The theme of a story is the larger message the story holds for you – the big idea. To find the theme, think about what you can learn about people, or about life in general when you’ve finished a story.
Think: “What’s the valuable lesson I could learn from this story?” The answer will be the theme.
A theme is NOT a summary of a story. A summary tells what happens in the story: the beginning, the middle, and the end. A theme enlarges your understanding of life when you’ve thought about the characters and events in the story. A story can have more than one main theme, but it’s important to think about the story as a whole (not just the little lessons along the way).
Here are questions to ask yourself to help you find the theme of a story:
- How does the main character change during the story?
- What made the character change?
- What lessons did the character learn (that you could also learn)?
- What are the character’s feelings about what happened in the story?
- What main conflict does the character engage in, and what happens as a result?
There are many common themes in literature. They are lessons to help us be better people and lead happier lives.
Click on the links below to read about some common themes. Which themes do YOU think are important to remember?
Real Friends Don’t Make You Feel Bad Inside by Shannen