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How To Write A Thematic Statement with Examples

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

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The English language is not as straightforward as it seems. Penning a quality essay or story requires in-depth knowledge of English grammar and sentence structure rulings.

A single paragraph may contain multiple different sentence types. An argumentative essay’s introductory paragraph, for example, may have many simple sentences, a thesis statement, and a thematic statement.

Thesis statements are present within almost every essay. Thematic statements, on the other hand, are less popular because not many people know about them. Regardless, they are an essential part of English writing, and learning about these statements will help you produce better essays. Thematic statements are most commonly employed within stories, though you can also find them in some formal texts.

This article will cover everything you need to know about thematic statements – what are they, where are they used, and how they differ from thesis statements. We’ll also explore the guidelines for penning a quality thematic statement, accompanied by multiple examples.

So, without further delay, let’s dive in!

In this article:

What is a Thematic Statement?

What’s the purpose of having a theme, where to use thematic statements: popular examples, how are thematic statements different from thesis statements, theme vs. topic, how to write a thematic statement, what to avoid when writing a thematic statement, good vs. evil, power and corruption, coming of age, thematic statement examples for love, thematic statement examples for identity, thematic statement examples for fear, thematic statement examples for death, thematic statement examples for trust.

Thematic statements are unique sentences employed by writers to convey the most prominent message of their story or article. They summarize the essence of the story into a short, precise statement.

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Every thematic statement must contain a single root keyword. This keyword is called the ‘theme’ or a ‘thematic idea.’ Unlike thematic statements, thematic ideas are not complete sentences but only words.

Thematic statements grow from thematic ideas.

Some writers prefer to pen two thematic statements instead of one. This tactic is most common within more extensive texts that discuss multiple ideas. Still, the idea is to summarize the central message that the text aims to deliver to readers. Hence, thematic statements shouldn’t be too long. An entire paragraph of writing cannot qualify as a thematic statement.

Thematic statements do not target a specific audience. Expert writers know that thematic statements lose their purpose when directed at the reader. Hence, thematic statements should never sound personal. Words like “I” and “you” have no place within thematic statements because they narrow the thematic idea’s scope. You essentially direct an idea towards a specific audience by personalizing a statement. Hence, the audience’s perception of the statement’s message becomes relevant. Unfortunately, having the audience’s perception as a point of interest weakens the statement’s impact.

Let’s go over a simple example to understand this idea better:

Suppose the proposed thematic statement is “If you love sincerely, you will find joy.”

There are many problems with this statement. Firstly, it is a personal statement directed at an audience. A quality thematic statement must be impersonal. It should address not a person or audience but rather a single idea or message.

Another thing wrong with this sentence is its use of “if.” Writing “if” immediately transforms the text into a conditional statement that’s paired with a promise. Here, the statement mentioned above promises joy to those who love sincerely.

Unfortunately, promises are often broken and are seldom guaranteed. Therefore, it’s best to avoid making promises within thematic statements. Including the word “if” and closing the statement off with a promise only serves to weaken the sentence’s impact. Plus, it lengthens the statement. Remember, thematic statements should be concise and to the point. It should seek to deliver a single message in simple words.

A better thematic statement would be, “Sincere love results in joy.” This statement is direct and discusses one idea only. It does not make promises and is not an “if” statement. It is powerful and stated as a fact or lesson, allowing the reader to successfully understand the essay’s central idea.

A theme is often used to summarize the focus or main idea that the author is trying to convey. Well-developed works of literature often have a multitude of themes that can be determined or understood at face value as well as on a much deeper level. Sometimes, the author wants you to read between the lines and form your own conclusion.

For readers, understanding the theme gives you a much more in-depth understanding of the storyline as well as added clarity. Understanding the themes of a literary piece will also inspire a greater appreciation of the literature’s deeper meanings and innuendos.

Themes allow authors to express their opinions and comment on humanistic traits or societal pressures without having to be too obvious about it.

Learning to understand themes allows the reader the opportunity to think about the plot on a much deeper level, form their own opinions and align their opinions with those of the authors. A greater understanding of themes will also inspire deeper thinking and promote self-reflection in the reader.

Determining themes requires reading between the lines, having a greater understanding of emotion and reactiveness and critical thinking to decipher the message that the author is attempting to convey.

Thematic statements are often found within the following literary works:

  • Short, five-paragraph essays that are at least 500 words long
  • Social science research essays, particularly on topics like sociology or psychology
  • Marriage toasts, funeral speeches , and other emotionally-charged pieces of text, centered around a single theme (like love or death)
  • Stories, including personal narratives and autobiographical essays
  • Rhetorical analysis essays that explore a published author’s linguistic articulation. The use of thematic statements can help perfectly capture the author’s message without beating around the bush

As discussed previously, thematic statements aim to deliver a single idea through a simple yet impactful sentence. This “single idea” is the central message of a complete body of text (like a story or essay).

Thematic statements are interchangeable with thesis statements when employed within thematic essays. However, this is the exception, not the rule. In most literary works, thematic statements are different from thesis statements. Both statements may be interrelated yet express their ideas through differing sentence structures. Unlike their thematic counterparts, we structure thesis statements as arguments containing multiple points of interest.

For example, suppose you are writing an essay on climate change. Climate change is the essay’s primary theme or thematic idea. Hence, your thematic statement will stem from it. Your thesis statement will also refer to climate change. However, it may also talk about other ideas relevant to climate change. These ideas will vary depending on what stance your essay takes on the matter of climate change, of course.

Here’s what a thematic statement for an essay on climate change may look like:

“Climate change is harmful to the environment.”

A thesis statement concerning the same topic may look like this:

“Climate change is harmful to the environment because it is raising sea levels, causing global warming, and depleting Earth’s flora and fauna.” This statement is arguable, not factual. It can be debated and proven or disproven using evidence.

On the other hand, thematic statements are simple factual sentences and undebatable facts. For example, the theme for a story like Romeo and Juliet is love. The thematic statement developed from this theme could be “love comes with a high price.” By connecting the theme, or thematic idea , to a lesson, we can successfully portray a complete message to the reader. This message encapsulates the core idea running through the entire story.

A story’s theme and the topic may share common ground, but they are not the same. Themes are single words that capture the story or essay’s essence. For example, we know that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet explores the theme of love. It also explores the theme of rivalry.

However, anyone who has read Romeo and Juliet knows that the topic is not love or rivalry. Instead, we can say the topic is “two young people belonging to rival families find love, only to suffer at its hands.” Notice how topics are complete sentences, whereas themes are standalone words.

A topic sentence may cite the story’s primary themes but goes a step further by exploring the plot, too. Topic statements are a tool to help better illustrate how a specific theme plays out within a story or essay. Hence, we see that theme and topic are not the same. However, they most certainly are interconnected.

Thematic statements come from thematic ideas. Therefore, before you start penning a thematic statement, you must first identify your essay’s central theme or main idea. You can do so by referring to your essay’s title.

Suppose your thematic idea is love. Now that you’ve got your theme down move on to uncovering the theme assertion.

“Theme assertion” refers to the text’s central message. What lesson can we learn from reading a specific literary work, and how does this lesson relate to the thematic idea?

The thematic assertion is decided by the story or essay’s original author. A reader can only spot it. We can do so by exploring the author’s thoughts. For example, within Romeo and Juliet, we see Shakespeare imply that love (theme) has unintended negative consequences (assertion).

Combining the theme and assertion can yield a complete thematic statement. But if you’d like to take things further, you can always add a ‘qualifying clause.’

Qualifying clauses are optional. You can add them after a thematic assertion to further define the thematic statement.

Let’s take the example of Romeo and Juliet again:

Love (theme) has unintended negative consequences (assertion) that cannot be denied (qualifying clause).

Notice how the qualifying clause adds to the overall thematic statement. However, if you wrote the qualifying clause on its own, it would not make any sense as a standalone sentence. Yet, when meshed with a theme and assertion, it can help create a well-rounded statement.

Here’s a quick summary of other ways to identify themes:

  • Pay attention to the plot: Write down the main elements of the work like, plot, the tone of the story, language style, characters traits. Were there any conflicts? What was the most important moment of the story? What was the main character’s goal? What was the author’s resolution for the conflict? How did the story end?
  • Identify the literary subject: If you had to tell someone about the book, how would you describe it to them?
  • Who is the protagonist: Plainly put, who is the hero or the ‘good guy’? How did the character develop and grow throughout the plot? What was the character’s effect on all the other people around him? How did he/she impact the other characters? How does this character relate to the others?

Assess the author’s point of view: What was the author’s view on the characters and how they made choices? What message could the author be trying to send us? This message is the theme. Find clues in quotes from the main characters, language use, the final resolution of the main conflict.

Thematic statements aren’t overly complicated. However, being human, there is always room for error.

Keep an eye out for the following mistakes when penning thematic statements:

  • Remember to mention the story or essay’s central theme within the thematic statement.
  • Avoid summarizing the literary work – that’s what topic sentences are for!
  • Stay away from absolute terms like “always.”
  • Overgeneralization is unnecessary and distracts from the main idea.
  • Do not say, “this story’s theme is….” Instead, weave the thematic idea’s keyword (“love”) into the thematic statement.
  • Avoid metaphors, complicated idioms, and flowery language.
  • Don’t beat about the bush.
  • Stay away from cliché statements and trendy slogans or chants.
  • Qualifying clauses are not compulsory. Only use them if you feel they’ll improve your writing without complicating it.

You can successfully pen a striking thematic statement by avoiding these common writing mistakes.

Examples of Themes

There are many great literary theme examples of love that have developed through the ages, one of the most famous ones being, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet of course. Theme: A tragic tale of forbidden love with terrible consequences.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is yet another classic example that explores the type of love that grows slowly where there was once dislike and misunderstanding.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte explores love in a completely different light, highlighting the way its intensity and power disrupt and even destroy lives.

The book thief by Marcus Zusak is narrated by death itself, exploring his role in taking lives in setting Germany in World War 2.

The Fault in Our Stars features teenagers who come to terms with the grave reality of death while coming to terms with their terminal illness.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien displays the battle of good versus evil quite clearly in its tale of hobbits, elves and men teaming up to defeat the power hungry Sauron and his armies of dark creatures.

The Stand by Stephen King features the light versus dark dichotomy. Staging a battle between good and evil through the characters of Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet book

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the tragic tale of a character seeking power for his own sake, and dealing with the consequences of his own self minded ambition.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is another iconic classic exploration of power and corruption, an allegorical story about a group of animals who rise up against their human masters with increasingly sinister results.

Lord of the flies by William Golding focuses on a group of young boys stuck on a deserted island, chronicling their attempts to survive and govern themselves.

Room by Emma Donoghue tells a different story of survival as that of a woman who has been held captive for seven years and her five-year-old son who doesn’t know a normal life outside of the room that they are held captive in.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger follows a sixteen-year-old boy dealing with teenage angst and rebellion in the 1950s.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is the story of a teenager named Charlie navigating all the challenges that come with the time between adolescence and adulthood.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is noted as one of the most famous explorations of prejudice and racism. A white lawyer Atticus Finch is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of rape. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly explores prejudice and fear of the unknown throughout the story of Dr. Frankenstein and the ‘monster’ he created.

