Throughout this course, you have been asked to move beyond a literal understanding of text. You have considered the big ideas that exist in the literature you have studied often as you respond to the essential questions. Authors create meaning in their novels by ensuring their choices contribute to themes in their texts.

What A Theme Is. . .
What A Theme Is Not. . .
A theme is a statement about human nature or an insight into life. Here’s a sample theme statement:  Relationship struggles often stem from a lack of effective communication. A theme is not a topic. A topic is the general subject of a text, such as “relationship struggles” or “addiction.”
A theme is complex. The example theme statement above, “Relationship struggles often stem from a lack of effective communication,” could be discussed from many angles. You could focus on people who are dishonest in their communications, people who are too emotional, and/or people who refuse to communicate. The possibilities are endless.
A theme does not make blanket generalizations. Avoid such words as always, never, everyone, etc. A theme statement should be an accurate representation of life or human nature, which means it should leave room for exceptions.  A theme statement such as this would not leave room for such exceptions: The cause of all relationship struggles is a lack of communication.
A theme statement illustrates an important truth expressed in a specific text. While it’s true that texts can share a similar theme, the purpose of writing a theme statement is to pull out the key message from a particular text that an author is trying to convey. 
A theme statement is not a clichĂ©. A theme statement based on a clichĂ© would not show any specific insight into a text: Love conquers all. It would merely be repeating an unoriginal saying. 

Plot is not the same as theme. For help with determining the theme(s) within Hamlet, watch the following video: .