A theme is a central unifying idea or theme which has meaning for a particular work of art, literature, or music. Theme-based articles can be as general in nature as the article’s title, or as specific as the artist’s art. For instance, the themes of Christian religion, sin, forgiveness, redemption, and human dignity are key to the artistic work of both Christian and non-denominational authors. In both cases the theme is expressed with equal parts of thought, imagery, and emotion to resonate together with the reader or viewer to form an emotional connection with the work.
The most popular literary themes are those which have long histories in the literature of a culture, such as love or war, tragedy, comedy, and tragedy again. A more recent trend is to write about literary topics from a personal or contemporary perspective. This is particularly common in poetry, where there are literally millions of examples of literary themes.
These themes may be presented as a list, as an abstract idea, in a play, poem, or essay. A thematic statement is a more complex version of the abstract idea. A thematic statement begins with the words “the theme” and continues with a description of the central point(s) of that theme. Although the thematic statement is less structured than the abstract idea, it is just as important because it lays the foundation for the other elements of a written piece, such as plot, character, dialogue, and so on.
A major theme found throughout many literary works is the main idea. Almost every work includes at least one main idea. Most readers think of these as the central thesis statements found throughout a story. Themes involving change and transformation are perhaps the most common examples of primary themes in literature. An example of this would be the story of a boy who transforms into a dragon.
Secondary themes are a subset of the major themes found in a literary work. These are themes that occur simultaneously with the main thesis statement but take place off of it. An example of this might be an incident that occurs after the main thesis statement, but takes place off of it in the surrounding world of the story.
These examples of themes are quite common throughout literature. In fact, nearly every piece of literature contains at least one of these common themes. While most themes do not refer to any major artistic styles, these examples are still important because they show how themes can be introduced into any type of creative work.