Examples of Thematic Statements

Now that we’ve gone over the guidelines associated with writing a thematic statement, let’s explore some theme sentence examples:

  • Love can heighten our sense of courage.
  • Loving ourselves can heal our emotional scars, even if it takes time.
  • Love is more powerful than infatuation.
  • Accepting our true selves can help us lead happier lives.
  • Our identity is crafted from personal experiences.
  • Believing in ourselves can help us achieve the impossible.
  • Fear is a state of mind.
  • We can overcome fear through strong faith.
  • Fear is an inevitable emotion.
  • All humans experience fear.
  • We should embrace death as an inevitable fact of life.
  • Nobody can evade death.
  • Seeing their loved ones die makes people sad.
  • Healthy relationships are built on trust.
  • To achieve success, we must trust our gut instinct.
  • Not everyone deserves to be trusted.
  • We should choose who to trust with care.

Pay attention to how each statement covers only a single idea relating to one theme. This is a trademark rule with thematic statements. It helps them remain simple, unwinding, and direct.

Learning about thematic statements is an essential part of every writer’s journey. Storybook authors, in particular, should be well-aware of thematic statements and their undeniable importance.

A quality thematic statement can make your story much easier to understand. That’s because a thematic statement stems from the story’s central or thematic idea and captures the story’s true essence. Hence, thematic statements are incomplete without discussing the literary work’s primary theme.

Thematic statements should not be confused with thesis statements. Both are important in their own right, yet neither one can replace the other. Thematic statements are factual, whereas thesis statements explore arguments that can be disproven with relevant evidence.

Thesis statements seldom exist within stories. Instead, they are a characteristic of formal essays, particularly argumentative ones. However, to truly understand the essence of a story , one must first learn to understand the nature of thematic statements.

A story or essay’s theme is also strikingly different from its topic. Thematic ideas (themes) are typically single words. On the other hand, topics are illustrated through multiple words. As a result, we often see topic sentences and single-worded themes.

The best thematic statements reference a single theme. After identifying the story’s theme, these statements build upon a lesson or message relating to said theme. This thematic idea keyword (for example, love or death) must appear within the thematic statement.

Thematic statements must also contain a thematic assertion. A thematic assertion is essentially an explanation, lesson, or central message the story conveys.

A single thematic idea and assertion are enough to create a complete thematic statement. However, some people prefer adding an optional qualifying clause, too. After adding the clause, you’re left with a comprehensive, well-rounded thematic statement.

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Novel Factory

Thematic Statement: Love and friendship always triumph over evil

Themes: Love, friendship, family, belonging, social inequality

Topic (premise) : A boy wizard joins a magical school and has to battle the greatest wizard who ever lived.

The Hunger Games

Thematic Statement: Survival is not enough without control over your own destiny

Themes: Control, power, loyalty, social inequality, love

Topic (premise): A girl is forced to take part in a televised fight to the death.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Thematic Statement: Sexist attitudes have consequences

Themes: Gender roles, power, rebellion, the place of an individual in society, the power of language

Topic (premise): After fertility in the human race crashes, women’s rights are revoked and they are forced to live as no more than breeding vessels.

Why Use a Thematic Statement?

In Story , Robert McKee calls a thematic statement the “central” or “ controlling story idea ,” the idea that guides you in writing your entire novel. It shapes the strategic choices you make as you write.

If used skillfully, a thematic statement will make the story feel deeper, and touch readers on an emotional level. It may even change how they view the world and how they behave.

One of the main themes in the Godfather, for example, is that as power shifts, it changes people.

This thematic statement is illustrated first by how Don Corleone changes from a nearly omnipotent crime boss to a devoted grandfather, and later, how reluctant Michael resigns himself to his position and becomes more ruthless.

Without this consistent, underlying theme, the Godfather stories would not be nearly as powerful or as memorable.

Do’s and Don’ts For Writing a Thematic Statement

Some authors might start writing with a thematic statement already in mind, but that’s probably rare.

It’s more likely that you will have a more general idea of themes you might want to explore.

But most writers start with something more solid, like an idea for a character and the conflicts they will face.

It’s natural to write your first draft without putting too much thought into themes or the Thematic Statement.

Then, when you read through your first draft, you’ll see concepts emerge, and at that point, you might want to decide what your Thematic Statement is – or what you would like it to be.

Then you can refine it by following the dos and don’ts here:

Do: Base it on Universal Themes

Starting with themes that touch us all, such as love, loyalty and freedom, is likely to lead you to a thematic statement that resonates with your readers.

If your Thematic Statement applies to quite specific themes or groups of people, it may not resonate with so many people.

For example

  • Eating shellfish will lead to poor health
  • The fabulously wealthy are often misunderstood
  • Taking away people’s guns is akin to taking away their freedom

Don’t: Turn it Into a Moral Directive

A Thematic Statement is an assertion, or observation – it is not advice. It should not be telling people how to behave.

So avoid things like:

  • Always tell the truth
  • Live for today because tomorrow might never come
  • You should be kind to old people

Do: Use Consequences to Illustrate Your Thematic Statement

A skilled writer will never use a character as their mouthpiece, and have them outright state the thematic statement.

But through the choices the character faces, the decisions they make and the consequences they endure – the assertion of the thematic statement should be driven home.

For example, taking this Thematic Statement:

Survival is not enough without control over your own destiny

Katniss repeatedly chooses the things that are important to her over her own safety and survival: from volunteering for a death match in order to protect her sister, to choosing to eat poison berries rather than murder her friend.

Don’t: Refer to the Specifics of Your Story

A Thematic Statement should be something that could be transplanted and applied to another novel.

  • Harry learns the importance of friendship and loyalty
  • A girl in a dystopian future chooses death over obedience

Keep it universal.

Do: Analyse Thematic Statements of Other Works

One of the best ways to learn anything is to study the greats. So take some of your favourite books or movies and try to work out what Thematic Statement the writer had in mind.

See if you can find evidence in the behaviour of the characters and the results of their actions, which support your analysis.

Here’s a good guide to working out the Thematic Statement of a novel:

  • Pick the main topic addressed in the story
  • Pinpoint the author’s view on the topic
  • Format that perspective using a theme statement template

Don’t: Use Trite Cliches

The best Thematic Statements are unique and interesting philosophical ideas.

Using cliches such as ‘crime never pays’ or ‘love conquers all’ as the guiding controlling story idea, will likely result in a story that is just as cliche.

Do: Be Consistent

Once you have your Thematic Statement, make sure everything in your novel supports it.

This could include the behaviour of your main characters and sub characters, how the settings are conveyed, and the events that take place.

A good way to tell whether you’ve got a Thematic Statement or something else, is to put ‘The Author believes’ in front of it.

So this is okay:

  • The author believes that love and friendship always triumph over evil

But these don’t make sense:

  • The author believes Harry learns the importance of friendship and loyalty
  • The author believes always tell the truth

It’s not foolproof, but it’s a handy rule of thumb.

9 Thematic Statement Examples

Here are some more examples of thematic statements:

  • Humans are not fixed personalities but a set of constantly changing contradictions
  • Valuing wealth over family will lead to misery
  • Isolation leads to madness
  • No matter people’s culture we are all the same at heart
  • True love is built over time and shared experience
  • The family we choose can be more loyal than those we are born with
  • Love taken to extremes can become dangerous
  • Having a true friend can help you survive the worst atrocities
  • Only by releasing judgement of others can we find inner peace

More examples of Thematic Statements can be found here .

Use a Thematic Statement to Write a More Compelling Story

Thematic Statement

If you can get to grips with Thematic Statements and learn how to apply them effectively in your writing, then you have a very powerful tool for ensuring your stories resonate with readers and stay with them long after they’ve finished reading.

But at the end of the day, they are art, not mathematics, so if the statement that helps you write doesn’t exactly follow the rules above — don’t get too hung up on the details. If it works for you, then it works.

And not all novels need to express a unique, thought provoking philosophy. When it comes to genre novels in particular, they may express Thematic Statements that are common and often repeated. They can still be perfectly effective novels that readers enjoy.

So take a look at your own stories and see if you can identify the Thematic Statement.

Are there tweaks you can make to the story to make it even more consistent and powerful?

Or if you don’t have a Thematic Statement, could working to one make your novel more compelling?

And don’t forget to take a closer look at some of your favourite stories and try to work out what key message the author is trying to express.

Happy writing!

And then, as your next step, check out the novel writing roadmap .

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How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

purpose of thematic thesis statement

What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of a thesis statement, writing a good thesis statement: 4 steps, common pitfalls to avoid, where to get your essay edited for free.

When you set out to write an essay, there has to be some kind of point to it, right? Otherwise, your essay would just be a big jumble of word salad that makes absolutely no sense. An essay needs a central point that ties into everything else. That main point is called a thesis statement, and it’s the core of any essay or research paper.

You may hear about Master degree candidates writing a thesis, and that is an entire paper–not to be confused with the thesis statement, which is typically one sentence that contains your paper’s focus. 

Read on to learn more about thesis statements and how to write them. We’ve also included some solid examples for you to reference.

Typically the last sentence of your introductory paragraph, the thesis statement serves as the roadmap for your essay. When your reader gets to the thesis statement, they should have a clear outline of your main point, as well as the information you’ll be presenting in order to either prove or support your point. 

The thesis statement should not be confused for a topic sentence , which is the first sentence of every paragraph in your essay. If you need help writing topic sentences, numerous resources are available. Topic sentences should go along with your thesis statement, though.

Since the thesis statement is the most important sentence of your entire essay or paper, it’s imperative that you get this part right. Otherwise, your paper will not have a good flow and will seem disjointed. That’s why it’s vital not to rush through developing one. It’s a methodical process with steps that you need to follow in order to create the best thesis statement possible.

Step 1: Decide what kind of paper you’re writing

When you’re assigned an essay, there are several different types you may get. Argumentative essays are designed to get the reader to agree with you on a topic. Informative or expository essays present information to the reader. Analytical essays offer up a point and then expand on it by analyzing relevant information. Thesis statements can look and sound different based on the type of paper you’re writing. For example:

  • Argumentative: The United States needs a viable third political party to decrease bipartisanship, increase options, and help reduce corruption in government.
  • Informative: The Libertarian party has thrown off elections before by gaining enough support in states to get on the ballot and by taking away crucial votes from candidates.
  • Analytical: An analysis of past presidential elections shows that while third party votes may have been the minority, they did affect the outcome of the elections in 2020, 2016, and beyond.

Step 2: Figure out what point you want to make

Once you know what type of paper you’re writing, you then need to figure out the point you want to make with your thesis statement, and subsequently, your paper. In other words, you need to decide to answer a question about something, such as:

  • What impact did reality TV have on American society?
  • How has the musical Hamilton affected perception of American history?
  • Why do I want to major in [chosen major here]?

