the power of individual and collective action, we can work together to create a more just and equitable world for all.”
“No matter how big or small the impact, every effort counts when it comes to creating lasting change. We have the opportunity to come together and use our individual and collective strengths to create a better future for all. So let us not forget that each of us has the power to make a difference let’s get out there and do it”
Tips For Writing A Theme Statement
1. ask what the writer believes:.
To craft a meaningful and engaging theme statement , it is important to ask what the writer believes in terms of the characters, plot, and themes that they are exploring in their work. This will help you tap into the deeper meaning behind your story and create a powerful statement that speaks to readers.
2. Be Descriptive Instead of Prescriptive:
When writing your theme statement, you want to take a descriptive approach instead of a prescriptive one. By taking this approach, you will be able to create a theme statement that is specific and meaningful.
3. Discern Changes in the Characters:
One of the best ways to craft a powerful theme statement is by looking at the changes that occur within your characters throughout the story. This will help you identify any patterns or themes that may be present, allowing you to accurately capture their development in your theme statement.
4. Understand the Story’s Message:
When crafting a theme statement, it is important to understand the overall message behind your story. Is the writer conveying a message of hope? Are they exploring universal themes of good vs. evil? Understanding this will help you create a more focused and meaningful theme statement that resonates with readers.
5. Identify the Conflict:
Conflict is an essential part of any story, and examining it closely can be a great way to uncover deeper themes that may be present. Looking at how characters interact and the obstacles they face will help you find connections between plot points and identify potential themes that could be explored in your theme statement.
6. Show How the Theme is Developed Over Time:
To craft a powerful theme statement, you want to make sure that it accurately reflects how the theme evolves over time in your story. Showing how the characters and events lead up to the climax of the story and how this builds on the themes explored throughout can help create an engaging and meaningful theme statement.
7. Find Connections Between Characters and Events:
A great way to craft a powerful theme statement is to look for connections between characters and events in your story. This can help you identify patterns or commonalities that might not be immediately apparent.
8. Focus on Specific Words or Phrases that Help Define Your Theme:
When crafting a theme statement, it can be helpful to identify specific words and phrases that help express the overall meaning of your story. This will ensure that you create an engaging and meaningful statement that resonates with your readers.
Good And Bad Theme Statement Examples
Good theme statement examples:.
– Gym owners can take their businesses to the next level with smart investments.
– Learn how gym owners can maximize profits with targeted marketing strategies.
– Discover how to create a thriving gym culture that keeps members engaged and coming back for more.
Bad Theme Statement Examples:
– Don’t waste your money buying into a failing gym franchise.
– Stop spending time on outdated marketing tactics for gyms.
– Don’t get stuck in old habits; learn new ways to run a successful gym today.
Related Article: Term Paper: Structure And Tips For Writing A Successful Paper
A theme statement is a concise and powerful expression of the central idea or message that an author is conveying in their work of literature. It serves as a guide for the reader to better understand and interpret the story’s underlying meaning. Crafting a theme statement involves analyzing and identifying key literary elements such as characters, plot, setting, and symbolism, among others.
It can be challenging to distill a complex work of literature down to a single statement, but doing so can offer valuable insights and a deeper appreciation for the author’s work. By understanding the importance of theme statements, readers can enrich their experience and engage more meaningfully with the text.
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What Is a Theme Statement?
What Is a Theme?
What is an example of a theme, what is the purpose of having a theme, understanding themes through titles, analyzing stories for theme, how to write a theme statement.
Many of today's great works of art – whether they are works of literature, movies or symphonies – use a variety of compositional tools to create a multifaceted meaning. These tools can be symbolism, metaphor, allusions, well-known quotations and a variety of other recognizable strategies and devices. They work together with the artwork’s main idea to illuminate a deeper universal meaning for the audience. That deeper meaning is called the theme, which is the backbone to all great works of art and literature.
The theme statement is a sentence or two that defines the theme of the piece of art, entertainment or literature. The theme is the subject of a piece, but it should not be confused with the main idea or plot.
The theme is the big idea an author is trying to convey. This may sound complicated, but it is a concept that you run into on a daily basis. Themes are easier to see and recognize than the concept is to define.
The easiest way to think about the concept of the theme is to ask yourself this question: What concept was the writer ( if you're studying a work of literature ) trying to express with her story ? The concept we are talking about here is not the plot. Instead, it is more of a universal message , one that would be recognizable to the average reader given the interplay of the plot and other story elements.
