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03.07.2011 04:26    Comments: 0    Categories: Fiction Elements  Writing Theme  Writing Craft  Writing      Tags: theme  writing theme  

Writers write stories to bring alive some segment of human existence. Story writers perform a service for us-interpret life for us-whether they give us new insights or refresh and extend old ones. They may espouse a moral principle, reveal a truth about human nature, comment upon a social problem, offer insight concerning the complexity of human relationships, and/or pose a moral or philosophical riddle (Boggs 17-21).

To determine theme, ask:

What is the story's central purpose?  What view of life does it support or what insight into life does it reveal?  What is the central insight, the one that explains the greatest number of elements in the story and relates them to each other?
On a more tangible level, ask: In what way(s) does the main character(s) change in the course of the story and what, if anything, has the character(s) learned before its end?  What is the nature of the central conflict and what is its outcome?  What information does the title reveal?

The principles of theme:

Theme must be a statement about the subject expressible in a complete sentence-not merely an identification of subject.
Theme must be stated as a generalization about life: its expression must not rely upon using the names of characters or precise places or events.
Theme must not be a generalization larger than is justified by the terms of the story: watch terms like every, all, always; prefer terms like some, sometimes, may.
Theme is the central and unifying concept of a story; therefore, it must account for all the major details of the story, not be contradicted by any detail in the story, and not rely upon facts not actually stated or clearly implied by the story
There is no one way of stating a story's theme.
Avoid any statement that reduces the theme to cliché.
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