How To Write A Thematic Essay On A Novel

How to Write a Theme Based Essay

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What is a Theme Essay?

A theme based essay is an essay where you write something based on a theme which can be derived from a novel, drama, short story, song, poem or any other literary object that has some form, or plot and story in it. The first part in writing a theme based essay is to identify the theme(s) in the literary piece of work you are thinking writing about. Without properly identifying suitable and appropriate themes, you won’t be able to write a good theme based essay. So, the first and foremost step in writing a theme based essay starts with identifying the underlying themes that you have read in your literature work.

To begin with, a theme can be as simple as the moral of a fable. However, themes just don’t stop with the moral of the story alone. They lie deep within the piece of literature and need to be unearthed, as they are never presented in a direct form. They need to be extracted from the characters, their actions, the settings, the plot and everything else that is present in the novel, story, drama or any other piece of literature. Finding the right essay theme for the theme based essay is one of the major pre-requisites for writing a theme based essay and students are urged not to overlook this part as incorrect or wrong theme can weaken the essay.

The first step in finding the theme of a literary object such as a short story or a novel is by looking at its title.

Theme Essay Example #1

For example, if we take the novel ‘Blood Wedding’ by Federico García Lorca, we will see that it evokes a feeling of bloodshed and violence in us by just reading its title! The novel has such a plot that it is replete with violence and bloodshed from the beginning till the end. Even the second phrase of the novel’s title looks like there is an element of wedding and marriage in the novel and is true to a great extent, as there is a vivid depiction of wedding between a prospective bride and bridegroom. In the midst of the wedding ceremony, there is a sea of violence and bloodshed and hence the title ‘Blood Wedding’. So, by looking at the title of the novel itself, we come to know that the prevalent themes in the novel would be both violence and wedding as they are reflected in the title itself.

Theme Essay Example #2

Similarly, if we take a look at the novel ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, we will find that the title of this novel also presents a picture of death and violence just like the previous novel, which was mentioned above in this passage. The title also reveals that there is some amount of foreshadowing in the story or plot narration and we can get a hint here that the underlying theme in this novel is going to be composed at least of death, violence and foreshadowing. If you read this novel, you will find that the author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has written the novel in such a way that the underlying theme is basically based on these three elements, i.e., death, violence and foreshadowing.

Theme Essay Example #3

Even if we take the novel ‘The House of the Spirits’ (also known as ‘La Casa de los EspÃritus’ in the original Spanish version), we will find that the title reveals a lot about the underlying theme present in the novel. Spirits can mean ghosts, demons, and angels – anything that is not physical in nature but appearing as supernatural or occult. The House of the Spirits is true to its title as there are plenty of ‘spirits’, ‘ghosts’ and supernatural forces that encircle the house of the main protagonist. Since a house holds a family, there is also a lot of talk about family members in the novel. So, the novel essentially consists of themes that are related to the spirits, family members and houses.

So, we can see that the first and foremost step in writing a theme based essay is to identify the main theme or themes from the title itself. However, just depending upon the title of the literary work is simply not enough for identifying the main themes in the novel or story. You must also read the entire novel/story right from the start till the end a number of times as to acquaint yourself thoroughly about the underlying themes present in it. The following steps will help you in identifying the underlying themes in a better way for your theme based essay:

  • Notice the patterns and symbols in the story. Does it appear to be repeating itself regularly? For example, in the novel ‘Blood Wedding’, there is a lot of repetition and stress on blood and wedding. This indicates that these two form the main themes in the novel. If you follow the main patterns and symbols, you will get a better idea of the main themes present in the novel or story, which in turn will make it easier for you to write the theme based essay.
  • Notice the allusions that are made in the novel or story. Allusion is a literary technique which is used by writers to make indirect or implicit references to something in their story or novel. If you can identify the allusions, you will also be able to identify the themes in the novel/story.
  • Emotions, ideas and other forms of abstract things also form the theme of a literary piece such as novels or short stories. For example, in the novel ‘Blood Wedding’, there is a lot of talk about murder, bloodshed, violence and all these form the core theme of the novel. So, basically, the theme can be found at the deeper level, i.e., at the intellectual or emotional level, which makes it a bit abstract but still identifiable at the surface level. 

Once you have identified the theme, you can start writing your actual essay. The steps in writing a theme based essay are:

