Theme Statements

What is a Theme and what should it include?

A theme is the central message or idea of a book, paragraph, or sentence. The author tries to convey a message or idea about the subject. A subject can have more that one theme at a time. Often times the theme is implied, instead of being directly stated.

What is NOT considered a Theme?

A theme does not command us or tell us what to do. A theme is not a common saying, it is a more profound, original statement. A theme does not refer to the text, it refers to something more general, about universal ideas about mankind. A theme is not absolute, it limits itself to the majority.

What are the DO's and DON'Ts when writing a Theme Statement?

  • Make an observation about the subject
  • Make it an original and thoughtful thematic statement
  • Make it general and about reality
  • Make it reasonable, it should not refer to everyone in the story


  • Try to command the reader
  • Make it a common saying, make more interesting
  • Specify it to one part of the text
  • Include everyone in the story

What are the steps to writing a Theme Statement?

  1. Write the title
  2. Write the author
  3. Write the thematic idea
  4. Write the theme Statement

Writing Thematic Statements

  1. In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare shows that sometimes in life you make mistakes. The best thing to do is learn from them and try to fix them.
  2. In The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, we are shown an example of prejudice. Prejudice wedges itself between people and divides them.
  3. In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare shows that true friendship consists of love and respect towards one another. It is this love and respect that drives human interaction forward.