If you have an argumentative essay, then you will be writing about an opinion. To make it easier, you may want to choose an opinion that you feel passionate about so that you’re writing about something that interests you. For example, if you have an interest in preserving the environment, you may want to choose a topic that relates to that. 

If you’re writing your college essay and they ask why you want to attend that school, you may want to have a main point and back it up with information, something along the lines of:

“Attending Harvard University would benefit me both academically and professionally, as it would give me a strong knowledge base upon which to build my career, develop my network, and hopefully give me an advantage in my chosen field.”

Step 3: Determine what information you’ll use to back up your point

Once you have the point you want to make, you need to figure out how you plan to back it up throughout the rest of your essay. Without this information, it will be hard to either prove or argue the main point of your thesis statement. If you decide to write about the Hamilton example, you may decide to address any falsehoods that the writer put into the musical, such as:

“The musical Hamilton, while accurate in many ways, leaves out key parts of American history, presents a nationalist view of founding fathers, and downplays the racism of the times.”

Once you’ve written your initial working thesis statement, you’ll then need to get information to back that up. For example, the musical completely leaves out Benjamin Franklin, portrays the founding fathers in a nationalist way that is too complimentary, and shows Hamilton as a staunch abolitionist despite the fact that his family likely did own slaves. 

Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing

Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and that you feel like you can truly write a paper on the topic. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin writing your paper.

When writing a thesis statement, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid so that your paper can be as solid as possible. Make sure you always edit the thesis statement before you do anything else. You also want to ensure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Don’t make your reader hunt for your point. Finally, put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph and have your introduction flow toward that statement. Your reader will expect to find your statement in its traditional spot.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or need some guidance on your essay, there are tools available that can help you. CollegeVine offers a free peer essay review tool where one of your peers can read through your essay and provide you with valuable feedback. Getting essay feedback from a peer can help you wow your instructor or college admissions officer with an impactful essay that effectively illustrates your point.

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purpose of thematic thesis statement

purpose of thematic thesis statement

How to Write a Thematic Essay

purpose of thematic thesis statement

A thematic essay explores a central message or theme that runs through a piece of literature, a historical event, or even a societal trend. It analyzes evidence like characters' actions, plot development, or real-world examples to explain how this matter is revealed and unpack its significance, showing a deeper understanding of the subject at hand.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what is a thematic essay :

  • Analyzes a central message (theme) in a text.
  • Explains how the text explores that theme.
  • Uses evidence (quotes, details) to support your analysis.
  • Shows how the evidence connects to the overall theme.

If you’re having trouble with this type of assignment, feel free to use our paper writing service and streamline the process.

Dissecting a text's central message and how it unfolds can be a rewarding challenge. Here's a step-by-step breakdown to conquer your next thematic essay:

🔢 Step 📝 Description
1. Decipher the Prompt Carefully read the prompt. Identify the specific text and theme you'll be analyzing.
2. Brainstorm & Unpack the Theme Jot down ideas related to the theme. What message does the text convey?
3. Craft Your Thesis Statement Formulate a clear, concise statement that unveils how the text explores the theme.
4. Gather Evidence Hunt for quotes, details, and examples from the text that illustrate the theme.
5. Build Your Outline Structure your essay with an introduction, body paragraphs (each focusing on a specific point related to the theme), and a conclusion.
6. Write a Compelling Introduction Grab the reader's attention with a hook, introduce the text and theme, and present your thesis statement.
7. Construct Strong Body Paragraphs Each paragraph should focus on one point related to the theme. Use evidence from the text (quotes, examples) to support your analysis. Explain how the evidence connects to your thesis statement.
8. Craft a Cohesive Conclusion Summarize your main points, restate your thesis in a new way, and leave the reader with a final thought.
9. Proofread & Revise Polish your essay by checking for grammar mistakes, clarity, and ensuring smooth transitions between paragraphs.

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Thematic Essay Checklist

  • State a focused main argument about the theme.
  • Hook the reader and introduce the theme.
  • Begin each with a clear topic sentence related to the theme.
  • Use specific examples, quotes, or facts.
  • Explain how the evidence supports the thesis.
  • Link analysis back to the central theme throughout.
  • Ensure paragraphs and ideas progress logically.
  • Summarize key points and restate the thesis.
  • Check for clarity, coherence, and grammar.
  • Properly cite sources used.

How to Pick a Thematic Topic

A crucial aspect of writing a good thematic essay is choosing a theme. Follow the hints listed below to help you create a thematic topic:

💡Brainstorming Tips 📝Description
🧠Brainstorm From Your Own Experiences. Recall what you were talking about in class, with your mates or parents. Do some of these conversations remind you of some book, novel or another piece of literature?
💡Write Down Every Idea That Comes to Mind. Sometimes, your most absurd ideas are the best way to go.
📚List Your Favorite Literature Pieces. Which literature piece was the most touching for you? Try to analyze the subject and problems the author built upon within the story; it might help you come up with your own ideas.
🔍Look at the Details of Other Literature Pieces. You might find some interesting details within other literature that can help you develop your theme.

Thematic Essay Topics

  • Star-Crossed Fate: Destiny in "Romeo and Juliet"
  • Gatsby's Illusion: The Mirage of the American Dream
  • Thoreau's Call to Action: Civil Disobedience and Its Echoes
  • Grit and Grind: Industrial Strife in "Hard Times"
  • Monster or Man? Isolation in "Frankenstein"
  • Voices of Change: The Civil Rights Movement Unveiled
  • Big Brother's Watch: Propaganda in "1984"
  • Silent Scars: The Aftermath of War in "All Quiet on the Western Front"
  • Pride, Prejudice, and Power: Women in Austen's World
  • Cultural Cracks: Colonialism in "Things Fall Apart"
  • Echoes of Justice: Moral Struggles in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • Surviving Hard Times: Life During the Great Depression
  • Invisible Chains: Identity in "Invisible Man"
  • Worlds Apart: Control and Conformity in "Brave New World"
  • Chains of Oppression: Freedom in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
  • Hester's Burden: Sin and Redemption in "The Scarlet Letter"
  • Wired Society: The Tech Revolution's Impact
  • Vengeance and Virtue: The Journey in "The Count of Monte Cristo"
  • Island Power Struggles: Leadership in "Lord of the Flies"
  • Dreams of Freedom: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Enduring Impact

How to Start a Thematic Essay

Every strong essay starts with a captivating introduction. For a thematic essay, this introduction should:

  • Hook the reader: Grab their attention with a thought-provoking question, a relevant quote, or an interesting anecdote related to the theme.
  • Introduce the topic: Briefly mention the literary work you'll be analyzing.
  • State the theme: Clearly identify the central theme you'll be exploring.
  • Preview the analysis: Briefly hint at how the theme is developed in the work.
🔍Part of Introduction 📝Explanation 📖Example
🎣Hook Grab attention with a question, quote, or anecdote "Is revenge ever truly justified?"
📚Introduce Topic Briefly mention the literary work " William Shakespeare's play Hamlet..."
🎭State Theme Identify the central theme "...the play explores the theme of betrayal and its devastating consequences..."
🔍Preview Analysis Briefly hint at how the theme is developed "...through the actions of Hamlet, Claudius, and other characters..."

Here's an example of a thematic essay introduction:

“Have you ever wondered why some stories keep coming back to the idea of forgiveness? In Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird , the seemingly simple town of Maycomb grapples with racial injustice. However, beneath the surface lies a powerful exploration of the theme of forgiveness, where characters must confront their own prejudices and learn to let go of resentment. This essay will analyze how Lee uses character interactions, symbolism, and the trial of Tom Robinson to demonstrate the transformative power of forgiveness.”

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Thematic Essay Outline

A thematic essay structure has several key components. Primarily, it should be five paragraphs or more, depending on the depth of the theme. Next, it should have a concrete thesis statement, which is the thematic statement that comes from the main subject.

The introduction presents the reader with the subject and the thesis statement. The body paragraphs each discuss one literary element or more to defend the validity of your thesis, all the while providing many supporting details from the text itself. 

Lastly, the thematic essay conclusion summarizes the main points presented and finishes off with a statement of significance.

Learn more: How to create a winning outline .


The thematic essay introduction presents the main subject of discussion captivatingly. The first sentence of the intro should be a hook statement that makes some intriguing claims about the subject of discussion. If done correctly, this will grab your reader's attention. 

Then, provide any necessary background information from the literature to help the audience understand your claims later. Lastly, put together a well-thought-out thesis statement that reflects the novel's central theme.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs follow a thematic essay format. Since each body paragraph’s purpose should be to present a literary device as evidence, the topic sentence should introduce the claim and gateway into the evidence. Every topic sentence must mention a literary device and its relationship to the literature.

Afterward, to validate your claim, use examples from the book that strengthen the reasoning of your statement. These can be actions from the plot or quotations parallel with the central theme. Explaining how the action/quote links back to your thesis statement is imperative, as it shows that you can support your logic.

Remember : Each claim must use a literary device. It can not just be a random moment or inference. Thematic essays are all about proving thesis statements through critical literary devices.

The thematic essay conclusion has three main objectives before wrapping up the paper. It should not present any new information or facts but summarize the information already given. First of all, restate your thesis statement in a new way. 

Then, summarize the central claims you made within the body of your paper and their influence on the thesis statement. To finish off the entire work, present an overall concluding statement with a global analysis of the subject. Leave your reader with another hook, making him/her interested in digging deeper into the topic.

Learn more: Poetry analysis essay . 

Try also read an article on poetry analysis essay , it could be useful and can give you new insights.

Thematic Essay Example

The best way to familiarize yourself with this type of writing is to learn from thematic essay examples.

Wrap Things Up

Thematic essays are a powerful tool for students. They unlock deeper meaning in texts, sharpen critical thinking and analytical skills, and build strong writing foundations.

Before submitting your thematic essay, cross off all these items from the to-do list.

Learn more: Jem Finch character traits .

Need Help with a Thematic Essay?

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What Is a Thematic Essay?

How to write a thematic essay, what is the main point of a thematic essay.

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

purpose of thematic thesis statement

  • Updated writing steps.
  • Added new topics.
  • Added a new example.
  • Added a checklist.
  • Thematic Essay - Regents Exam Rubric  | New Visions - Social Studies. (n.d.). New Visions - Social Studies.
  • How to Structure Your Essay Introduction | Essay Writing Part 2. (2023, October 31). Matrix Education.  

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Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

Basics of thesis statements.

The thesis statement is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You might hear it referred to as simply a "thesis." Every scholarly paper should have a thesis statement, and strong thesis statements are concise, specific, and arguable. Concise means the thesis is short: perhaps one or two sentences for a shorter paper. Specific means the thesis deals with a narrow and focused topic, appropriate to the paper's length. Arguable means that a scholar in your field could disagree (or perhaps already has!).

Strong thesis statements address specific intellectual questions, have clear positions, and use a structure that reflects the overall structure of the paper. Read on to learn more about constructing a strong thesis statement.

Being Specific

This thesis statement has no specific argument:

Needs Improvement: In this essay, I will examine two scholarly articles to find similarities and differences.

