What are Themes?

themes are the main ideas or meaning behind a story, they can be shown directly or indirectly.

it can be shown via language choices, characters, or setting.

Common themes in fiction Include:

power, love, money, death, appearance and reality, heroism, technology in society, friendship.

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How to identify themes

One of the easiest ways to identify a theme is to look at the motifs, a repeated image or idea within a text, such as the focus on hands in of mice and men which reflects on the theme voilence and identity.

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Exploring themes

When looking at themes, you should try to look to see how themes relate to each other.

An interesting theme involves a clash of opposites. Love as a theme is more interesting when there is conflict. If two people meet, fall in love and there are no problems, then it is not a very interesting story. Without something trying to stop love, the story has nowhere to go.

You can give structure and energy to an analysis essay by discussing the opposite sides of a theme.

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Writing About Themes

Writing about themes could give your analysis of an extract a deeper response and show that you are thinking about the ideas the writer is presenting.

Think about:

How the Language choices reflect a theme

Are there any patterns in the language that give emphasis to a theme?

Do particular images suggest a theme?

How does the description of the setting suggest the theme?

Which events help to develop the themes in the extract?

How do the characters in the extract represent the theme?

Are there any language choices that suggest a clash, opposites or conflict of themes?

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