A theme statement helps you interpret and write about literature by forcing you to decide on a clear, simple interpretation before you begin writing and by providing your reader with a summary of your interpretation of the piece of literature. Write a theme statement that describes the general meaning of the work.
- Understand the meaning of the work
It is important to understand the meaning of the work of literature for which you are making a theme statement. If you misinterpret the work, your theme statement will be incorrect.
- Decide on the theme of the work
Every literary work makes a statement. Your theme statement should be a substitute for the entire work that makes the same point. It should be a complete sentence and not start out "The theme is" or have a similar statement.
- Ask yourself some questions
If you are struggling with coming up with the theme of the work, ask yourself these questions about the work: What is your work about? Why is this topic an important issue? Who does this topic involve? Does this topic affect an average person? What problems have come up because of this topic? Does the topic affect the way society functions? Considering these questions helps you refine your theme statement.
- Avoid writing a plot summary
The theme statement is not a plot summary, so avoid writing about specific events or characters in the work.
- Ensure your theme statement reflects the values of the work
Ensure your theme statement matches the meaning of the work. Look closely at the story's outcome to make sure your statement is right.