Literary Themes Themes commonly found in literature What is a theme?
Themes can be found everywhere: literature, stories, art, movies etc The theme can be a moral. Ask yourself, What is the story teaching? Try to figure out the authors view about life by looking at how people behave. Theme & Meaning
Theme is the underlying meaning of the story, a universal truth, (something true for all) a significant statement the story is making about society or human nature.
Theme = universal truth The theme is usually something everyone goes through, a statement or a lesson about life. Theme...the meaning of life?
The theme expresses the author's opinion or raises a question about human nature or the meaning of human experience. At times the author's theme may not confirm or agree with your own beliefs.
Even then, if skillfully written, the work will still have a theme that illuminates some aspects of true human experience. The author's task is to communicate on a common ground with the reader. Although the particulars of your experience
may be different from the details of the story, the general underlying truths behind the story may be just the connection that both you and the writer are seeking. An understanding of theme is dependent upon one's previous experience of life
and literature. THE PURPOSE OF THEME At the same time, theme in literature can enlarge one's understanding of life.
Be aware that the theme never completely explains the story. It is simply one of the elements that make up the whole. Some short stories have secondary themes as well. Common Literary Themes (Themes repeated in many works)
1. The quest for immortality Stranger, stop and cast an eye. As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you shall be, Prepare for death and follow me.
2. The individuals relationship and obligation to society. Sometimes called man vs. society 3. The individuals inward journey to understand himself or herself/identity.
Sometimes called man vs. self 4. The individuals relationship and obligation to the natural world. Sometimes called man
vs. nature 5. How justice and injustice are decided 6. The individual as hero; what it means to be a hero or anti-hero.
7. What it means to be a survivor. 8. The individuals experience of alienation, lonliness and despair 9. The artists relationship and obligation to society.
10. aka: What tomorrows world holds for us The Future
11. Love: Topics/Effects
Friend Love Love of Country Admiration Possessiveness Physical Love Romance Logical Type Love
Game-Playing Unrequited love Godly love Familial love Infatuation Jealousy 12. Role of Institutions
Sometimes called man vs. the institution More Themes
Bravery: Never give up. Friendship: Success comes with working
together. Greed: Family and friends are worth a ton. Loyalty: True friends will tell you when youre wrong, and theyll never leave you. War: When man has suffered a loss, no one wins. War is necessary sometimes. Honesty: The truth will set you free. Kindness: It is better to give than to receive.
Creativity provides many possibilities Think about these themes what would you add as an important theme often expressed in creative writing? What theme would you most like to explore? Literary Themes
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