Theme vs. Thematic Statement
The theme of a story is arguably the most important aspect. A necessary element that is determined through the plot and the moral of the story. The theme is the message that the author is trying to convey through their writing. It is the lesson in which a reader can relate to and learn from. A strong theme makes a story significant and resonates with the reader. A theme does not have to be stated directly, which is why it is important to understand the term which will lead to recognizing themes when reading. The theme is often confused with the moral, however, the moral is a key aspect of the theme. The plot, character growth, and interactions, moral and conflict of the story can all contribute to the theme of a story. When finding a theme, we must consider these components.
A thematic statement is one or two sentences that summarize the theme of the story. After determining the theme based on character growth, plot, conflict, and morals we can summarize the message.
The Writing on the Wall by Celia Rees
This story we saw many examples of the Banks family ignoring warning signs, and ultimately being faced with a danger that could have been avoided. The author represented Sam as a character who had been suspicious from the beginning but only spoke on his fears when it was too late. The theme is pointed out in the conflict, the character’s hubris, title, and rising action. Celia Rees was trying to convey themes about the dangers of overlooking warning signs for human pride and lust.
Thematic statement: Often, one might overlook dangers in pursuit of pride or love.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson described a barbaric tradition in a small village where an innocent citizen is randomly picked to be murdered. Most of the villagers follow this ritual purely out of tradition. Jackson picks at this idea by writing about the events nonchalantly until a dramatic and violent ending. A theme of the story might be to second guess why we do the things we do.
Thematic statement: It is important to consider why we conform to certain traditions and to avoid following traditions blindly.
A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder begins in a utopia with advanced technological developments. One of these advancements being a time machine. Our main character, Mr. Eckels, pays big money to travel back in time to hunt a dinosaur. He is warned by the guide to stay on the path to avoid disrupting the past, causing major repercussions for their present. Unfortunately, Mr. Eckels steps off the path killing one butterfly, forever altering their utopia. Bradbury speculates about the power of technology and the responsibility that comes with our advancements. He also shows that there are substantial consequences to our actions.
Thematic statement: Our actions can have large impacts on the future OR Humanity must be responsible with our technological advancements as we yield greater power.