In modern literature, themes are central themes, a central focus in a story. A theme may take the form of a central plot development, or it may be a byproduct of the plot. Themes are also divided into two broad categories: the thematic idea of the story is what readers interpret the story to be about and its thematic message being “what the story says about the subject”. A theme within a story is what keeps the reader engaged and makes the book enjoyable. Asking the question, “What do themes mean?”
Of course, as with anything else, the definition of a theme varies between different genres. A theme, in poetry, for example, is the main point of a poem that has no sub-themes. The theme may be a dominant one, but the poems that contain it need not have any other significant content to make them worth reading. If the poet does not bring the theme to the fore, the reader will have no reason to read the poems beyond the main point: to find out what the theme is.
A theme is not necessarily a major event in a story; for example, in Robert Frost’s “The Road”, the main character’s reaction to a tragic event is his conviction that he has lost his soul. The theme is his belief that he has lost his soul. It is a psychological anchor around which the reader draws, a place where they can feel safe. However, themes can be very important to a story, and they can even provide the necessary context for the plot development. When applied correctly, themes can make a story more appealing to the audience.
Some of the most popular and most successful themes in literature are Death, Love, and Grief. These are natural themes that give us the needed psychological anchor that we need to suspend our disbelief and move on with the story. Death is a major event in everyone’s life, whether you like it or not, and whether or not you believe in it or not, death is inevitable. Themes like these that accompany death lift the reader’s suspension of disbelief enough to allow them to be moved by the protagonist’s grief and the resulting actions, which in turn strengthens the main character.
Another common theme found in literature is morality. Whether you believe in morality or not, you have to admit that without some kind of moral compass, no novel would ever become readable. Themes surrounding morality are also very common in literature because, just like death, they too are necessary, and although they may not help the plot, they do affect the reader’s attitude toward the characters and the storyline. Good characters are believable; good themes give the reader a reason to care about them, and the consequences of the actions of the main characters and the themes found in the literature to support this.
Thematic themes are an important part of the novel. By choosing the right theme, a writer establishes the mood of the story and the manner in which the narrative will progress. While many of us have our own personal definitions of themes, the most commonly accepted themes are love, loss, grief, sadness, and redemption. When writing a fiction novel, you are encouraged to use as many of these themes as possible, as each motif has its own unique way of deepening the story’s emotional effect.