A theme is a central topic, subject, or message within a story in current literary studies. Themes are classified into two types: thematic concepts and thematic statements. A work's theme concept is what readers "believe the work is about," and its thematic statement is "what the work says about the topic." For example, according to one interpretation of Finnegans Wake, the theme concept is sleep and dreaming while the thematic statement is "marriage is death."
The theme can be either explicit or implicit. An explicit theme is one that readers should be able to identify even if they do not know much about the work. An implicit theme is one that readers cannot identify until they have read the work multiple times.
In addition to being either explicit or implicit, themes may also be stated in a general or specific way. An overall theme is one that applies to many individual sections or chapters of a work, such as romance (an overall theme) that appears in several stories or poems. A chapter-specific theme is one that applies only to one particular section of a work, such as war (a chapter-specific theme) that appears in several stories or poems.
Thematic analysis involves identifying themes within works of art or literature. This process can be difficult because artists and writers often intend for their works to make certain implications about topics such as history or society when they create them, but these implications aren't always clear from just reading the work itself.
The most popular current definition of theme is a core concept or point in a tale that can often be summed up in a single word (for example, love, death, betrayal). John Gardner describes a theme as "the pattern, scheme, or design" which runs through a work.
According to this definition, a story's theme can be anything from hatred to love to death to gender to religion to society to the human condition. A story might have more than one theme, such as "love is essential for happiness," and "money can't buy happiness." However, according to some critics, these are not themes so much as ideas contained within the narrative: aspects that the author chooses to explore or comment on through the characters' actions or thoughts.
Some stories are meant to be interpreted multiple times by different readers, which means they must contain elements that will continue to appeal to new audiences. For example, E.M. Forster's novel Maurice contains many themes including friendship, sexuality, and class identity, but each reading of the book reveals something new about these topics for the reader.
Other stories are intended to be read only once, which means they do not need to contain any recurring elements for them to be effective.
A theme is a message or abstract notion that develops from the handling of a literary work's subject matter. The topic is distinct from the subject. A work's subject can be defined in specific terms, generally through actions. The action in a play will have a particular plot or sequence of events that it follows. The play is about this action—the story it tells us about people and things—but the action itself can be many things: a battle, a love affair, a quest. The theme of a work can also be called its message because it is something that we should understand from reading the work.
Literary works that share a common theme or message are known as "symbolic" writings. Other kinds of writings include factual accounts, personal letters, and poems written for pleasure rather than profit. Factual accounts, such as history books and science texts, tell us about real people and events but they do not give us information we could not learn elsewhere. Personal letters are written to friends or family members who know the writer's thoughts and feelings well enough to respond to them. Poems are written by poets who seek to express their emotions and ideas through words and lines.
All literary works contain messages about reality and human nature. Some writers focus on these topics more explicitly than others. Shakespeare wrote about love, death, ambition, and other themes that are central to human experience.
The major or central concept in a literary work is referred to as the theme. It is a story's uniting factor. The theme can be stated directly in the text or inferred from events within the plot.
All stories have a theme, which usually relates to life's major questions: "Why are we here?" "What is important in life?" "How should I live my life?"
Stories about people who question their purpose or try to find answers themselves are often called "dramas." "Drama" comes from the Greek word for stage, so dramas are stories that take place over one or more nights on a stage. Early plays were performed for the entertainment of the king or prince who ruled what was then called "Great Britain." Modern movies are also based on dramas written many years ago.
Traditional stories told in bedtime tales or fairy tales often have a moral at their heart. So stories with morals are helpful because they show us what should be done in certain situations. They also explain why things happen the way they do in our lives.
A literary topic is the central concept or underlying meaning explored by a writer in a novel, short tale, or other literary work. A story's theme can be communicated through characters, setting, dialogue, narrative, or a mixture of all of these components. The theme of a work may be apparent from the title or revealed through analysis of the text itself.
The theme of a work of literature may be abstract or concrete, general or specific. Abstract themes include freedom, love, death, and justice; while concrete themes relate to real life situations such as wanting to win money at gambling or needing to find food for your family. General themes apply to many works within a genre or category such as humanity's need for redemption or the corrupting influence of power. Specific themes identify certain objects, events, or people as central to the story's meaning such as a wedding ring that links two separate stories or a car accident that is the starting point of a novel.
By analyzing the theme of a work of literature, readers can understand how the author intends them to feel about different subjects such as life goals or morality. This insight can help readers relate to the characters and their problems which can lead to deeper emotional connections with the text.
Literary topics provide context to the story being told and can help readers understand what kind of experience they can expect to have reading this work.