How Do You Identify a Short Story Theme?

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There are several methods to identify the theme of a short story, including reading the title and noticing repeating patterns and symbols throughout the story. The theme of a story never completely explains the meaning of it; instead, it just points to the most important idea or the controlling belief.

According to Yale University, the main theme of a short story often evolves through a conflict experienced by the main character. The theme, plot and structure all go hand in hand, so it helps if the reader can locate all the main parts and ask and answer questions about the details and particulars in the story.