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However, to develop a clear understanding of theme from a reading and writing perspective, we should consult – who else? What must theme accomplish in order to be the heart of a story? The lessons learned by the protagonist propel her character arc and illustrate her transformation for the readers, thus allowing the readers to learn those lessons as well. Yet, here’s what Harry realizes when he learns he must make the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Voldemort and defend his beloved wizardry school Hogwarts: “He wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back, to be sent home… Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known.” (697) Discovering where he truly feels at home, Harry chooses to turn himself over to Voldemort in hopes of saving the people and place he holds dearest.Maybe it presents a fundamental idea or moral lesson that the character learns as a result of the plot. His thoughts and actions here show readers that the idea of home is worth defending, at any cost. All of this information from Merriam-Webster, Lakin, and Hague is a lot to digest.Throughout her novels, love—and those in love—triumph even though they had to endure hardships and challenges along the way.
While you might start with an issue or theme in mind, they also develop, emerge, or expand as you write.
It may not be until the editing stage that you even begin to recognize your themes.
Most importantly, each article will end with something fun and creative for you!
We’ll give you the chance to study theme on your own with questions to ponder and writing prompts to spark new ideas.
A dictionary can be a good place to start – sometimes.
Here are the first two definitions Merriam-Webster gives for the word “theme”: Hmmmmm.
When reading fiction, identifying themes can enhance the experience by allowing you to better understand characters and conflicts and possibly even anticipate what will happen next. The main character may have a strong work ethic, and he may value similar traits in others and despise those who are lazy.
As a reader, when you identify this trait in a character and see that he is drawn to other characters like him, you may also be able to anticipate arising conflict when these characters are forced to deal with another character who does not share their work ethic.
You’d have a plot that goes nowhere and readers losing interest – in other words, a story without a soul. It represents Katniss’ incentive to fight her way through trilogy.
Most importantly, theme allows readers to relate to the characters and their struggles – and to feel invested in the outcome.