Theme seems to be one of those angst-triggering bogeymen that writers constantly wrestle with. But when you examine it closely, there’s really nothing complicated about it. Theme is simply the lesson the main character learns over the course of the story.
(Or, in the case of a tragic ending, the lesson they failed to learn.)
Every story, from the silliest comedy to the deepest work of literature, delivers a moral message on some level. It basically says “life is like this.”
Think about some of the most famous movie quotes of all time:
“There’s no place like home.”
“Greed is good.”
“Use the Force, Luke.”
All of those quotes point directly toward the theme of the story. Continue reading