In literature, a theme is a common thread or main idea that is repeated throughout a literary work. The theme of a novel or story is the major message that organizes the entire work. The theme may be expressed overtly, but more often it must be uncovered by reading deeply through the work and analyzing the story's plot, characters and use of literary devices.Know More
The theme of a work is distinct from its subject, which is what the story is ostensibly "about." The theme is an expression of the writer's views on that subject. The subject of a story, for example, might be war, while the theme might be that war occurs in endless cycles that humanity is forced to repeat.
Writers can present a literary theme in many ways. The thoughts and actions of different characters may serve to express the theme, whether explicitly or subtly. The theme might also be expressed through conversations and dialogue between characters. Different characters can often represent different aspects of a theme. In Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov," for example, brothers Ivan and Alyosha represent the positions of skepticism and religious faith, respectively, and together represent the novel's theme of the conflict between the two. In the greatest works of literature, themes are carefully intertwined with all the other elements of the story and are only fully revealed as the text progresses.Learn more about Literary Writing
The purpose that a character serves within a work is the best and simplest definition of functional significance as it applies to characters in a literary work. When constructing a story, an author uses characters to drive the action. Each character's actions and interactions help define his or her function within the story.Full Answer >
The theme in a literary book or piece of writing is often the moral of the story or the overall message. Theme is not always directly stated and may appear more as a lesson that readers must think critically about when reading.Full Answer >
The main elements of literature are the theme, setting, plot, narrator and characters in a story. Some other elements of literature include the connotation or implied meaning, symbolism and imagery.Full Answer >
The coming-of-age tale, the epic journey, the fall from grace and the revenge story are some of the many recurring themes in literature. Most scholars can name over 100 common themes throughout history and they remain easily recognizable.Full Answer >