That of theme is an essential concept in creative writing. In fact, it can give a work of fiction depth and resonance beyond belief.
However, it is important to make sure we know what a theme really is.
In particular we must pay attention not to confuse it with the subject of a story.
For example, in the Lord of the Rings Frodo must travel to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, the only able to rule the other Rings of Power. We can therefore say that the battle for power is the subject of the story.
Instead, the main theme of The Lord of the Rings (or rather one of its main themes) has to do with the inherent ability power has to corrupt who wields it.
To make things clearer, just think of a book about the war. In such a case the war would be the subject of the book.
Instead, the take of the author on such a subject would be the theme. For example, some authors might decide to explore the theme of the inevitability of war, some others might focus on the loss and pain war causes, yet some others might decide to depict war like an opportunity–you get the idea.
Obviously, in a novel themes can be more than one. Besides, while some may be quite prominent, others might be only briefly touched upon. Continue reading