This statement is concise, but it is neither specific nor arguable—a reader might wonder, "Which scholarly articles? What is the topic of this paper? What field is the author writing in?" Additionally, the purpose of the paper—to "examine…to find similarities and differences" is not of a scholarly level. Identifying similarities and differences is a good first step, but strong academic argument goes further, analyzing what those similarities and differences might mean or imply.

Better: In this essay, I will argue that Bowler's (2003) autocratic management style, when coupled with Smith's (2007) theory of social cognition, can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover.

The new revision here is still concise, as well as specific and arguable.  We can see that it is specific because the writer is mentioning (a) concrete ideas and (b) exact authors.  We can also gather the field (business) and the topic (management and employee turnover). The statement is arguable because the student goes beyond merely comparing; he or she draws conclusions from that comparison ("can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover").

Making a Unique Argument

This thesis draft repeats the language of the writing prompt without making a unique argument:

Needs Improvement: The purpose of this essay is to monitor, assess, and evaluate an educational program for its strengths and weaknesses. Then, I will provide suggestions for improvement.

You can see here that the student has simply stated the paper's assignment, without articulating specifically how he or she will address it. The student can correct this error simply by phrasing the thesis statement as a specific answer to the assignment prompt.

Better: Through a series of student interviews, I found that Kennedy High School's antibullying program was ineffective. In order to address issues of conflict between students, I argue that Kennedy High School should embrace policies outlined by the California Department of Education (2010).

Words like "ineffective" and "argue" show here that the student has clearly thought through the assignment and analyzed the material; he or she is putting forth a specific and debatable position. The concrete information ("student interviews," "antibullying") further prepares the reader for the body of the paper and demonstrates how the student has addressed the assignment prompt without just restating that language.

Creating a Debate

This thesis statement includes only obvious fact or plot summary instead of argument:

Needs Improvement: Leadership is an important quality in nurse educators.

A good strategy to determine if your thesis statement is too broad (and therefore, not arguable) is to ask yourself, "Would a scholar in my field disagree with this point?" Here, we can see easily that no scholar is likely to argue that leadership is an unimportant quality in nurse educators.  The student needs to come up with a more arguable claim, and probably a narrower one; remember that a short paper needs a more focused topic than a dissertation.

Better: Roderick's (2009) theory of participatory leadership  is particularly appropriate to nurse educators working within the emergency medicine field, where students benefit most from collegial and kinesthetic learning.

Here, the student has identified a particular type of leadership ("participatory leadership"), narrowing the topic, and has made an arguable claim (this type of leadership is "appropriate" to a specific type of nurse educator). Conceivably, a scholar in the nursing field might disagree with this approach. The student's paper can now proceed, providing specific pieces of evidence to support the arguable central claim.

Choosing the Right Words

This thesis statement uses large or scholarly-sounding words that have no real substance:

Needs Improvement: Scholars should work to seize metacognitive outcomes by harnessing discipline-based networks to empower collaborative infrastructures.

There are many words in this sentence that may be buzzwords in the student's field or key terms taken from other texts, but together they do not communicate a clear, specific meaning. Sometimes students think scholarly writing means constructing complex sentences using special language, but actually it's usually a stronger choice to write clear, simple sentences. When in doubt, remember that your ideas should be complex, not your sentence structure.

Better: Ecologists should work to educate the U.S. public on conservation methods by making use of local and national green organizations to create a widespread communication plan.

Notice in the revision that the field is now clear (ecology), and the language has been made much more field-specific ("conservation methods," "green organizations"), so the reader is able to see concretely the ideas the student is communicating.

Leaving Room for Discussion

This thesis statement is not capable of development or advancement in the paper:

Needs Improvement: There are always alternatives to illegal drug use.

This sample thesis statement makes a claim, but it is not a claim that will sustain extended discussion. This claim is the type of claim that might be appropriate for the conclusion of a paper, but in the beginning of the paper, the student is left with nowhere to go. What further points can be made? If there are "always alternatives" to the problem the student is identifying, then why bother developing a paper around that claim? Ideally, a thesis statement should be complex enough to explore over the length of the entire paper.

Better: The most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may be a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy, as argued by Baker (2008), Smith (2009), and Xavier (2011).

In the revised thesis, you can see the student make a specific, debatable claim that has the potential to generate several pages' worth of discussion. When drafting a thesis statement, think about the questions your thesis statement will generate: What follow-up inquiries might a reader have? In the first example, there are almost no additional questions implied, but the revised example allows for a good deal more exploration.

Thesis Mad Libs

If you are having trouble getting started, try using the models below to generate a rough model of a thesis statement! These models are intended for drafting purposes only and should not appear in your final work.

  • In this essay, I argue ____, using ______ to assert _____.
  • While scholars have often argued ______, I argue______, because_______.
  • Through an analysis of ______, I argue ______, which is important because_______.

Words to Avoid and to Embrace

When drafting your thesis statement, avoid words like explore, investigate, learn, compile, summarize , and explain to describe the main purpose of your paper. These words imply a paper that summarizes or "reports," rather than synthesizing and analyzing.

Instead of the terms above, try words like argue, critique, question , and interrogate . These more analytical words may help you begin strongly, by articulating a specific, critical, scholarly position.

Read Kayla's blog post for tips on taking a stand in a well-crafted thesis statement.

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Thesis and Purpose Statements

Use the guidelines below to learn the differences between thesis and purpose statements.

In the first stages of writing, thesis or purpose statements are usually rough or ill-formed and are useful primarily as planning tools.

A thesis statement or purpose statement will emerge as you think and write about a topic. The statement can be restricted or clarified and eventually worked into an introduction.

As you revise your paper, try to phrase your thesis or purpose statement in a precise way so that it matches the content and organization of your paper.

Thesis statements

A thesis statement is a sentence that makes an assertion about a topic and predicts how the topic will be developed. It does not simply announce a topic: it says something about the topic.

Good: X has made a significant impact on the teenage population due to its . . . Bad: In this paper, I will discuss X.

A thesis statement makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of the paper. It summarizes the conclusions that the writer has reached about the topic.

A thesis statement is generally located near the end of the introduction. Sometimes in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or an entire paragraph.

A thesis statement is focused and specific enough to be proven within the boundaries of the paper. Key words (nouns and verbs) should be specific, accurate, and indicative of the range of research, thrust of the argument or analysis, and the organization of supporting information.

Purpose statements

A purpose statement announces the purpose, scope, and direction of the paper. It tells the reader what to expect in a paper and what the specific focus will be.

Common beginnings include:

“This paper examines . . .,” “The aim of this paper is to . . .,” and “The purpose of this essay is to . . .”

A purpose statement makes a promise to the reader about the development of the argument but does not preview the particular conclusions that the writer has drawn.

A purpose statement usually appears toward the end of the introduction. The purpose statement may be expressed in several sentences or even an entire paragraph.

A purpose statement is specific enough to satisfy the requirements of the assignment. Purpose statements are common in research papers in some academic disciplines, while in other disciplines they are considered too blunt or direct. If you are unsure about using a purpose statement, ask your instructor.

This paper will examine the ecological destruction of the Sahel preceding the drought and the causes of this disintegration of the land. The focus will be on the economic, political, and social relationships which brought about the environmental problems in the Sahel.

Sample purpose and thesis statements

The following example combines a purpose statement and a thesis statement (bold).

The goal of this paper is to examine the effects of Chile’s agrarian reform on the lives of rural peasants. The nature of the topic dictates the use of both a chronological and a comparative analysis of peasant lives at various points during the reform period. . . The Chilean reform example provides evidence that land distribution is an essential component of both the improvement of peasant conditions and the development of a democratic society. More extensive and enduring reforms would likely have allowed Chile the opportunity to further expand these horizons.

For more tips about writing thesis statements, take a look at our new handout on Developing a Thesis Statement.

purpose of thematic thesis statement

Writing Process and Structure

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Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for Your Paper

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Developing a Thesis Statement

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper



Developing Strategic Transitions


Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing


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How to write a thematic essay

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A thematic essay is a type of writing assignment that focuses on a specific theme or topic. It requires you to identify a central theme, discuss it in detail, and make connections between various facts. Your main goal is to demonstrate understanding and interpretation of the given subject matter. This type of essay is commonly used in literature classes or history exams.

If you’ve got an assignment to write a theme essay, you might wonder where you should even start from. No worries, we’ve got you covered here! The first thing you must know about this specific type of paper is that it aims to analyze a certain well-known theme and make an interesting statement about it. Here, you must explain meaning and relevance or complexity of your topic. You should summarize details that support your conclusion. In this article, we will conduct a detailed review of theme essay concept. We will also provide you a step by step guide on how to write a proper one. Let's dive right into it!  

Thematic Essay Definition

Let’s start with defining what is a thematic essay and its purpose. In this type, one should select a thesis and form unique statement related to its aspects. You should write about it, explaining or elaborating to your audience the following:

  • How is your statement related to your topic?
  • Which important or interesting aspects does it highlight?
  • What approaches and literary devices are you using for analysis ? How do you explain your general theme? This can be comparison, metaphor, personification etc.

When composing such an essay, you must formulate and defend your statement. Here, you will demonstrate abilities of analysis and literary devices usage. At least several paragraphs would be needed to display such skills properly.

Thematic Essay Outline: What's Inside

The best way to begin is creating a theme essay outline for your topic. An outline should contain all key parts, concepts and ideas of your paper. You should put it in a sketchy but logical manner. This way you'll quickly prepare a shortened version of your assignment. It will also help you in reviewing it. Adding missing points and correcting significant mistakes would be easier at this early stage. Outline should include all main essay parts:  

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Body section
  • Conclusion.

Keeping it brief, you should not provide complete sentences to describe your statements, ideas and arguments. A few words would suffice for each important point. Purpose is to make it readable for yourself! You should review it quickly and spot any inconsistencies.

How to Write a Thematic Essay Step-By-Step

Now it is time to focus on how to write a theme analysis essay – the complete text from scratch. Is your goal to impress readers and achieve a good grade? Then it is important that you create a proper essay structure template and don't lose any of your key questions! Stay methodical and keep it logical! Make sure your audience is engaged and don’t disappoint them in the end. Below we’ll provide a general idea for each step of this process.

Step 1. Define the Topic for Your Thematic Essay

When it comes to choosing among thematic essay topics, it is important that you pick an interesting and maybe even a controversial one. At the same time, make sure you can actually provide some meaningful input about it. Your assignment should impress readers with detailed analysis and its author’s writing skills. That's why your chosen topic must provide enough material for that.  There is a diverse choice of topics. Choose the one you are really interested in whether it is  Bullying essay  or  Happiness essay . If you need some ideas for great essay topics, feel free to check out our other articles.  

Step 2. Create a Thematic Essay Outline

We've already covered the main points of theme essay outline concept. When writing it, include all the main parts of your future work. Keep it as short as possible, one paragraph per each key point will be enough. It isn’t even necessary to describe everything with complete sentences! A few words would suffice. Once done, review it first and make necessary corrections. It is advised to review an outline several times. That's how any noticeable gaps or mistakes would be spotted early.