  • Identify the character or character(s) that you are going to mention in your essay. These must relate to the theme you have identified and chosen for your theme based essay. For example, if you have chosen violence as the main theme in the novel ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’, you must write mainly on the characters that take part in violence or are sufferers/witnesses to violence in the novel. For example, you can write how Santiago Nasar was killed violently by the Vicario brothers. How violence is visible from the early part of the novel, how the guns and knives are depicted as violent tools in the plot, etc.
  • Maintain the chosen theme by highlighting it throughout your essay. For example, if you have taken violence as the theme from the novel ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’, write on everything that contains violence or refers to violence in the novel. It doesn’t necessarily have to be based on blood bath, gore or macabre, but can include small incidents of violence like underlying tensions, fits, outrage, outbursts, emotional extremes, etc. The point is that you should try to remain as close to the underlying theme that you are writing in your theme based essay as possible by highlighting incidents and situations from the background source, which could be a novel, story, drama or any other literary piece. For example, here, the source referred is from the novel ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’.
  • Do not try to mix the main theme with the main subject of the novel/story. Many students assume that the theme and plot/story/subject are the same things and try to write on the story or plot. However, a theme is not the plot or story but is actually an idea, which binds the story or plot in a tight fashion. It is more like a message or the main idea(s) that the writer wants to convey to the readers/audience.
  • Start with a brief background of the underlying theme(s) that you have identified in the source matter and mention that in the introduction part of the essay. For example, if you have chosen violence as the main theme from the novel ‘Blood Wedding’, you could start writing in the following way: “The novel Blood Wedding, written by Federico García Lorca, depicts violence in such a way that even the modern reader of today’s times is intrigued by it. One of the main female characters in the novel, La Novia, causes a number of violent murders in the play. The theme of violence can be felt in the first Act itself when El Novio’s mother responds violently and in a bizarre manner when El Novio asks her for a knife - “Knives, knives…Curse them all.” (Lorca, 5) The reaction of El Novio’s mother shows how much fear she has for knives and other similar sharp objects. El Novio’s father was killed in a ghastly manner when his assailants inflicted multiple stabs on his chest and stomach. Due to the violent murder of her husband, El Novio’s mother is in a state of shock and apprehends violence when she hears about the knife.”
  • Keep your thoughts well organised and relate the themes closely knitted throughout the main body in your theme based essay. The body should relate only to the main theme but can also refer to other characters, plot, incidents and events that happen in the source matter.
  • After you have presented all the incidents and events related to the main theme, you can summarise the effect of the theme on the character(s) or the plot/story and how it affects the novel/story/drama. This way the conclusion would be solid and effective too.

If you follow the above steps, you would find it easier to write a theme based essay.

How to Write a Theme Based Essay

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing a Theme Based Essay

What is the difference between a theme essay and a research paper?

A theme based essay is one in which you are required to write on a theme stemming from a source such as a story, book, drama, song or poem. A research paper, on the other hand, is an argument you make or analysis of your perspective on a topic that is supported by relevant information from a variety of sources. While both require analysis of the topic or theme, the research paper is a specific type of paper that it expands on an essay by requiring you to choose a standpoint and make an argument for it. 

What is a good topic sentence for a theme paper?

A good topic sentence for a theme paper is one that outlines the general idea of the essay in the first sentence of the paragraph. It is an introduction to the essay and allows the reader to know what to expect when they read through the piece.

What is a good hook for a theme essay?

A good hook sentence is meant to grab your reader’s attention. It must speak directly to your reader, be well-crafted with the right, carefully chosen words and should be consistent with your style of writing. These can take the form of a well-known anecdote, a thought-provoking question, a quote or a fact/statistics. Regardless of your choice, it must serve the purpose of grabbing the attention of your readers.

How to write an introduction paragraph for a theme analysis essay?

The first step in writing an introduction for a theme analysis essay is reading and understanding the theme behind the piece to be written about. Once you’ve found your theme, you will want to state what the general theme is and create a thesis statement. The thesis statement will then be used to explain what your theme paper will be about. When you review the piece to be written about, it is best to take thorough notes on the main points of interest so that you can explain and expound on them in your essay. Starting a theme essay with a good hook will help you to capture your readers’ attention. From there, you can follow through with your thesis statement and introduction of your main ideas.

How to write a thesis for a theme essay?

The thesis statement is written in the introductory paragraph of your essay. It explains the focal point of your piece and must be linked to the theme of the essay. The rest of your essay will be written to support the thesis statement.

How to write a theme essay of a book?

The theme is the overarching idea of the piece you are writing about. In order to write the theme you must read and understand the piece; this includes the tone, characters, scenes, etc. of the piece. Making notes of similar concepts within the piece will help you to identify and state the theme.

How do I explore a certain theme in a literature essay?

When exploring the theme in a literature essay, you need to review all aspects of the piece you are wiring about, including the characters, setting, plot, scenes, language, dialogue, etc. Identify commonalities within the piece that will aid you in drafting a theme that the reader will understand and get the gist of the essay.

How to write a conclusion for a theme essay?

The conclusion should be a summary of the main points stated in your theme paper expressed in a concise and direct manner. In it, you should paraphrase your thesis statement, restate the theme, remind the audience of the main points and have a closing sentence that provides closure to your piece while still being memorable. Remember, the conclusion must be the tie that brings together your entire essay.

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Every piece of writing ever written has its agenda. Whether it is to teach a lesson, show the impact of a particular emotion or portray the reaction to some action, a central theme can be developed. The goal for us as readers is to uncover what the author was trying to say between the lines. When we do finally discover it, we have accomplished the first step of thematic essay writing!


Table Of Contents


What Is A Thematic Essay

When looking at the definition, a thematic essay is a piece of writing in which an author develops the central theme in some literature using literary devices (foreshadowing, imagery, personification, etc.) Pro essay writer must uncover the primary subject, provide literary devices as evidence, and express the overall significance of the theme. The main challenge comes from the fact that although there are various subjects, finding the most meaningful and impactful one can be challenging.

