What exactly is a theme?

The theme of a fable is its moral. The theme of a parable is its teaching. The theme of a piece of fiction is its view about life and how people behave.

In fiction, the theme is not intended to teach or preach. In fact, it is not presented directly at all. You extract it from the characters, action, and setting that make up the story. In other words, you must figure out the theme yourself.

The writer’s task is to communicate on a common ground with the reader. Although the particulars of your experience may be different from the details of the story, the general underlying truths behind the story may be just the connection that both you and the writer are seeking.

Let’s explore some literary themes. Try to share a book and the theme that goes with it. Below are a list of common themes.

One theme from the Hunger Games would be sacrifice. The way Katniss took her sisters place as tribute required self-sacrifice.

Ambition Jealousy
Beauty Loneliness
Betrayal Love
Courage Loyalty
Duty (filial piety) Perseverance
Fear Prejudice
Freedom Suffering
Happiness Truth