Step 3. Start a Thematic Essay with a Hook

A good thematic essay introduction ought to captivate readers right from the start. That’s why it is always advised to add some ‘hook’ into it. You can begin with an unexpected statement, use wordplay or a plot twist. Then you can explain this in the main body part. This way your audience would be interested to hear those explanations. As a result, your paper will have better chances of success. Apart from that, introduction should contain the main statement and some information about its content.  

Step 4. Write Body Paragraphs for Your Theme Essay

Goal of thematic essay body is to answer all the questions stated in an introduction. You must elaborate the meaning of each key idea. Finally, display your usage of literary devices, as we’ve specified earlier. Common practice is to use at least one paragraph per a literary device disclosure. Besides, the main body is the right place to use all relevant sources that can support your analysis or provide you with helpful analogies. Keep the main body logical, so that every paragraph is somehow connected to the previous and the next ones.  

Step 5. Create a Thematic Essay Conclusion

A strong thematic essay conclusion should highlight all important points from tyourhe essay while avoiding adding new facts or evidence. Just restate your thesis, answer all questions and summarize your arguments. It might be also useful to leave some final note for readers with some deeper analysis of your topic. You can also highlight the need for further exploration of the chosen theme and thus to prepare readers for your future works on this topic.  

Step 6. Proofread Your Thematic Analysis Essay

After completing theme essay, it is highly recommended to review it thoroughly, even several times if possible. The goal is to find mistakes and to spot logical gaps or missing details. Even best essays typically have inconsistencies left at the early stage. Taking a fresh look at your text often reveals some issues. If possible, ask your friends or colleagues to review your text. They might notice something you could not.  

How to Format a Thematic Essay

When it comes to thematic essay format, you need to find out what are the requirements in your assignment or which format is common in the institution you will be presenting your essay for. In case no special requirements were made for you, just choose one of the most popular formats for scholarly papers:  

  • APA paper format : typically used in natural sciences, education and psychology fields
  • MLA: typically used for works in humanities
  • Chicago: typically used in business, history, and fine arts fields.

Thematic Essay Example

Let’s illustrate the explanations above with a few theme essay examples. We’ll provide some real ones here so that your every question would be answered. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in these examples for your own winning paper! The examples can be found below. Please scroll down to find them.  


Thematic Essay: Final Thoughts

In this article we have explored the theme essay concept in detail. Its central purpose and main definition were examined and a step by step guide for writing a strong one was suggested. We’ve also provided a few working examples for your convenience. Hopefully, all this information will be useful for your scholarly endeavors!


Feel free to check out our  paper writing services ! We’ve got a team of skilled writers with expertise in different literary areas, ready to help you. They deliver high quality content, always on time.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Theme Essay

1. what is the thematic statement.

A thematic statement typically takes the place of a thesis in a thematic essay. It consists of 1-2 complete sentences that express a theme which you have chosen for your work. This statement must convey the main message and also show what analysis will be done. It should be brief however as most of the details are to be provided in the main body.

2. What is the goal of thematic essay?

The thematic essay goal is to express an idea or some insights about the surrounding world and to change readers' minds about certain issues. As an author, you are expected to illustrate the team, provide all necessary explanations and conduct an analysis if needed. Besides, you typically should demonstrate familiarity with some literary interpretations and methods which are used to examine your theme.

3. How long should a theme essay be?

The minimum length of a theme essay is five paragraphs. One is for introduction, one for conclusion and remaining three for the main body. Of course, it can be more than that, depending on the depth of the theme that was chosen. The main rule is to keep your essay logical and concise, avoiding adding too many details. Otherwise your audience might get tired and the effect produced by your writing would be damaged.

4. What is a thematic essay history?

Thematic essay (history class) should be written to analyze some historical facts or significance of specific literary pieces. A typical case is examining different aspects of a controversial leader from the past or a political event that has produced a number of various important consequences. Or you might argue about a specific role of a certain book during a certain period or its influence on different nations or cultural groups.


Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.


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Home ➔ How to Write an Essay ➔ Thematic Essay

Thematic Essay Guide

Thematic writing is a staple of high school English and college writing courses. The idea behind thematic writing is to create a piece that uses a theme to tie together different ideas or topics. Thematic writing can be used for essays, short stories, novels, and even non-fiction pieces. In academic writing, thematic essays often center on a specific issue or theme and develop that theme throughout the essay.

Thematic essays are often assigned in high school English classes and college writing courses. They are also found on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.

If you need to refresh your memory regarding general essay writing, check our detailed guide: How to Write an Essay

There are a few different literary devices that are often used in thematic writing. These devices can help create a more cohesive essay or story and can also help emphasize the theme.

One literary device that is often used in thematic writing is symbolism. Symbolism is when an object, person, or place represents something else. For example, in the novel The Great Gatsby, the character Daisy Buchanan symbolizes wealth and shallowness. In the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the black box that is used for the lottery represents tradition and the blind following of rules.

Definition and Purpose

A thematic essay is an essay that requires you to write about a particular question or theme. Thematic essays are often written in response to prompts that ask you to discuss a specific aspect of a larger topic.

The main point of a thematic essay is to show the development of a theme throughout a work of literature or to compare the way different authors or works deal with similar themes.

Essentials of a thematic essay:

  • must be focused on a central theme
  • must develop that theme with specific examples from the text(s)
  • must synthesize several elements of the text(s), including plot, character, setting, style, tone, etc.
  • must not be a mere plot summary
  • must use evidence from the text(s) to support your argument
  • must be well organized, with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion

If you want to learn more about essays in general, we suggest you read this guide: Essay Definition

Pre-writing stage

Before you write a thematic essay, it is important first to understand the prompt and Rubric . The prompt will ask you to write about a specific theme, such as “Justice in Othello.” The Rubric will outline the specific requirements for the essay, including things like length, formatting, and the inclusion of outside sources.

So, before writing a thematic essay, you should carefully read the prompt and think about what you want to write about. Make sure that you understand what the prompt is asking you to do.

Some tips for pre-writing:

  • Brainstorm possible themes or ideas that could be related to the prompt.
  • Choose a central theme or idea you are interested in and think you can write about persuasively.
  • Come up with specific examples from the text(s) that you can use to support your argument.
  • Make a list of the different ways that the overall significance of the theme or idea can be developed.
  • Decide on the main point you want to make about the theme or idea.
  • Organize your thoughts and develop a thesis statement.

Analyzing the prompt and developing a thesis statement

To write a thematic essay, you need to analyze the prompt first. You will need to identify the task that the prompt is asking you to do, and you will need to identify the main idea of the passage.

For example, a prompt might ask you to write about the use of symbols in a work of literature. To answer this prompt, you would need to identify the different ways that symbols are used in the text. You also need to determine what the author is trying to communicate using symbols.

Literary theme analysis prompt example ( TKAM ):

How does Harper Lee use the symbol of the mockingbird to explore the theme of innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird?

When analyzing this prompt, consider what the mockingbird symbolizes in the novel and how this relates to the larger theme of innocence. You might discuss specific characters who embody innocence, such as Scout or Atticus, and how the events of the novel impact them. You might also discuss the impact of innocence on the town of Maycomb as a whole.

One example of how Harper Lee uses the symbol of the mockingbird to explore the theme of innocence is through the character of Scout. Scout is a young girl who is innocent and naive in many ways. She does not understand the prejudice and hatred that exists in her community. However, she can also see the good in people, even when they are not perfect. The mockingbird symbolizes this innocence.

Your thesis statement can look something like this:

The symbol of the mockingbird in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is used to represent the innocence of characters like Scout and Atticus, as well as the innocence of the town of Maycomb as a whole.

Other examples of thematic essay topics:

  • The Catcher in the Rye: How does J.D. Salinger use the character of Holden Caulfield to explore the theme of teenage angst and rebellion?
  • Heart of Darkness: How does Joseph Conrad use the character of Kurtz to explore the theme of colonialism and its effects on the human psyche?
  • All Summer in a Day: How does Ray Bradbury use the character of Margot to explore the theme of bullying and its effects on victims?
  • The Great Gatsby: How does F. Scott Fitzgerald use the character of Daisy Buchanan to explore the theme of the American Dream?
  • Metamorphosis: How does Franz Kafka use the character of Gregor Samsa to explore the theme of alienation?

Outlining your thematic essay

After you have analyzed the prompt and developed a thesis statement, you can begin to outline your essay .

Thematic essays usually have a standard structure and consist of five paragraphs. That typically requires you to include an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Each body paragraph should discuss a different aspect of your thesis. For example, if you need to write a thematic essay about the use of symbols in a work of literature, you might discuss how symbols represent different themes in the novel.

Your thematic essay outline might look something like this:


  • Provide a brief overview of the work of literature you will be discussing
  • Introduce the main idea or central theme that you will be discussing
  • Thesis: The symbol of the mockingbird in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is used to represent the innocence of characters like Scout and Atticus, as well as the innocence of the town of Maycomb as a whole.

Body Paragraph 1: Symbols representing innocence

  • The mockingbird symbolizes Scout’s innocence
  • The mockingbird symbolizes Atticus’ innocence
  • The mockingbird symbolizes the innocence of Maycomb

Body Paragraph 2: The loss of innocence

  • Scout loses her innocence when she witnesses the trial
  • Atticus loses his innocence when Mr. Ewell attacks him
  • Maycomb loses its innocence when Tom Robinson is convicted

Body Paragraph 3: The importance of innocence

  • Innocence is important because it allows people to see the good in others
  • Innocence is important because it allows people to hope for a better future
  • Innocence is important because it allows people to see the world in a more positive light


  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Discuss the larger implications of your thesis statement
  • Leave the reader with something to think about

You can also dedicate each body paragraph to one specific character or one specific event in the novel.

For example, you might discuss how Scout’s innocence is represented by the mockingbird symbol and how this innocence is lost when she witnesses the trial. In your second body paragraph, you could discuss how Atticus’ innocence is represented by the mockingbird symbol and how this innocence is lost when he is attacked by Mr. Ewell. In your third body paragraph, you might discuss how the innocence of Maycomb is represented by the mockingbird symbol and how this innocence is lost when Tom Robinson is convicted.

Writing the thematic essay

Once you have developed a clear thesis statement and created a thematic essay outline, you can begin writing. We complement each section with a thematic essay example part to better illustrate how it can look.


The introduction of your thematic essay should briefly state what you will be discussing in your paper and provide background information. The introduction should also include your thesis statement, which is the main argument of your paper, at the end.

At the very start, you can also use a hook to grab the reader’s attention . A hook is usually a sentence or two that draws the reader in and piques their interest.

Introduction example of a thematic essay:

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” This quote, spoken by Atticus Finch, perfectly encapsulates the symbol of the mockingbird in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a novel about the loss of innocence. The symbol of the mockingbird is used to represent the innocence of characters like Scout and Atticus, as well as the innocence of the town of Maycomb as a whole. The loss of innocence is an important theme in the novel, and it is represented in the characters of Scout, Atticus, and Maycomb.