Sometimes the theme of a work of literature can be summed up with just a word like love, loneliness or death. A work in which a theme can be summed up so succinctly generally offers an exploration of that idea, expanding on it by using many aspects of that single concept.
Other works can have more complex themes, such as the alienation created by technology or the impact of gender roles on society. These works might offer various tableaux that explain the author’s point of view on that subject while still maintaining the plot.
The options authors have for themes are endless. While many authors attempt to incorporate a grain of universal truth with their theme, most do not begin writing with a set theme in mind . Instead, they endeavor to tell a story and allow the theme to develop over the course of the story’s writing.
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a book with multiple themes. If you have read the book, you probably remember that the titular character, Gatsby, has been pining for Daisy Buchanan for years. It would not be off base to say that one of the novel’s themes is love. A student could also interpret the same aspects of the novel as contributing to a theme of unrequited love or heartbreak.
The most famous theme of "The Great Gatsby," however, is the American dream . In Fitzgerald’s day and well into the 21st century, the concept of the American dream was often defined by achieving financial independence. It was the attainment of the proverbial house with the white picket fence.
However, if you have read the book, you know that Fitzgerald's famous novel does not praise the American dream – it criticizes it. Striving for wealth and other things he did not have ultimately lead to Gatsby's tragic downfall. The way the plot works together with the novel’s major images and symbols shows that “the downfall of the American dream” is the novel’s most important theme.
The most famous theme of "The Great Gatsby," however, is the American dream.
The theme statement is a sentence or two that defines the theme of the piece of art, entertainment or literature. Theme statements tend to be used in discussions regarding that work of art or literature, but the most common times you are likely to find them as a student is either when you’re reading a descriptive analysis of that work of art or literature or when you are writing a descriptive analysis (like a report or paper) yourself.
A theme statement usually states the work’s theme succinctly, allowing for elaboration as the discussion or paper goes on. In this way, a theme statement can act as a thesis statement, preparing the reader or listener for the rest of the journey through the analysis of that work.
Themes often develop even when the author or artist isn’t actively thinking about making them. Since defining a theme is often used to sum up the focus of a work of literature, works of literature that are well formed and developed will almost always have one or more themes.
For readers, understanding the theme of a work can help the reader to appreciate that work’s deeper meaning. Themes also allow authors to comment on humanity or society without being too obvious or on the nose. There is an old adage for writers: Readers like to work for their supper. If the larger theme of the work is too conspicuous, the work as a whole may come off as trivial or too simple.
Working to understand a work’s theme also gives readers a chance to flex their comprehension muscles . Interpreting a work’s theme requires reading between the lines and using critical thinking skills to decipher the author’s message from the text’s connotative meaning.
After you understand the background of a story, do a prereading exercise. Look over the story, starting with the title. Is the title symbolic? Of what does the title remind you? Make a note of that. Titles are especially important in analyzing themes because many authors use them as clues to help the audience interpret the story.
Look for common symbols:
- ("Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry),
- allusions ("East of Eden" by John Steinbeck)
- and quotations ("For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway).
If you discover hidden meaning in the story’s title, keep that meaning in mind as you continue reading. Write down every quote from the story that supports the title’s symbolism as the theme of the story. Don’t force it, though. If you can’t find anything to support the theme you discovered in the title, you may have to use a different interpretation for your theme.
After you have pondered over the title, read the story once for understanding. Jot down your first thoughts on reading it. What do you think the story is about? What do you think the author is trying to say?
After you have written down your first impressions, go back and read the story again. Write notes in the margins (if you can) to help keep track of your thoughts. Look for symbols and motifs. These striking images and repeating patterns will point toward the author’s meaning. For example, if the author repeatedly uses images, like crosses and doves, that remind you of Christian symbolism, then the author’s theme may be religious in nature.
If you’re lucky, your story may have what’s called a “mouthpiece character.” A mouthpiece character is a character who voices a strong opinion and may speak at length about it. If the character is a true mouthpiece character, his speech will reflect the author’s opinion, and it may well clue you in to the story’s main theme.
Whenever you think you may have discovered the theme, it is important that you find other evidence from the text to support your hypothesis. Well-written stories will have many parts that echo the theme.
