Writing a theme statement is a big task in creative writing. The story's theme is as important a factor as the author aims to create through his fiction. A piece of literature will probably explore several unique themes, but one in particular. Themes are not always morals. Rather than telling the reader a course of action right away. A theme is an insightful observation about the human condition and the world.

What is a theme statement?

A theme statement is a sentence or two that defines the subject matter of art, entertainment, or literature. Theme statements are used in discussions about that work of art or literature. Still, the most common time you will find them as a student is when reading a descriptive analysis of that work of art or literature or writing a descriptive analysis (such as a report or paper) yourself.

A theme statement usually succinctly states the topic of the work, allowing for elaboration in the form of a discussion or paper. In this way, a theme statement can serve as a thesis statement, taking the reader or listener to the rest of the journey's analysis of that work.

How to write a theme statement

1. Read the work thoroughly

Before writing your theme statement, it is essential that you read and fully understand the content. As you read the text, consider noting and recording the characters, plot, writing style, and author's point of view. Then, determine the author's intended message from this information and interpret the writer's message.

2. Identify conflicts and central ideas

After reading the material thoroughly:

  1. Identify the central conflict and recurring ideas in the material.
  2. Consider the values, motives, or interests of characters shown through actions and dialogue, especially those frequently appearing throughout the text.
  3. Evaluate the leading cause of the conflict and how the conflict was resolved.

Before writing a theme statement, you can use this information to determine the author's central message.

3. Consider the author's point of view

Find out what motivates an author to write a piece of literature by researching. Try to understand their background, life experiences, beliefs and motivations. It is also essential to consider the author's historical context as their core values are often shaped by the society of their lifetime. This can help you better understand the intentions behind the text and the message an author wants to send to readers through their writing.

4. State the subject

Now that you've explained the central theme write your topic statement. Theme statements usually only contain a sentence or two, making it essential to write a concise, universal statement that leaves out specific details about the text.

5. Edit for clarification

Before finalizing your topic statement, edit your work for clarity. Consider any examples of repetition, complex words or phrases, or areas that need more explanation. Careful editing can help your topic statement better express the central message of the text.

Tips for Writing a Theme Statement

Writing a theme statement becomes much easier once you're comfortable estimating the writer's point of view. Follow these seven simple steps to write an effective theme statement:

1. Ask what the author believes. 

Do your best to put yourself in the writer's place. Ask yourself what the author wishes he had made clearest to his readers during his writing process. See if other classmates or friends who have read the same book agree with you.

2. Be descriptive rather than prescriptive.

The story's theme should tell you something insightful about human nature, but you shouldn't view it as a clear, black-and-white moral principle. Themes are usually more ambiguous, as literature of all forms plays with the grey areas of morality and human behaviour. Ensure your theme statement describes the lessons in the book without judging whether those lessons align with your values.

3. Look for specifics.

Themes usually try to convey complex and abstract ideas about humans and how they behave, so eschew clichés in pursuit of more subtle thematic ideas. Instead, to capture significant themes in a piece of literature, seek out the darker areas of the human psyche that the author hopes to explore.

4. Write in brief. 

Whether working on a short story or a larger scale, your topic statement should be relatively short. A complete sentence will suffice, as this is a very concise literary analysis. You can always find out every nook and cranny of what the author was trying to say later in more depth. Consider it a literary thesis statement: a concise summation of a broad argument.

5. Go beyond mere subjects. 

Topic statements should present an overall idea of the author's intent rather than merely conveying basic themes in the author's work. For example, "selflessness" may be the theme of a story, but it is not a theme statement. In this scenario, ask how selflessness manifested in a specific character throughout the book. Perhaps the theme statement would be something like "Selflessness paves the way for more loving people than selfishness."

Bottom Line

Getting started with theme statements can seem daunting at first. But when you break down the individual pieces of the theme statement, they're not so challenging to build. Learn more about writing my essays and topics by exploring topic examples. Combining thematic information helps you teach the subject or study it independently.

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