Body paragraphs

Your body paragraphs should each be dedicated to one specific character or event in the novel and start with a topic sentence . After the topic sentence, you should use evidence to support it. You must analyze the evidence, not just merely state it. Lastly, end your body paragraph with a conclusion and transition to the next section.

A thematic essay body paragraph example:

One example of the loss of innocence is Scout. When the novel begins, Scout is an innocent child who does not understand the ways of the world. “‘Don’t you ever do that again,’ I said. ‘Don’t you ever do that again, it’s bad enough having Jem tell on me without you adding to it.’” (Lee 9). Scout is chastised by her father, Atticus, for fighting with her cousin, Francis. In this quote, Scout does not understand why fighting is bad and must be scolded by Atticus. However, by the end of the novel, Scout has learned the true evil that exists in the world and has lost her innocence. “It was then that I finally understood Mrs. Dubose’s courage, not because she had won, but because she had had the courage to fight and the strength to lose.” (Lee 281). Scout has come to understand that even though Mrs. Dubose lost her battle with addiction, she was still brave for fighting it. Mrs. Dubose’s courage has taught Scout that even in the face of defeat, there is still hope. Scout has lost her innocence because she has learned that the world is not a perfect place and that people are not always good.

Check our citation guide to learn more about using quotes in essay: How to Introduce a Quote

Your concluding statement should sum up the main points of your thematic essay and rephrase your thesis (restate it in different words). You can also discuss broader implications or give your opinion on the topic, but don’t add any new information.

A conclusion example of a thematic essay:

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel about innocence—the loss of it, the destruction of it, and the fight to keep it. The characters of Scout, Atticus, and Maycomb all represent different aspects of innocence, and the novel explores how they each deal with the loss of their innocence. Scout loses innocence when she learns that the world is not perfect and people are not always good. Atticus loses his innocence when he realizes that sometimes the justice system does not work as it should. Maycomb loses its innocence when it is revealed that racism and prejudice are alive and well in the town. The loss of innocence is a sad but inevitable part of life, and To Kill a Mockingbird shows us that this loss can sometimes be for the better.

Final tips on thematic essay writing

Now that you know the main steps involved in the writing process of a decent thematic essay, here are some of the final tips and key takeaways that you should keep in mind when doing this task:

  • Make sure to brainstorm first and develop a good thesis statement that will guide the rest of your essay.
  • Create a thematic essay outline before starting to write the essay itself. This will help you stay on track and not miss any important points that you want to include.
  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the paragraph’s main point.
  • Use concrete and specific examples to support your points.
  • Pay attention to your grammar and spelling.
  • Make sure to conclude your thematic essay in a strong way that ties everything together.
  • Analyze the work, not just summarize it.
  • Take your time, and don’t rush the essay.
  • And lastly, proofread your work before submitting it.

By following these tips, you should be able to write a thematic essay that will impress your teacher or professor.

  • Solano Community College – World Literature
  • Jefferson State Community College – Literary Theme Analysis

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The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

How to Write a Thematic Essay?

06 August, 2020

12 minutes read

Author:  Kate Smith

The road to graduation from any educational institution is lined with essays and written assignments – and the majority of these happen to be thematic essays, as they are supposed to demonstrate that the students understand the topic or material well. A thematic essay is almost as old as writing is, for it focuses on investigating a topic to provide detailed analysis and evidence of why a certain claim can be made.

Thematic Essay

What is a Thematic Essay?

Although this type of essay is commonly used to analyze some historical facts or a specific literary piece and its significance, a thematic essay can be assigned on a variety of subjects. It is also a traditional classroom essay that may be a part of different exams, so students may be required to craft a thematic essay within limited time, sticking to the topic provided. This is the main reason why they consider thematic essays difficult, but whenever there’s a longer deadline and a choice of topics, the writing process is easier.

However, there’s an important thing that everyone who’s wondering ‘what is a thematic essay?’ needs to know. This type of essay mainly lets the teacher determine your knowledge of the material, and it should demonstrate your comprehension of the topic that you can back up with solid arguments and relevant examples. But proper structure is just as essential to your writing as the scope of the topic. All of the points you want to make, as well as the supporting evidence must be organized in a clear, consecutive way. If your essay lacks focus or is illogical in its organization, your readers will not be able to recognize neither the thoroughness of your research, nor the significance of your critical thinking. They might even have trouble following what evidence you found to help you arrive at a certain conclusion.

How to Find and Explore the Central Theme?

To tackle this type of essay, you often have to narrow down a topic that’s too broad before getting started on your writing. A theme is what an author portrays in a literary work, or the specific point the author is making. Often, it is the most frequently discussed one, or it is a lesson of the greatest overall significance that can be derived from the work and applied to our lives. Thus, to effectively plan out how you are going to write a thematic essay, identify the theme first. Focus on the main point the author is trying to make about a particular subject, the message he is trying to convey, why it is relevant or important at the moment, and the way the reader can benefit from it.

That’s why having a place to start and an outline to follow lays the groundwork for your thematic essay. It is the most important step in the entire essay writing process.

Thematic Essay Outline

By using an outline to shape your essay, you have a format to follow that ensures knowledge of the topic, addressing all the questions of the assignment, and keeping all of the points you want to make well-organized. A thematic essay outline lets you effectively draw parallels between different facts, formulate a coherent and detailed evaluation of the topic, and see whether something in the essay is lacking or needs to be rearranged and revised.

Some essay types may have less rigid layouts and writing requirements, allowing for more creativity and freedom when it comes to formatting. However, this is not the case with instructions on how to write a thematic essay. Just as with other traditional essays, there should be at least five paragraphs in a thematic essay, including an introduction with a thesis statement, three body paragraphs that will support your thesis with relevant arguments and examples, and a logical conclusion to wrap everything up at the end.


Generally, to write a thematic essay you need to have an idea of what your thesis will be, how your body paragraphs will prove it, and how you are going to summarize all of the arguments detailed in the body of the essay in your conclusion. The introduction has to present the main subject of your essay as well as any necessary background information and your thesis statement. At the same time, it should be interesting enough to make the reader want to learn more about the topic. The opening sentence of the introduction is often referred to as a ‘hook’ because it is supposed to grab the reader’s attention. For this purpose, it can evoke anticipation, controversy, irony, or ask a question. The thesis statement is very important because it gives your topic a direction and a specific purpose.

The thesis statement lays the ground for further analysis, for answering a specific question, asserting an opinion or explaining how and why something works (or has worked/failed to produce an expected result). Think of your thesis statement as a compelling and concise headline that gives the reader a good idea of what the rest of the paper is about and what to expect next. It should be engaging, but not confusing to your audience. Have you ever been extremely disappointed by reading an article or watching a movie because it wasn’t what the headline, magazine cover or a movie trailer promised it to be? To make sure your reader doesn’t feel like that, you want your thesis to be integral to the essay and to all of the evidence that you provide in the following body paragraphs. Quite often, a thesis statement needs a few revisions to acquire more focus and clarity as you add the body paragraphs to your thematic essay.

Body paragraphs 

While the 5-paragraph structure gives you a basic layout to work with, it should have three body paragraphs because the thesis must be supported by at least three significant arguments. However, unless the essay has a required length, you can include more supporting facts or examples. There may be more body paragraphs than just three, depending on the details of the assignment or the points you are required to address, but keep in mind that your essay should be concise and devoid of wordiness. Usually, the essay writer should focus on one point or sub-topic per paragraph, but depending on the complexity of the topic, the quantity of paragraphs for validating each claim or explaining your reasoning may vary. 

You can think of body paragraphs as building blocks that include expert quotes or specific examples to add weight to them, as well as to your arguments. This is the ‘meat of your essay’ as long as you make sure that you explain the logic behind each quotation or evidence supporting your claim, and that it is in sync with your thesis statement. Such connections are essential as they tie not only the evidence and arguments, but an entire essay together. 

The conclusion is not simply a reiterated thesis, but a reinforced one. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it should not introduce any new facts not discussed in the body of a thematic essay. The conclusion has to summarize the information presented in the essay, briefly going over the main ideas or claims and explaining how they influence your thesis. Finally, it should wrap up your essay in the most meaningful way, emphasizing the significance and relevance of your topic.

thematic essay

Thematic Essay Examples

Check the examples of thematic essays to use as writing models:

Thematic essay topics

To sum up, reading some properly structured thematic essay examples may be the most helpful tip for understanding what your essay should look like, and how to organize your thoughts into a logical sequence. Besides, a list of the most commonly used thematic essay topics is a frequent search query along with ‘thematic essay examples’, as it helps students to get an idea of what to expect at exams.

US History Thematic Essay

In this essay, there will be fewer words that address the reader. The purpose of this writing is to present a balanced analysis of a topic based on facts, explaining a topic in a logical and straightforward manner.

US History thematic essay example topics:

  • Major movements in U.S. history
  • Major advances in U.S. history
  • Significant government reforms
  • U.S. Presidents and their major decisions 
  • U.S. wars and conflicts

Global Regents Thematic Essay 

These topics are likely to feature broad concepts, but they usually include tasks and suggestions that are more specific. In your essay, you are supposed to address this detailed task and the issues, concepts or questions it prompts you to explain or interpret. Using examples from your course of global history or geography is also required in your thematic essay. 

Global Regents thematic essay example topics:

  • Impact of colonizations on world history
  • Migrations of people and their effects
  • Major characteristics of world civilizations
  • Cultures and their contributions
  • Economic Systems
  • Political Systems
  • The turning points in history (revolutions, conflicts, wars)
  • Revolutions and clashing of ideas
  • Revolutions and new discoveries
  • Scientific development
  • Technological progress
  • Human rights: impactful leaders and their ideas
  • Human rights violations

Belief Systems Thematic Essay

A belief system is a way a group or an individual regards religious or philosophical principles. The beliefs that have formed major religions or a mainstay of a civilization may be similar or different, but each belief system has influenced the lives of its followers as well as the history, culture, politics, or economy of a specific nation or country.

Belief Systems thematic essay example topics:

  • How belief systems influenced ancient civilizations?
  • How did a belief form a religion?
  • Cultures as systems of interconnections between humans
  • The role of religion in Ancient Roman society
  • The three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Judaism: the first monotheistic religion
  • The personal belief system and life values
  • Compare Christianity to another religion. Are there more similarities or differences?
  • Compare two struggles for religious freedom in different countries and time periods
  • What makes all struggles for religious freedom similar?

The bottom line

While students often have difficulties writing thematic essays, these are not the most complicated tasks to complete within a certain course or subject. They just require making a detailed examination of the topic using relevant facts, examples or other evidence that you should be able to find in order to make your arguments more solid, and to show that you have gained a thorough understanding of the topic. However, you mustn’t just summarize the well-known facts or what you have learned from a course or book. In a thematic essay, you are supposed to identify and explain or compare issues, causes, patterns, outcomes, and connections between facts or events as well as their consequences or influences.

