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How to Write about the "Theme" of a Story

Paper Masters has professional writers that will show you how to write about the theme of any story. By ordering a custom research paper, you will see an example of what an English professor expects when you are assigned to write about the theme of a story. Every story has a theme. Have our writers outline the theme of the story that you've been assigned and to insure you understand exactly what your professor wants.

When given the task of learning how to write about the theme of a story, remember that the assignment isn't about how you felt when you read the story nor whether the events could happen in the real world nor whether the events are realistic or far-fetched; that is of no interest. Rather, a "how to write about theme" in a novel assignment is an analysis of the following:

  • How the passage or theme connects to what you critically perceive as a theme of the whole story.
  • How are the issues you see being addressed in this specific theme representative of issues that are being explored in the whole story?
  • Your paper should be written in the 3rd person so be sure to avoid any 1st person subjective experiences.
  • Be careful you do not simply re-tell the events leading up to the passage; rather, analyze how the scene is a key element for a thematic concern the narrative(s) is exploring on a larger scale.

Below is a terrific passage that teaches one to focus on how to write about theme. It is taken from Desertion Analysis: in "The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories" by Tom Shippey

For it had been hard to imagine a living organism based upon ammonia and hydrogen rather than upon water and oxygen, hard to believe that such a form of life could know the same quick thrill of life that humankind could know. Hard to conceive of life out in the soupy maelstrom that was Jupiter, not knowing, of course, that through Jovian eyes it was no soupy maelstrom at all.

By explicating this passage for the theme of the story, you can learn how to write about a theme in no time!

Example of Writing on the Theme of a Story

Throughout “My Kinsman, Major Molineux,” the theme of laughter is used to highlight various elements related to the journey of the protagonist, most significantly his attitude toward life outside of the country and his willingness to trust and depend on others for guidance through unfamiliar environments. A dichotomy of laughter—a stark contrast between the laughter of the innocent and the laughter of the sinister—serves to emphasize for the reader the innermost qualities of the characters, building a foundation from which Robin’s development begins to unfold and for the climax of the story to erupt in its cacophony of laughter and music. As he watches the Major paraded down the evening street, publicly humiliated and stripped of his physical and symbolic prestige, Robin erupts in laughter. This moment surprises the reader who, having followed the journey of the young country boy from his first steps off the ferry, has come empathize with his naivety and willingness to find his way in the world, as he explains to the kindly stranger before the first few actors in the procession come into view.

However, this laughter represents not amusement at the pain and humiliation of the Major but a moment of revelation for Robin: that the reality of the world around him is does not and cannot operate by his understanding of it alone. Indeed, the narrator’s description of the horrific scene—a “contagion… spreading among the multitude”—is compared to a disease, a sickness that penetrates the body, metastasizes, and spreads to affect the masses: “the painful but paradoxically curative power of an apprehension of the nature of moral reality” (Gross, 106).

The “mixture of pity and terror” that is replaced by “a bewildering excitement” at the sight of the Major’s humiliation represents a moment of deep, intimate internal change for the protagonist, one that seems to validate Hawthorne’s ironic usage of the word “shrewd” in describing Robin. The author’s use of dichotomy in the construction of the story’s various themes—laughter, color, origin, and others—explode in the final scene, culminating in an authentic “coming of age” that will prepare Robin for the harsh reality of Colonial America and beyond.

Works Cited:

Gross, Seymour L. “Hawthorne's ‘My Kinsman, Major Molineux’: History as Moral Adventure.” Nineteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 12, no. 2, Sept. 1957, pp. 97–109., doi:10.2307/3044148.


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