If you find that the story’s symbolism, characters, plot, motifs, language and message all connect along the lines of a single idea , you’ve found your theme.
How to Find the Theme of a Short Story
To find the theme of a short story, first do some background research. Find out who wrote the story, when it was first published and what type of story it is. Knowing this background information will help you immensely in discovering the story’s theme. This is because many genres of story have the same themes.
For example, many horror stories have death as a theme. Certain authors also use the same theme throughout many of their stories. Many O. Henry stories use situational irony to comment on an aspect of society.
Themes also go in and out of fashion, so certain stories from certain time periods may share the same theme. This is especially true of works published during historical periods when the influence of religion permeated all aspects of society. Stories published in these times will often rely heavily on morality lessons, and their themes will reflect such sentiments.
How to Find the Theme of a Poem
Finding the theme of a poem can be trickier than finding the theme of a story, but you can use the same strategies to get the job done. Consider the poem’s:
- figurative language
- and message.
Just like with a story, the elements of a poem will all work together to contribute to one or more themes.
One strategy you can use to find the theme of a poem is to make lists.
- After you have read the poem through once, brainstorm a few ideas of potential themes.
- Make each theme idea the heading of a list.
- Now go through the poem to find elements, such as allusions or images, that would belong in each list.
The longest list will represent your major theme.
How to Find the Theme of a Movie
Did you know that movies have themes too? This is the kind of theme you probably have the most practice talking about. If you’ve ever tried to convince your friend to see a movie, you most likely mentioned the theme without even knowing it.
The theme of a movie is the deeper answer to the question “What is the movie about?” If you said, “It’s a romantic comedy, but it’s really about friendship,” then friendship is that movie’s theme.
Most movies don’t require deep analysis to understand their themes. Many boil down to universal ideas like:
- and others.
Look at the actions of the main characters, especially toward the end, in order to identify the movie’s theme. Some movies, however, are more complicated. For more artistic movies, you can identify their themes using the same strategies you use with literature.
To write a theme statement, you should first discover the theme of the work you are discussing. Perform a complete analysis of the work before you begin to discuss it or write about it.
A theme statement can come in many forms. Above all, your theme statement should be easy to understand. It should state the title of the work, its author and one clearly defined theme. The best theme statements work like thesis statements, succinctly defining the attributes of the work that back up your interpretation of the theme.
Here is an example theme statement:
It is clear that the death of the American dream is the most important theme of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald because Gatsby represents the American dream, and striving for wealth and success ultimately caused his tragic downfall.
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Rebecca Renner is a teacher and college professor from Florida. She loves teaching about literature, and she writes about books for Book Riot, Real Simple, Electric Literature and more.
Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023
Thematic Statement: Writing Tips and Examples
By: Cordon J.
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: Oct 12, 2021
A theme is a central message of the literary work on which the entire literature is based. It's not the same as a subject that can be described in a word or two. Alternatively, it is an idea that the author needs to express about the subject.
Writing a thematic statement is important for the students of creative writing and literature.
Composing them gives the opportunity to test your understanding of a literary work. Moreover, it also helps us to represent the core idea in the simplest form.
Presented further are some essential tips on writing a thematic statement. Read the blog to get a comprehensive idea of them.
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What Is a Thematic Statement?
A theme is explained in the simplest form as a general sentence known as a thematic statement. Creating it involves the use of all the crucial elements like plot, characters, and specifics.
The literature work may contain more than one theme. However, they are not directly specified but are implied. The audience should consider using all the elements to understand which theme seems to be implied.
You may be asked to write such a statement as a part of your course, thesis, or essay.
Purpose of a Thematic Statement
The main purpose is that it can help you interpret and write your work in two different ways:
- It decides a clear and simple interpretation before you start writing
- It provides a summary of your interpretation.
Characteristics of a Good Thematic Statement
A good statement must be general enough to capture the overall meaning of the work. However, it also needs to be specific enough to convey a unique interpretation.
An interesting and comprehensive thematic statement should have the following qualities:
- Simplified yet Comprehensive
Every text makes a statement or has a particular point. When creating a theme, you substitute a single sentence for the entire work. It means you have to simplify the meaning to get it into a single sentence.
For example, “Love and hate” is not a statement but a topic. Instead, a sentence like “The theme of the text is love and hate” is a complete sentence.
