The theme is the underlying overall message of the story about a particular topic or issue. 

  • The theme is NOT literally what happens in the story; that is the subject/plot.

Determining Theme:

  • How does the theme affect the main character(s)?
    • WHAT happens to the characters?
    • HOW are the characters described?
    • HOW do others interact with them?
    • HOW are their actions portrayed?
    • WHY does this happen?
  • Provide the backup via examples from the text.
    • “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Don’t assume anything. Be prepared to defend everything you say with facts.

Always answer the “why” questions.

  • WHY does the character do this? 
  • WHY did the author choose to use this technique? 
  • WHY is this important?