Theme and Central Idea Identifying the Main Idea of Literary and Informational Texts What is Theme? • Theme is the central idea, or insight, about life and human behavior that a story reveals. • The theme is what makes a story linger in our hearts and minds long after we have read it. • It is the idea on which the story is built. • Theme most often applies to literary texts such as novels, short stories, dramas, and poetry. How Do I Find the Theme in a Text? • Often times, the theme is not stated directly. • The theme is revealed to the reader through the character’s experiences. How Do I Find the Theme in a Text? • Theme is revealed through what the character learns. • In order to determine the theme, ask yourself these questions: – What is the lesson the character learned in the story? – What does the character realize that he or she did not know before? Stating the Theme • There is no single way to state the theme of a text. – Readers may express the same theme in different words. – Many times, there is more than one theme in a text. Stating the Theme • One way to figure out if you have stated the theme correctly is to ask yourself this question: Does the theme I have stated apply to the whole work or only parts of it? • The theme must apply to the whole work! Stating the Theme • Remember, the theme is not the same thing as the subject or topic (what the piece is about). Topic is stated in one word. For example, “Honeybees.” • The theme should be expressed in a sentence! – For example, the theme of the poem “Honeybees” is: Hard work and dedication often goes unrewarded. Let’s Practice! • What is the theme of these popular films? • Beauty and the Beast • The Chronicles of Narnia • The Hunger Games What is Central Idea? • CENTRAL IDEA = MAIN IDEA. These terms mean the same thing. • The central idea of a passage is the message that the author is trying to get across to the reader. • The central idea is not the topic. A central idea is stated in a sentence, not just one to two words. • Central idea most commonly refers to informational texts. Finding the Main Idea • To find the main idea of a paragraph or passage, ask yourself this question: – What is the most important point the author wants me to understand about the topic? Let’s Practice! • What is the main idea of this paragraph? “Beginning a new job is always exciting and sometimes intimidating. There is an invigorating feeling of a fresh start and a clean slate. You face new challenges and draw on a renewed sense of energy as you approach them. But you may also feel apprehensive . . .” Let’s Practice! • What is the main idea of this paragraph? "Taking vitamins may be beneficial to your health for several reasons. For one thing, vitamins provide essential nutrients that may be lacking in your diet. Also, some vitamins may reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. Finally, vitamins may increase your energy and improve your well-being."