A literary topic is the central concept or underlying meaning explored by a writer in a novel, short tale, or other piece of literature. 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 of art is the idea or subject that the artist seeks to convey through his or her creation.
They are not limited to one single idea or message, as many stories have more than one thematic element. For example, "Huckleberry Finn" explores themes such as friendship, equality, and freedom while also providing insights into what it means to live in the American frontier during the 19th century.
Thematic elements can also exist independently of each other within a work of art. For example, "Love is love" is an independent theme which appears throughout Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. Love is represented by the words that describe their love ("I love thee", "Love is swelled"), their setting (a balcony), and even through minor details such as when they find time to be alone together (at night).
These are just some examples of thematic elements which can appear in a work of art. It is important to note that a work of art does not need to have every thematic element present to be effective.
The core concept or underlying meaning of a literary work is referred to as the theme. It is the story's main concept; what the author is truly attempting to express; what the author wants the reader to take away from the written work. A topic might be stated explicitly or impliedly. For example, in a fable the theme would be obvious: "Fables tell us about human nature by telling us an animal's behavior does not always reveal its true nature but sometimes shows us something about itself." Less obviously, the theme of Hamlet is "to be or not to be".
Some writers choose subject matter that directly relates to their own lives for their personal themes. For example, Charles Dickens wrote about poverty and social injustice because he was born into a family in poverty who had no greater chance of escaping it than anyone else. He saw this kind of thing all around him and it inspired his writing career. Others write about subjects that mean nothing special to them but which they believe will appeal to readers' emotions or engage their minds because they want to explore certain ideas or discuss topics that are important to society at large or the world we live in today. These are known as universal themes.
A theme in literature is a core or underlying notion that might be presented explicitly or indirectly. At least one topic runs through all novels, tales, poems, and other literary works. Through a topic, the writer may communicate human understanding or a worldview. Don't mistake a work's subject with its theme: each Shakespearean play has a subject (love, revenge, marriage) but only one central idea - which is revealed gradually through the many events of the plot.
Themes can be moral (such as honesty or greed), emotional (such as loneliness or love), or metaphysical (such as fate or free will). Many modern works deal with multiple themes simultaneously. Fictional characters often comment on their own themes, especially in essays written by authors who are not characteristically silent.
Themes are also relevant to poetry and music. Poems and songs may focus on a single event or object (a "lyric"); they may discuss general ideas or concepts (a "sonnet" or "epic"); or they may explore multiple subjects intertwined with each other (a "symphonic poem"). Music is thought-provoking because of its ability to convey emotions that cannot be expressed verbally; musicians have used this property to inspire feelings in their audiences by showing them images with their music (e.g., during a ballet performance).
Literature classes often study themes because writers frequently return to certain topics throughout their work.
Important Takeaways In literature, a theme is the major topic explored in the tale. Works of literature can contain several themes. Identifying a tale's theme can assist both the writer and the reader better grasp the story.
The most common themes in folklore are love, hate, death, life, justice, temptation, freedom, responsibility, and faith. Themes also appear in classical mythology, religious texts, and drama. Many novels have more than one theme. For example, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice explores love, marriage, social status, and prejudice through the eyes of six very different characters.
Works of fiction may deal with one specific theme, as in a horror or thriller novel where the main plot device is fear. More commonly, they explore a range of topics within these categories, as in this definition of literary art: "A work of literary art is an expression of an idea, concept, or feeling through the medium of language." Here language is used to express or illustrate ideas about human nature, love, death, religion, politics, etc.
The choice of themes for any given work of fiction is up to the author. However, some themes are more appropriate for certain genres than others.