Re: A Fiction Writing Question

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Posted by DavidC on October 18, 2008 at 14:01:15:

In Reply to: Re: A Fiction Writing Question posted by GibH on October 18, 2008 at 13:44:43:

: : : Here's a fiction writing question: what is theme? I read a book that said the main elements of fiction were:

: : : - Point of view: the narrator of the story
: : : - Plot: the events that take place in the story
: : : - Characters: the people in the story
: : : - Setting: the environment in which the story takes place
: : : - Theme: the main idea or meaning of the story

: : : All fairly straight forward except that last one, theme. The explanation doesn't tell me anything. Can anybody give me some examples?

: : One way to explain it is to put it in reader terms: theme is the meaning the reader is left with after reading the story.

: : Hope that helps.

: It does help, but can anybody give me an example?

Many see theme as a story's "message." It may be obvious or hidden, but as somebody already suggested, it's actually up to the reader to decide for himself or herself.

A complex story may have more than one theme (message). Moby Dick can be see as being about compulsion, about friendship, about heroic journeys, about man against the wild, or about hopeless quests. Its message may be about madness, or hopelessness, heroism, or loyalty at all costs. It may also be "about" the heroic nature of wild animals. Often the message is symbolic: not really about a whale hunt but about man against himself; the whale being symbolic of the beast within us all, that part of ourselves that we cannot face, but must.

So what is "the" theme of Moby Dick? Take your pick.

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