Chaithra K - AP ENG LANG - Period 5


- the insight about human life that is revealed in a literary work.

- a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work that may be stated directly or indirectly.

Major and Minor Themes

There are two types of theme that appear in literary works.

Major Theme
: an idea that a writer repeats in his work; the most significant idea in a literary work

Minor Theme: refers to an idea that appears briefly in a work and gives way to another minor theme

For Example: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Major theme: Matrimony -- subject that the whole novel revolves around

Minor theme: love, friendship, affectation,etc.

Theme v. Subject

A subject is a topic that acts as a foundation for a literary work.

A theme is an opinion expressed on a subject.

Themes are presented through thoughts and conversations of different characters.

The main character's experiences gives us an idea about its theme.


Love and Friendship
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


  • IIiad and Odyssey by Homer
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Crime and Mystery

  • Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens


Google Images

"Theme - Examples and Definition of Theme." Literary Devices. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <>.