Theme From Greensboro Day School. Theme defined. A central idea or “truth” that a work of literature expresses A comment that a work of literature makes on the human condition. Theme Versus Subject.
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Subject: what a work is about. It can usually be expressed in one word. For example, “Love” is a subject of Romeo and Juliet
Theme: What does the work say about the subject? It should be a complete sentence or statement. For example, “In Romeo and Juliet, we learn that adolescent romance can be a stronger force than family ties.”
“In Beauty and the Beast, Belle learns that true beauty comes from within,” only applies to the story. Instead, express the theme like this: “In Beauty and the Beast, we learn through Belle and the beast that true beauty comes from within.”
Just because works can have multiple themes, it does not mean that the theme can be anything that you want.
In order for a theme to be justified, there must be specific, concrete evidence from the text. For example, if your potential theme statement is that “Poverty creates tough, self-reliant people,” then the book should contain examples of poor characters who develop toughness and self-reliance.