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A theme is the main idea of an essay, paragraph, or a book. The idea about life is revealed in a work of literature. The message may be about life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and may be implied rather than stated explicitly. Along with plot, character, setting, and style, theme is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.[1] It is the universal statement or feel when you read a piece of writing.



Various techniques may be used to express themes:



Leitwortstil is the purposeful saying of words in a literary piece that usually expresses a motif or theme important to the story. This device dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights, which connects several tales together in a story cycle. The storytellers of the tales relied on this technique "to shape the constituent members of their story cycles into a coherent whole."[2]

This technique is also used frequently in classical Hebrew narratives.[3]

Thematic patterning

Thematic patterning is "the distribution of recurrent thematic concepts and moralistic motifs among the various incidents and frames of a story. Thematic patterning may be arranged so as to emphasize the unifying argument or salient idea which disparate events and disparate frames have in common". This technique also dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Obstfeld, 2002, p. 1, 65, 115, 171.
  2. ^ a b Heath, Peter (May 1994), "Reviewed work(s) Story-Telling Techniques in the Arabian Nights by David Pinault", International Journal of Middle East Studies (Cambridge University Press) 26 (2): 358–360 [359-60] 
  3. ^ Alter, Robert, Art of Biblical Narrative, pp. 92–95 


  • Obstfeld, Raymond (2002). Fiction First Aid: Instant Remedies for Novels, Stories and Scripts. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 158297117x. 

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