What Are Types of Themes?

Although there are an infinite combination of topics for themes, there are two basic types of themes in literature: major and minor. A major theme is the central message of a story. A minor theme is a smaller message that when tied together with other smaller messages contributes ideas to the major theme.

Since the theme is a message that the author wants to convey and, therefore, the author’s opinion about a topic, a theme can be in the form of virtually any perspective on a topic that an author dreams up. Certain themes appear across multiple works. The most popular themes in literature are acceptance, courage, perseverance, cooperation, compassion, honesty, kindness and loyalty. Differentiating theme from topic is sometimes challenging. When an author chooses a theme of courage, for instance, the story itself with be a tale of courage. The theme, however, will be whatever perspective the author presents about courage. Authors work themes into their stories in multiple ways. There may be reoccurring symbols or motifs that connect to the theme. Dialogue, tone and voice also contribute to the theme. Of course, there is the plot of the story itself, which should clearly illustrate the author’s ideas concerning the theme.