What Is The Theme Of A Story? Theme Explained For Beginners

Divided in two classes, a theme is the most important subject of a literary story.

The first is the thematic concept, which is the subject that the readers think that the work is about.

The second is the thematic statement that is the idea  about the work orbit around.

The almost unanimous definition of theme conclude that is the topic which is principal in a narrative piece. The most of the times this idea can be portrayed in a single word or a in a short phrase and with mood and tone in literature form the backbone of a narrative work.

Theme Book Author
Love Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare
Friendship The Outsiders Amanda Levickas
War War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
Courage Beowulf Anonymous
Power and corruption Animal Farm George Orwell
Good vs. evil The Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis'
Death The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
Survival Lord of the Flies William Golding
Revenge The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
Loyalty The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien

Topics that are frequently seen are for example, the struggle of the human been for survival, passion and love in relationships, or the attraction of power over the people.

Sometimes the theme is expressed across the attitudes or feeling of the characters of a narrative work.

A story not necessarily have only one theme, on the contrary, the narrative can treat several topics that the same contemporary origin or related topics that can be linked.Many of this subjects are not explicit and are often implied in the context of the story.

Techniques used to emphasis a theme


This is a technique that authors use repeating specific words, in order to make explicit to the readers which is the theme of the work.

Thematic Patterning

Thematic patterning is the repetition of motif in a work, and often is exemplified by the display of objects that can be translated in the same specific feeling and at the same time support the main theme of the work.

Book Themes


As we all know this is a theme that is present in incontable stories, either in books, movies or whatever form of narrative that exist on earth. One of the most important emotions that human been can express, this theme is considered the most popular topic treated in literature, and its iconic example is Romeo And Juliet, the magnificent work from William Shakespeare.



This another classic theme is extremely used in literature, and like love is a subject that move the feelings of the readers of narrative works. The topic of death is inmortal and is going to be present forever.Some examples are the Markus Zusak ‘s, “thief” and the multi themes work of J. K. Rowling, “Harry Potter”.

Power and corruption

A great example of this popular theme is the amazing “animal farm” from George Orwel.

Power and corruption are two concepts that go hand-in-hand, and are explored as a unified theme across many genres. Theoretically seen as a double theme these topics are so closely interrelated that could be easily considered a single theme. Human nature has been exposed commonly showing that in many situations power can be overrun by corruption, and writers have been there to show it.

The work of Orwell, displays with admirable subtlety the weakness of  creatures when are confronted with such a powerful force as it is corruption.

The theme has been always be considered one of the most topics use in literature.


The history of literature is full of works treating this theme, apologetic fictional stories and real inspired novels, movies and even theatrical works, have shown the circumstances and situations that are involved in these conflicts which have been present from the beginning of the history of humanity.




Lately used in the popular dystopian genre, the theme appears in narrative works over and over again, and due the transcendence that the topic has been always had for the human race, it will last forever. The “Lord Of The flies” written by William Golding, is a superb sample of what can be done using these immortal theme.


Courage and bravery has been inspirational for hundreds of narrative works and other artistic genres which show the bravery of their protagonists. The theme is an image of the admiration that human been have for those kind of superior characters, showing the desire that persons have to achieve the same internal development that the work’s characters, who have the capacity to give their own live for someone else.



Another recurrent theme in stories is “Revenge”, another human desire that exited the readers of books for centuries , and the biggest  symbol of the theme in literature is  the classic of Homer “The Iliad”, the epic story that has been taught everywhere in the world , and is an example of the huge influence that even ancient narrative can have in the live of the people in present days.



One of the most appreciated relationships in live is friendship, and the value that commonly the human genre gives to it has been expressed in numerous books and another kind of artistic works. A master piece that presents the theme in all its magnitude is the always remembered “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” written by the great author Mark Twain.


Also a greatly demanded theme by the writers of books is one of the most important values in life. “Loyalty”, is something that most of the persons give huge importance, and it’s like that, that the topic is amply utilized in many books of different genres of literature.

An example of a book that worth to be mentioned, is the excellent work written by the outstanding novelist Judy Blume “Summer Sisters”.

Good vs Evil

Good vs Evils is a topic that can be seen very frequently in any kind of narrative genre. From classic Greek narrations to contemporary comic books, the theme can be appreciated in uncountable dimensions and tastes. A great work in which the conflict can be watched is the William Shakespeare “Macbeth”.



As we have seen, the answer to the question What Is The Theme Of A Story? , is not so difficult, but the topic is not a short discussion one.The reflection that we can make is that where is a human feeling present,will be a potential theme for any kind of art work, no matter if is a book, a song or a painting.Human feelings have inspired people for centuries, and for sure they will be a source of inspiration for artist even for longer time. This article could have treated many more narrative themes,but we think that for the sake of this job ,these are the most relevant.

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