Theme Analysis

Sam Krampitz

What is it?

Theme analysis involves interpreting the work and message that the author of a given selection is trying to convey. Remember that theme its self is the universal message that the given selection contains. Examples could be life lessons, or opinions on a given topic. The theme gives the author complete control or the ability to convey his perceptions on life, or the given topics, through their theme.

When do you Analyze Theme?

The analyzation of theme can be done at anytime, anywhere. Theme can be analyzed in any selection of literature that you choose to read. When ever you seem to have trouble really understanding what the true intent/message the author is really trying to get across to you could be a factor that would lead you to analyze theme. Even if you do seem to understand the "Universal Message" on a more complex level, it is never a bad idea to go through the simple to steps to make sure you really understand whats going on.

How can I Analyze Theme?

The analyzation of theme can best be split up into 5 simple steps for almost any given piece of literature.

  1. Read and fully understand the literature that you are reading

It is very important to know what you are reading. Taking notes throughout your reading process to help you grabs just what exactly the literature is saying is never a bad idea. Also looking for theme triggers such as re occurring events of symbols in the literature.

      2. Go through your notes from step 1

Going through your notes and ideas from what you have read can simplify the text into a compact set of easy to understand words. Elements may be able to more easily stand out in a simplified set of words rather than an entire collection of literature. Look for hints on how these different elements work together in regard to the context of the piece.

      3. Go through the characters in the story

More often than not, the author will use characters or people to portray their universal message. They will put the characters into scenarios or situations to give off the impression that they want to pass to the reader. Again, look to see how the characters interact in regard to the overall context of the piece.

      4. Look at the Setting and Plot of the Selection

It is not uncommon to see the theme hidden in the plot or setting of the story. Plot and setting almost ALWAYS have an affect of the characters in the given selection. Understanding potential conflicts or obstacles that the characters face can often lead you to understanding the theme on a deeper level.

      5. Fit everything together

After going through each of the four previous steps, we have now complied an  unorganized jumble of elements and clues to finding and understanding the theme on a deeper level. Using what you know about the characters could potentially lead you to understanding the reason for the given plot in the selection or vice versa. The overall idea is to search for why the author is writing and what he is trying to tell you as a reader.

Why do we even need to know how to do Theme Analysis?

In any book, article, newspaper, story, etc ; that you read, there is an intended and sometimes hidden purpose behind it. That is the sole reason we speak and write to one another. We speak and write for a purpose on conveying something to others. Analyzing what that message is can sometimes be difficult, but is extremely beneficial to our understanding of what that "hidden message" or theme is. In our everyday conversation, in our history textbooks at home, or even in our Harry Hotter novels, there is a theme to be found, and understanding how to analyze it can/will prove most beneficial in our day to day lives.


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