If your English teachers are, you know, licensed,
you’re going to spend a lot of time talking about themes. Here’s what you need to know … in 60 seconds. If you want to understand what a theme is,
think about all the lectures you’ve gotten from your parents over the years: Pick up your clothes.
Clean up your room. Obey your curfew—OR ELSE. What’s the theme? It’s the unifying idea behind
all these different moments of finger-wagging. In other words, the theme, the dominant idea
behind your parents’ lectures is: RESPONSIBILITY! Themes in literature are like that. They’re not so tricky to find if you can pick
up on repetition or patterns and then figure out the idea that those repetitions or patterns
are trying to convey. Oh, and also? Themes are often universal. In other words, they’re big ideas that relate
to the human experience: hope, love, the loss of innocence. And there are dozens and dozens more. To recap: To find a theme, look for a key
idea that’s supported by multiple scenes, symbols, characters, etc. Now, wow your English teacher.