After all, each person has their own varied interpretation, making it hard to wholesomely agree on a central theme. In short, a well written thematic essay comes from a strong main idea that is conclusively proven via literary devices and logical arguments.

Thematic Essay Example Topics

  • What is George Orwell trying to show after portraying a “Perfect Utopia” in his book 1984?
  • What main idea is George Orwell painting about Communism in the book Animal Farm?
  • What is Harper Lee saying about innocence in her novel To Kill A Mockingbird?
  • What is John Steinbeck saying about loneliness and isolation in Of Mice and Men?
  • What is F. Scott Fitzgerald saying about the American Dream in The Great Gatsby?

Finding and Exploring The Central Theme

As stated before, uncovering the main subject and central theme respectively is the first major step in a thematic essay. However, with all the variety flowing around, it may be difficult to confidently decide on the main subject. To make sure you choose the central theme correctly, follow these steps:

  • Summarize the Literature: If you take the SparkNotes version of the book, what main idea is the author trying to purvey? Usually, there will be many hints along the way, so choosing the right direction may not be so challenging.
  • Pick the Most Prevalent Subject: One thing to note is the significant difference between a subject and a theme. A subject is the general topic of conversation whether it be love, bravery, deception, etc. A theme is a specific point an author is making about said subject. So, find the talking point that is most commonly being brought up. This will be the focal point of the essay.
  • Read Between The Lines: After finding the most suitable subject, decipher what main point the author is trying to make. This will become clearer as you get deeper into the literature since clues and examples will appear on a frequent basis. After fully deciphering the central theme, there is one more major step
  • Overall Significance: What is the overall significance that comes from the author’s point? What can be taken from this and applied to our personal lives? In other words, what is the lesson from all of this? What have we learned?

Thematic Essay Outline

The thematic essay has several key components. First of all, it should be five paragraphs or more, depending on the depth of the theme. Next, it must have a concrete thesis, which in other words is the thematic statement that comes from the main subject. The introduction presents the reader with the subject and the thesis statement. The body paragraphs each discuss one literary element or more to defend the validity of the thought, all the while providing many supporting details from the text itself. Lastly, the conclusion summarizes the main arguments presented and finishes off with a statement of overall significance.

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How To Create A Winning Outline

Introduction

As stated previously, the introduction’s main purpose is to present the main subject of discussion in a captivating way. The first sentence of the intro should be a hook statement that makes some intriguing claim about the subject of discussion. If done properly, this will grab your reader's attention. Afterward, provide any necessary background information from the literature that will help the audience understand your claims later on. Lastly, put together a well thought out thesis statement that reflects the central theme of the novel.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs in a thematic essay follow a strict format. Since each body paragraph’s purpose is to present a literary device as evidence, the topic sentence should introduce the claim and gateway into the evidence. Every topic sentence must have a literary device, author’s name and the relationship to the claim.

Afterward, to validate the claim, using examples from the book that strengthen the reasoning of your statement. These can be actions from the plot or quotations that are in parallel with the central theme. It is imperative to explain how the action/quote links back to the thesis statement, as it shows that you can support your logic.

Remember: each claim must use a literary device. It can not just be a random moment or inference. Thematic essays are all about proving thesis statements through the use of important literary devices.

Conclusion

The conclusion has three main objectives to complete before wrapping up the entire essay. It should NEVER present any new information or facts but merely go through the information already presented. First of all, restate your thesis statement with the use of a transition such as “In conclusion,”. Then, summarize your three main claims and their influence on the thesis statement. To finish off the entire work, present an overall concluding statement with a global analysis of the subject. Leave your reader with a call to action, interesting them to dig deeper into the topic.

Wrap Things Up

Before submitting your thematic essay for a grade, make sure to check off a couple things to clean up any possible errors. First of all, double check and confirm that the central theme you have decided is the one that the author MOST LIKELY meant to focus on. Unless you can provide a secondary theme and present it strongly enough as a primary, validate the primary subject. Next, go through and proofread your entire essay. Nothing makes reading more irritating than grammatical mistakes, so clean that stuff up as much as possible. Lastly, get a second pair of eyes to read through your essay. It would be helpful to get a classmate as they most likely had a similar assignment, By reading each other's work, you can both make sure that the chosen subject is identical in both papers. Another great way to make sure that you are doing good is to ask one of our essay writers to give you some helpful advice.

Learn From The Example

The best way to familiarise yourself with this type of writing is to learn from an example.

Having Trouble With Your Thematic Essay?

We get it, writing a thematic essay is difficult enough as it is, especially if this your first experience. Even if after reading the article you are still struggling with the concept, get professional essay help from top essay writing service. They will explain the main points in more detail and will help you write an A+ essay. Or, if you just don't have the time or patience, simply order an essay from EssayPro service that will punctuality and efficiently create high-quality content for your teacher's eyes. When it comes to essay writing help, feel free to contact our support team that will put you on the right track. Good luck with your thematic essay!

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