What is theme?
Main idea or underlying meaning/message
of a literary work
May be stated or implied
Differs from the subject or topic of a
literary work in that it involves a statement
or opinion about the topic
What do we learn from this story?
Example: From The Three Little Pigs we
learned about the importance of planning
a project well (building a brick house) and
good planning. The pig who worked hard
and was prepared saved his siblings.
Therefore, the theme of the bookwas
about the result of making smart choices
and/or working hard.
A theme isn’t stated outright
Often appears as a lesson or message
that the reader understands by reading
between the lines.
You have to think about it!!
A book of fiction can have many
Because different people can find different
meanings in books. You may find a lesson
that others don’t see.
A theme is more than just one
What about it? What do we learn?
Humility can raise people to greatness.
Finding the theme
Here are some ways to uncover the theme in a
1. Check out the title. Sometimes it tells you a lot
about the theme.
2. Notice repeating patterns and symbols.
Sometimes these lead you to the theme.
3. What allusions are made throughout the story?
4. What are the details and particulars in the
story? What greater meaning may they have?
Loss of innocence
When/how does this occur in the novel?
What can we learn from this? What
insights does it offer?
One of the major themes of the novel is
Antonio’s loss of innocence. At the opening of
the novel, Antonio is an innocent boy, unaware
of the dangers and tragedy of life. As the novel
progresses, Antonio becomes more and more
cognizant of the good and evil present in the
world. By the end of the book, Antonio no longer
possesses his innocence but has replaced it with
wisdom and maturity. Therefore, although
emotionally painful, losing one’s innocence does
not always have a negative outcome.