Young Adult: Themes
Everything you read has a theme. Even this blurb has a theme. What is it? If we told you, you might not be curious enough to watch this video, and that would be a shame because we worked really, really hard on it.
|Literary Topics||Special Interest|
Yeah, so maybe themes are better suited to stories and essays than amusement park rides.
At least you don’t have to be a certain height to read a book. Usually.
A theme is, quite simply, the central idea explored in any piece of writing.
You need a theme; otherwise… what’s the purpose of writing anything at all?
You’d just be left with a story that meanders between completely unrelated characters or
…or a paper that ambles from one disjointed argument to another.
Your teachers have read stuff like that… trust us. They’re not superfans.
Okay, so… that definition of the word is a fairly broad one.
We can narrow our focus a bit by concentrating on universal themes.
A universal theme is one that pops up so often in many different books…
…that it must be a concept that people are wrestling with in some way.
Good versus Evil… and Coming of Age… are two universal themes, for example.
The theme of… carrots being difficult to eat…
…well, that one doesn’t get a lot of play.
In fact, we’re pretty sure you’re the only one who’s having that problem.
Not universal. A couple of biggies are Individual versus
…and Individual versus Self. Individual versus Society comes up whenever
there’s a struggle between what an individual wants…
…and what society demands of him.
Like… if someone is passionately opposed to wearing pants in public.
Individual versus Self involves a similar struggle…
…but one that is taking place within the individual.
There probably isn’t a character with any self-imposed pant-wearing laws…
…but… say there’s a character who has dreams of moving to the big city to try to
become a professional triangle player…
…but she’s not sure they can bear to leave their small town behind.
No one is forcing them to do one thing or the other…
…society’s demands have nothing to do with it…
…it’s completely a personal decision. And all of the turmoil comes from within.
These are just a couple of examples.
As long as you can find a few million people concerned about a given topic…
…you’ve got yourself a universal theme.
And good luck with the carrot thing.
That’s gotta be rough.
Especially with it being… roughage.