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  • How to Do Thematic Analysis | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

How to Do Thematic Analysis | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Published on September 6, 2019 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 22, 2023.

Thematic analysis is a method of analyzing qualitative data . It is usually applied to a set of texts, such as an interview or transcripts . The researcher closely examines the data to identify common themes – topics, ideas and patterns of meaning that come up repeatedly.

There are various approaches to conducting thematic analysis, but the most common form follows a six-step process: familiarization, coding, generating themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes, and writing up. Following this process can also help you avoid confirmation bias when formulating your analysis.

This process was originally developed for psychology research by Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke . However, thematic analysis is a flexible method that can be adapted to many different kinds of research.

Table of contents

When to use thematic analysis, different approaches to thematic analysis, step 1: familiarization, step 2: coding, step 3: generating themes, step 4: reviewing themes, step 5: defining and naming themes, step 6: writing up, other interesting articles.

Thematic analysis is a good approach to research where you’re trying to find out something about people’s views, opinions, knowledge, experiences or values from a set of qualitative data – for example, interview transcripts , social media profiles, or survey responses .

Some types of research questions you might use thematic analysis to answer:

  • How do patients perceive doctors in a hospital setting?
  • What are young women’s experiences on dating sites?
  • What are non-experts’ ideas and opinions about climate change?
  • How is gender constructed in high school history teaching?

To answer any of these questions, you would collect data from a group of relevant participants and then analyze it. Thematic analysis allows you a lot of flexibility in interpreting the data, and allows you to approach large data sets more easily by sorting them into broad themes.

However, it also involves the risk of missing nuances in the data. Thematic analysis is often quite subjective and relies on the researcher’s judgement, so you have to reflect carefully on your own choices and interpretations.

Pay close attention to the data to ensure that you’re not picking up on things that are not there – or obscuring things that are.

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Once you’ve decided to use thematic analysis, there are different approaches to consider.

There’s the distinction between inductive and deductive approaches:

  • An inductive approach involves allowing the data to determine your themes.
  • A deductive approach involves coming to the data with some preconceived themes you expect to find reflected there, based on theory or existing knowledge.

Ask yourself: Does my theoretical framework give me a strong idea of what kind of themes I expect to find in the data (deductive), or am I planning to develop my own framework based on what I find (inductive)?

There’s also the distinction between a semantic and a latent approach:

  • A semantic approach involves analyzing the explicit content of the data.
  • A latent approach involves reading into the subtext and assumptions underlying the data.

Ask yourself: Am I interested in people’s stated opinions (semantic) or in what their statements reveal about their assumptions and social context (latent)?

After you’ve decided thematic analysis is the right method for analyzing your data, and you’ve thought about the approach you’re going to take, you can follow the six steps developed by Braun and Clarke .

The first step is to get to know our data. It’s important to get a thorough overview of all the data we collected before we start analyzing individual items.

This might involve transcribing audio , reading through the text and taking initial notes, and generally looking through the data to get familiar with it.

Next up, we need to code the data. Coding means highlighting sections of our text – usually phrases or sentences – and coming up with shorthand labels or “codes” to describe their content.

Let’s take a short example text. Say we’re researching perceptions of climate change among conservative voters aged 50 and up, and we have collected data through a series of interviews. An extract from one interview looks like this:

Coding qualitative data
Interview extract Codes
Personally, I’m not sure. I think the climate is changing, sure, but I don’t know why or how. People say you should trust the experts, but who’s to say they don’t have their own reasons for pushing this narrative? I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just saying there’s reasons not to 100% trust them. The facts keep changing – it used to be called global warming.

In this extract, we’ve highlighted various phrases in different colors corresponding to different codes. Each code describes the idea or feeling expressed in that part of the text.

At this stage, we want to be thorough: we go through the transcript of every interview and highlight everything that jumps out as relevant or potentially interesting. As well as highlighting all the phrases and sentences that match these codes, we can keep adding new codes as we go through the text.

After we’ve been through the text, we collate together all the data into groups identified by code. These codes allow us to gain a a condensed overview of the main points and common meanings that recur throughout the data.

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Next, we look over the codes we’ve created, identify patterns among them, and start coming up with themes.

Themes are generally broader than codes. Most of the time, you’ll combine several codes into a single theme. In our example, we might start combining codes into themes like this:

Turning codes into themes
Codes Theme
Distrust of experts

At this stage, we might decide that some of our codes are too vague or not relevant enough (for example, because they don’t appear very often in the data), so they can be discarded.

Other codes might become themes in their own right. In our example, we decided that the code “uncertainty” made sense as a theme, with some other codes incorporated into it.

Again, what we decide will vary according to what we’re trying to find out. We want to create potential themes that tell us something helpful about the data for our purposes.

Now we have to make sure that our themes are useful and accurate representations of the data. Here, we return to the data set and compare our themes against it. Are we missing anything? Are these themes really present in the data? What can we change to make our themes work better?

If we encounter problems with our themes, we might split them up, combine them, discard them or create new ones: whatever makes them more useful and accurate.

For example, we might decide upon looking through the data that “changing terminology” fits better under the “uncertainty” theme than under “distrust of experts,” since the data labelled with this code involves confusion, not necessarily distrust.

Now that you have a final list of themes, it’s time to name and define each of them.

Defining themes involves formulating exactly what we mean by each theme and figuring out how it helps us understand the data.

Naming themes involves coming up with a succinct and easily understandable name for each theme.

For example, we might look at “distrust of experts” and determine exactly who we mean by “experts” in this theme. We might decide that a better name for the theme is “distrust of authority” or “conspiracy thinking”.

Finally, we’ll write up our analysis of the data. Like all academic texts, writing up a thematic analysis requires an introduction to establish our research question, aims and approach.

We should also include a methodology section, describing how we collected the data (e.g. through semi-structured interviews or open-ended survey questions ) and explaining how we conducted the thematic analysis itself.

The results or findings section usually addresses each theme in turn. We describe how often the themes come up and what they mean, including examples from the data as evidence. Finally, our conclusion explains the main takeaways and shows how the analysis has answered our research question.

In our example, we might argue that conspiracy thinking about climate change is widespread among older conservative voters, point out the uncertainty with which many voters view the issue, and discuss the role of misinformation in respondents’ perceptions.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles
  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Discourse analysis
  • Cohort study
  • Peer review
  • Ethnography

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Conformity bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Attrition bias
  • Social desirability bias

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How to Write a Thematic Statement? (Step-by-Step)

Have you been asked to write an essay about an important literary work, and does your coursework call on you to include a thematic statement? Are you writing a novel, and have you come to the conclusion that you need to create a thematic statement, either to help you in your creative process or to land a literary agent?

You may feel confused, and even stuck — thematic statements are not often talked-about, and few people understand what they truly are. Therefore, writing one can be a challenge. We're here to help.

Understanding a Thematic Statement

A thematic statement can be defined as the one core idea that runs through an entire novel, essay, or other written work — the central message that underpins everything within the text. This message is not merely a statement of fact, but also offers a moral judgment or philosophical foundation.

Because the thematic statement conveys the central idea around which the entire work is based, it can usually be conveyed in just one sentence. Plot, setting, and characters do not need to be included in a thematic statement, as the thematic statement is the one idea that remains true once you strip all of these elements away

In some cases, the theme, or the thread that runs through the entire work, is immediately apparent. In other cases, the theme of the literary work is open to interpretation.

Still confused? While we'll delve into the topic much more deeply, some possible thematic statements could include:

  • "Sometimes love really is all you need."
  • "The true meaning of life can be found not in material possessions, but in creativity."
  • "Being a hero is a choice anyone can make."
  • "The line between good and evil is not always apparent."
  • "Fear can be more dangerous than anything else."

Thematic Statements vs Thesis Statements vs Topic Statements: What Is the Difference?

People sometimes ask how thematic statements differ from thesis statements and topic statements, both of which are more commonly discussed — and also often more immediately apparent.

A thesis statement can be defined as the central claim in an academic paper, such as an essay, which the author defends throughout their writing. The thesis statement is explicitly stated, typically immediately following the introduction, and is typically a debatable argument. A thesis statement could be something like " The Handmaid's Tale is unquestionably Margaret Atwood's most famous novel, but the author's MaddAddam trilogy holds more literary significance."

A topic statement discusses the topic of a work — and, if we were to continue with the previous example, one possible option would be to state that "This essay discusses the literary significance of The Handmaid's Tale as compared to the MaddAddam trilogy." If we were to talk about the topic of the MaddAddam trilogy instead, the topic statement would be different; "This work speculates about the evolutionary path climate change may force humanity to take", for instance.

Thematic statements, which are almost always written about literary works like novels or poems, do not deal in such specifics. They merely state the underlying and most fundamental message that permeates the entire work, and which may not ever be declared explicitly.

Where Are Thematic Statements Used?

Thematic statements serve two basic purposes. These largely depend on who crafts them; a thematic statement may be written by the author of a work, or by a reader.

Authors can use thematic statements to:

  • Decide on a foundational philosophy that should run through the entire work, even before they begin writing the work. When an author keeps this important core message or value in mind throughout the creative process, it can have a large positive impact. A more coherent text will result, as characters or plot points not relevant to the thematic statement can be eliminated.
  • Land a literary agent, if the author is hoping to be traditionally published. Conveying the central theme of the work clearly but succinctly can catch agents' attention. Literary agents can, in turn, employ thematic statements as they negotiate with publishers.

Readers can craft thematic statements, too. In this case, the purpose may be to:

  • Offer a core interpretation of the central meaning of a novel or poem, in order to demonstrate that the student has deeply understood the core of the work.
  • Choose which works to include in an essay that seeks to interpret the theme of multiple works.

How to Find a Thematic Statement for a Novel or Other Work

Those who have interacted with a work on a deeper level, perhaps by reading it multiple times and contemplating its philosophical implications, may immediately notice a theme they can use to craft a theme statement. This is not always true, however, as many books can be interpreted in several different ways.

Students who have been asked to pinpoint an accurate thematic statement for a work of fiction can start identifying a theme statement by gathering more general information about the work. For instance, consider:

  • What do you know about the plot and the characters?
  • What important struggles are characters seeking to overcome in the work, with a focus on the protagonist?
  • What values does the protagonist not want to compromise on?
  • How does the book end?

After answering all of these questions, and perhaps others, ask yourself — what is this work truly about, at its core?

You are bound to come up with an answer. Try to summarize it in a single sentence, such as " The Life of Pi , by Yann Martel, reveals how creative imagination can help us overcome trauma". Congratulations; you are on the right track. Now strip your statement of all identifying characteristics specific to the work itself, and leave only the bare essentials.

"Creative imagination plays a key role in surviving traumatic events"?

Yes! Now you've got it. Theme statements are abstract and do not refer to authors, plot points, characters, or settings — only the most important message can remain. Keep in mind that others may interpret the essence of a book to be quite different, but if you strongly believe that your statement is correct, you should feel free to use it.

How to Write a Thematic Statement: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you been asked to identify a thematic statement for a literary work? To write a succinct and accurate statement that you are confident about defending, simply take the following steps.

