Every book we read has a theme, sometimes more than one! But what is the theme?
Image courtesy of minds-in-bloom.com
The ‘theme’ is the message that the author is trying to communicate with the reader.
Authors use clues to show us the theme, so we need to be able to infer the underlying messages and topics.
Some people might confuse theme with the plot of a story. But the plot of story refers to something to what the author is actually writing about. The plot of the story includes the characters, the setting, the events—these are things that are stated in the text.
Beneath the novel’s surface lies its true meaning, or its theme. A theme usually relates to the author’s statement or opinion on the topic. It’s an idea that connects the whole story.
Usually the theme of the story can be inferred from the characters themselves. The character’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, reflections and discoveries. What they learn throughout their experiences can give the readers an idea of the theme running throughout the story.
For instance, the plot of Harry Potter is based on the Wizarding World and his time at Hogwarts throughout his teenage years. But the story itself has many themes—friendship, love, sacrifice, good versus evil.
Fairy tales and fables often have obvious themes with a matching life lesson or moral. In Aesop’s fable “The Hare and The Tortoise”, the moral of the story is ‘Slow and Steady Wins the Race’. The ‘theme’ of “The Hare and The Tortoise” is PERSISTENCE.
Don’t know the “The Hare and The Tortoise” fable? Click here to go read it!
Here are some other of Aesop’s Fables for you to go and watch / read.
Can you work out the moral of the story and the theme?
The Dog and the Wolf
The Wind and the Sun
The Eagle and the Arrow
The Lion and The Mouse
The Hare with Many Friends
A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
The Ant and the Grasshopper
What books have you read that have a theme? What were the themes in your books? Leave a comment and let us know!