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Themes. And creating a Thesis from Themes…. Thematic Ideas . The central idea or insight revealed by a work of literature. The theme gives insight about human life and human nature that gives meaning to the story. More than one theme can be applied to literature at a time. .

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And creating a Thesis from Themes….

Thematic ideas
Thematic Ideas

  • The central idea or insight revealed by a work of literature.

  • The theme gives insight about human life and human nature that gives meaning to the story.

  • More than one theme can be applied to literature at a time.

  • Most themes are implied, so the reader must look deeper into the literature to determine the theme.

Struggle with nature power of nature
Struggle with NaturePower of Nature

  • Struggle= characters are involved in an external conflict with forces in the natural world

  • Power= characters are exposed to the intense force of elements of the natural world

The fishermen are lost in “The Perfect Storm”

Characters in “The Day after Tomorrow” must battle global warming.

The iceberg in


The twister in “Twister”

Survival of the fittest
Survival of the fittest

  • Weaker, less intelligent characters are less likely to endure than stronger, smarter characters

The British school children in Lord of the Flies

“The Most Dangerous Game”: Rainsford struggles with General


Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”

Coming of age
Coming of Age

  • Characters in the narrative mature and develop as a result of the complications in the plot

Scout’s experience in

To Kill a Mockingbird

Forrest Gump must grow up quickly and learn about the world due to his differences

Power of love
Power of Love

  • Characters rely on those whom they respect, revere, honor, and cherish to resolve conflicts in a narrative

Romeo and Juliet

in Romeo and Juliet

Rose leaves her wealthy husband-to-be for a poor artist in Titanic

Loss of innocence
Loss of Innocence

  • Characters leave behind their child-like virtue and purity as a result of being exposed to the brutal reality of day to day living.

Children in Peter Pan realize they cannot stay young forever

Struggle with self
Struggle with Self

  • Characters in a narrative must contend with personal internal feelings or demons that often contradict each other or conflict with what seems most appropriate.

Struggle with self1
struggle with self

Anakin Skywalker battles his own fear and anger

Marcus Brutus chooses between his love for democracy and his love for Caesar

Disillusionment with life
Disillusionment with Life

  • Characters are distracted and disgusted by what they encounter in society, their friendship or their family

Guy questions his life as a fireman and what used to be…

Lt. Dan from “Forrest Gump” is disillusioned after losing his legs

The effects of scientific progress
The Effects of Scientific Progress

  • Characters’ actions and lives are impacted both positively and negatively by technological advances

Crichton’s Jurassic Park

The effects of the robots in “I, Robot”

Alienation and isolation
Alienation and Isolation

  • Characters in the narrative are alone and withdrawn and feel removed or rejected by society.

Jim from Huckleberry Finn is

alienated because he is


Shrek is alienated because he is


Good overcoming evil
Good Overcoming Evil

  • Characters become involved in a conflict wherein Good (exemplified by abstract concepts such as Honor, Truth, and Justice and personified by a hero) triumphs over Evil (exemplified by abstract concepts such as Shame, Corruption, and Unfairness and personified by a villain).

Good overcoming evil1
good overcoming evil

Beowulf defeats Grendel

Luke Skywalker leads the

rebels to victory over the

evil empire

Tolerance of the atypical
Tolerance of the Atypical

  • Character’s level of acceptance of differences in personal/ mental/ physical attributes or systems of beliefs/ ideas/ events in cultures or individuals

Love and friendship
Love and Friendship

  • Characters encounter other individuals who provide emotional support through difficult times.

Noble sacrifice
Noble Sacrifice

  • A character surrenders his of her life to benefit the lives of others


  • Characters seek to right a wrong by punishing those who have harmed them

The great battle journey
The Great Battle/ Journey

  • Battle= characters are involved in an epic struggle against forces that oppose them

  • Journey= characters leave home and engage in a quest to reach a goal

General guidelines to find theme
General guidelines to find theme…

  • A theme is not the same as a moral… The question to ask is, “What does this story reveal?” not “What does this story teach?”

One of the best ways to find theme is to ask, “How has the protagonist changed?”

  • A theme must be stated about the subject of the story, rather than just a phrase.

There is no one correct way to state the theme… There is more than one correct answer and usually more than one theme/story…

In cinderella
In Cinderella

  • Name and defend what themes are relevant in Cinderella.

Alienation and isolation

coming of age

Good overcoming evil

Power of love

disillusionment with life

Stating a theme
Stating a theme

  • A theme must be stated in a complete sentence…

    • Just saying “alienation and isolation” is not satisfactory

  • So, you must use the theme phrase and then add on what your opinion is…

    • For example: In Cinderella, good overcomes evil when Cinderella never gives up trying to prove that she has the foot that fits the glass slipper.