· Theme is always a complete sentence.
· Theme is an arguable claim made by a story.
· Theme is the point the story is trying to make.
· Theme connects fiction to our lived human experiences.
· Theme is a big idea, a universal statement, an argument or claim about one of life’s big ideas.
· Theme can never be one word: love, friendship, dogs, or tacos are big ideas, but they’re not claims.
· Theme can never be summary: what happens in the story reveals the meaning, but the theme is universal and can be applied to your life and mine.
· Theme is not an easy lesson: “listen to your parents,” or “be nice to people” are good ideas, but they aren’t complex enough to drive literature.
· Painful experiences can make a person stronger.
· The past will always impact the present and future.
· Some family bonds are not worth fighting for.
· Love requires sacrifice.
· Adulthood is a rewarding burden.
· Independence requires responsibility.
· Hope is powerful, but also dangerous.
· Why is more important than what. Identifying a symbol is only important if you also explain what it means and how it relates to the theme.
· Think about what the story seems to value and promote? What gets rewarded? What is learned?
· Explain and analyze how a theme is shown, what in the story reveals the theme or relates to it.