- Based on the Broader Message
The theme should describe the general meaning and not the specific events, actions, or characters. It is beneficial for the writer to express the central idea through word choice, structure, or other rhetoric elements.
It should also reflect the values of the entire work, not just in one or two lines, paragraphs or sections.
- Is Abstract
Begin by using abstract words for the purpose of stating the main ideas. These words usually describe the concepts that exist in our minds, such as love, passion, loyalty, etc.
For writing a theme statement, incorporate the abstract ideas with the comments reflecting the writer’s views. It will help to express his thoughts about the abstract idea.
- Doesn’t Directly Refer to the Characters
You shouldn’t mention a character in the text by the name. Instead, you should use the words such as a person, people, individual, or someone while writing a thematic statement.
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How to Write a Thematic Statement?
There are no specific rules when it comes to creative writing. However, a few aspects can be described as desirable characteristics of a thematic statement.
Here are some guidelines that can help you in writing a thematic statement.
1. Read Thoroughly
Reading the entire work thoroughly is the first step before writing a thematic statement. Note down the writing style, characters, plots and capture all the human perspectives. It will assist in producing an original interpretation.
2. Identifying Conflict Areas and Central Ideas
Every story has a conflict of ideas. The main objective is to identify the values, motives, and interests that will help you identify the nature of the conflict. Similarly, it will also guide you to the central concepts and the values that form a narrated story.
3. Focus on the Core
Thematic statements convey the message of the entire work in a single sentence. Therefore, instead of talking about what happens, it is better to discuss what are the results of the happenings.
4. Capturing the Gist
You must have started imagining a clear picture of your story in mind by following the above-mentioned process. Try to craft a sentence containing all the facets of your story and then refine it afterward.
5. No Specifics
Getting into the details of what actually happened is not necessary. Instead, the thematic statement is the answer to why everything happened. It makes sense of all the happenings in a narrative.
6. Avoid Absolute Statements
Another important aspect is to avoid absolute statements unless you are sure about them. However, you can stick to them in cases where you are really and absolutely true.
7. No Moral Edict
Do not transform your theme into a moral edict. Rather, keep it in a way that reflects the real thought within the story. Also, avoid molding the original idea into something else.
8. Avoid Clichés
Try to be original by avoiding clichés. It is better to express your opinions instead of using a popular punchline.
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Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Thematic Statement
Writers usually make these mistakes while formulating a good thematic statement.
It Is Not a Moral, Command or a Directive
Such factors tell the author how to behave and what to do. Alternatively, a thematic statement looks at views and actions.
However, it does not involve judging what others should or should not do. Thus, avoid words like “ought” or “should.” It helps the writer to gain a general perspective about the behavior of a person.
It Has No Trite Sayings (Clichés, Maxims, or Aphorisms)
Themes reflect the complexity of life echoes in literary work. It should be original, interesting, and thoughtful in nature. Use qualifying words like “sometimes”, “may”, “can,” and “often”.
Avoid Referring Particular Names or Events
These statements do not summarize an entire work. Instead, it reflects what happens in the work. So, you should use more general terms by not referring to any particular names or events.
Avoiding Absolute Terms
Such statements should not include absolute terms because it indicates poor reasoning. Rather, they are prescriptive, without exceptions. Thus, express a theme in your own words. Such terms like “sometimes,” “we,” or “often” express a more practical outlook.
Don't Be Obvious
Stop being so obvious and always try to find more details from the story. For example, a phrase like “War is bad," is not a theme. Look for details like what specifically is bad about it or how it negatively affects the characters.
Don't Make It Advise
Try to keep your statements objective and based solely on strong evidence from the story. Do not make it sound like a suggestion or advice or an opinionated thesis statement.
Thematic Statement Examples
Some examples of the thematic statements are given below. Refer them to understand better.
- Nothing raises the veil off a man’s true character, like power.
- No matter what the odds, true men of character never give in to hypocrisy.
- Pride always comes in the way of finding true love.
- Absolute power originates from a methodical system of mind control, which feeds on individual fear and primal human weakness.
- Love is the only language every human being loves, and yet, the most misunderstood language.
Thematic Statement Template
THEMATIC STATEMENT EXAMPLE
This is everything that you need to get started with your thematic statement. If you get stuck during the writing process, you can contact the essay writer at 5StarEssays.com . They will do your essay .
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Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.
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