1. Read the Work Thoroughly

Make notes as you are reading if you can. Once you are finished, ask yourself this question — what message ties all the characters, plot points, and interactions in the book together? Remember not to focus on what happens in the book, but on the underlying values.

2. Summarize the Core Message

Try to summarize the core message in a single sentence. You may end up with something like " The Hunger Games shows that people are willing to sacrifice everything for those they love, and threatening one's family may create a revolution". That's a great start, but you have more work to do.

3. Strip Away Everything that Applies Specifically to the Work

A thematic statement is an abstract message devoid of specificity. Do not reference the work or any characters within it, and do not address the people who may read your thematic statement. "When people are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their loved ones, society can be transformed completely", for instance.

4. Steer Clear of Tropes

While thematic statements are abstract, they are also specific. Do not go for "love conquers all", "blood is thicker than water", "beggars can't be choosers", for instance — make a more general statement that gives the reader a better idea of what the work is about.

5. Read and Edit the Thematic Statement You Came up With

Can you shorten anything without losing content? Do you need to be more specific? Is everything you have written true about the book, poem, film, or other work, as you understand it? Are you satisfied with your word choices? If you can answer "yes" to all of these questions, you are likely finished. Good job!

How to Write a Thematic Statement: Common Mistakes to Avoid

As you are writing a thematic statement, whether for a novel you would like to write yourself or for a book you have read and are penning an essay about, your message will gain clarity and impact if you avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Do not rely on literary tropes or cliches to write a thematic statement. Be authentic.
  • All literary works use known archetypes of some kind, such as "rags to riches", "the honest fool", "the self-sacrificing carer", and so on. Identifying the archetypes used in a work can help you discover the thematic statement, but do not stop there. Address underlying motivations.
  • Do not make any statement about the plot or characters; the thematic statement should address the underlying truth within the work, and not the specifics.

Do I need to have a thematic statement before I write a book?

Not at all. Pondering the core message you want to convey will help you remain consistent as you write, however. Having a thematic statement can also help authors eliminate plot points and side characters that have no place in the story.

Do I need to discover the thematic statement whenever I write an essay about a book?

Keeping a work's core message in mind as you write your essays will help you create stronger texts that allow you to draw on literary works with a similar theme. Thinking about a work's thematic statement will also help you understand the author's intentions more deeply.

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How to write a thematic statement Step-by-Step


Your instructor has assigned you to write a thematic statement, and you probably do not know how to begin or what steps to take. Now, you are lucky because that's what this guide is all about.

Thematic Statement

Our team of expert literature writers came up with examples that we have included in this guide. Then, our editorial team pieced it up to help you write a thematic or theme statement that will meet the requirements.

After you are done reading an assignment for class, a novel, short story, lyrics, poems, or essays, you might be asked to write a theme or thematic statement. When asked to do so, you are being asked to condense the gist of your piece of literary work in a sentence or two. But how do you do it? How do you find the theme?

To answer these two questions, go through this structured step-by-step guide on how to write a thematic statement.

What is a Thematic Statement?

A theme statement, thematic sentence, or thematic statement refers to a sentence or two sentences describing the predominant message or theme of a literary work such as a novel, short story, poem, song, or story. It is a precise statement that summarizes the essence or gist of a story. It is a statement that can be transformed into a thesis statement in a thematic essay. It explains the powerful message that the author is trying to communicate in their work.

Examples include:

  • Family is the structure upon which society is built.
  • Maternal love surpasses all the love there is in the world.
  • True love is an illusion.
  • Love conquers all.
  • Love can make you forget about yourself and care more for others, even if it means putting your life on the line.

A thematic statement is not a theme, and neither is it a thesis statement, as we shall explore shortly.

A thematic statement contains a single root keyword, also referred to as theme, thematic idea, or thematic assertion.

You can use a thematic statement when writing a five-paragraph essay such as a synthesis essay, critical analysis essay , analytical essay, or thematic essay. They are also frequently used in funeral speeches, marriage toasts, stories, or rhetorical analysis essays.

Thematic Statement vs. Thesis Statement vs. Themes

Thematic statements differ from thesis statements in many ways. For example, while a thematic statement may be factual and comprise unbeatable facts, a thesis statement must be arguable and precise.

A thematic statement is also completely different from a theme. The theme describes the main message that the author or writer wishes to convey through their writing, whereas the thematic statement offers the context for readers to understand the theme better; it expounds on the theme.

The theme can be represented using one or two words, for instance, courage, hate, and love. On the contrary, a thematic statement is usually a complete sentence that conveys the theme. It is possible to have more than one theme in a literary work, and not every single one of them is directly mentioned.

Significance of thematic statements

A thematic statement is simply a summary of the entire literary work. Its main aim is to give readers a hint of what the literary piece is about before they read it in full. In addition, it also provides an insight into the writer's central theme and message.

It offers a bit of background information on exactly how the author constructed their work so that you can get a clearer understanding of the basis of their arguments and views.

Examples of Thematic Statements

If you are assigned to write an analytical essay or synthesis essay, here is how to express the theme statement:

  • In The Dark Knight Rises , Christopher Nolan presents the idea that true heroism requires complete and utter selflessness.
  • The central theme of 'Finding Nemo' is that fear is sometimes more dangerous than danger itself.
  • In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare presents the idea that love is more powerful than hate.
  • Conrad explores the question of what the alienation and loneliness of extended periods of time in a remote and hostile environment can do to men's minds.
  • Conrad, primarily through the example of the Company's chief clerk, shows how people can maintain order with the most mundane details of their lives while all around them, disorder reigns.
  • Insanity, given prolonged exposure to the isolation of the wilderness, seems an inevitable extension of disorder.
  • As one develops morally and psychologically, he learns his duty to his family and community.
  • Courage allows people to attempt complicated tasks in their lives even when there is a chance of failing.
  • Independence is necessary to grow up though it can be frightening.

Let's now look at the general theme statements you are likely to encounter in literature.

  • Love can bring out the best version of ourselves.
  • Loving and appreciating others, despite their flaws, can lead to a happier life.
  • Love stretched to extremes can be very dangerous.
  • Love carries the power to either positively or negatively change us.
  • Unconditional love can resist any obstacle.
  • People need faith in themselves to survive in a cruel world.
  • Accepting yourself will lead to others accepting you as well.
  • A person's identity is not stationary; it develops as they continue to learn more about themselves.
  • Being authentic to oneself can lead to opportunities in life that you did not anticipate.
  • Believing in yourself and your abilities is a scary but vital lesson to learn.
  • Fear is just a state of mind.
  • The fear of something is actually more dangerous than the actual danger.
  • The worst thing to fear is fear itself.
  • Fear robs the mind of all its reasoning and acting powers.
  • People cannot defeat fear by simply pretending that everything that hurts them does not exist.
  • Death is a part of the natural circle of life; we should embrace it instead of fearing it.
  • There is no need to be afraid of death as life is what matters most.
  • Death is a dreadful end that snatches away people without any notice, leaving behind their loved ones to come to terms with the unexpected loss.
  • Death is inevitable; people should come to terms with it by living their lives to the fullest instead of living in fear of the unknown.
  • Death is a mysterious happening that changes things for eternity and leaves the affected ones to deal with their grief.
  • Trust is hard to build, and it can easily be destroyed with one wrong deed.
  • It takes a lot of courage to trust other people knowing that they might disappoint you.
  • Although it is difficult to accept, you cannot always trust your family and friends to always want the best for you.
  • The strength of any relationship depends on how much you trust the other individual.
  • Trust is not just given; it is earned via actions.
  • Failure is one of the best ways to learn and become stronger.
  • You haven't failed until you stop trying.
  • How you define failure is up to you.
  • Failing is part of life; what matters is how you pick up yourself after failing.
  • Failure is another stepping stone toward success; it is not final.
  • Parenting will test your resolve and patience and define who you are as an individual.
  • Parenting is the toughest but most fulfilling job in the world.
  • Parenting is all about stressing the positive and staying optimistic during difficult times.
  • Children come with lots of responsibilities, but it is all worth it.
  • The tender years of a child's life set the foundation and tone of what is to come.
  • The choices people make define who they are as individuals.
  • Someone's real character will always come to light, regardless of their actions.
  • Our character is founded on the choices that we make daily.
  • Someone's real character is disclosed when they perform a brave act and go against the norm.
  • A person's character determines how they are perceived by others.
  • Faith gives people a sense of purpose and hope.
  • Faith is what unites people and keeps them strong.
  • People are naturally conditioned to believe in something and follow a certain path.
  • Faith has the power to inspire people not to give up, no matter how challenging things might seem.
  • Believing in a greater being or thing than oneself provides some sense of security and comfort.
  • True friends are difficult to come across, and the real ones are worth the wait.
  • A real friend will accept you for who you are and not what you have.
  • The effort and time invested in a friendship determine its strength.
  • A genuine friend will always support you, even in times of difficulty.
  • Friends will come and go, but your family will never desert you.
  • Nature offers an escape from the real world and allows people to find themselves.
  • Life's beauty is wrapped in nature's diversity.
  • Nothing can be compared to the beauty of nature in its natural state.
  • Nature should be respected and admired; it should not be controlled.
  • Nature is what keeps us alive and should be embraced in all that we do.
  • Life is what people make it, despite its challenges.
  • What makes life special is its succinctness; there is no need to be afraid of death.
  • Life is short, and so every day should be lived to the fullest and cherished.
  • Life is what matters, not material possessions.
  • People should enjoy life when they still have the chance to.
  • Fighting change results in stagnation, while embracing it results in growth.
  • Change is something that should be welcomed; it generates new opportunities and encourages growth.
  • Life can never remain the same; it should be embraced and not feared.
  • Change is inevitable and relentless; people should learn to welcome it.
  • Accepting change is one of the most powerful things someone can do.
  • Suffering is unfair, often afflicting those people who do not deserve it.
  • Unnecessary suffering has devastating impacts on its victims.
  • Suffering only lasts for a while; it is not permanent.
  • Suffering destroys the faint-hearted and strengthens the strong-willed.
  • Suffering is sometimes a by-product of our actions.

Step-by-step guide on how to write Thematic Statements

Here are the steps to take if you want to write a good thematic statement.

1. Develop a list of themes

Begin by gathering different ideas from the literary work and make a proper list of them. Next, gather the abstract words that express the primary ideas of the work (mainly, these are the topics in the work). These abstract words describe the ideas or concepts that exist only in our minds, like oppression, disillusionment, cruelty, love, hate, hubris, identity, sacrifice, or survival. You should then combine the abstract ideas with comments that reflect on the author's observations in the piece of literary work you are reading. Carefully go through them to see which ones can be backed with evidence, such as examples and facts. Look for the idea that you can easily support using the provided text.

2. Research extensively

To get the best idea for your writing, conduct extensive research. First, read through any articles or books that are of relevance to your topic. Then take time to think about the message you want to convey to your readers.

3. Get inspiration from other works

The next step is to read the thematic statements of other writers. Literary works reveal the thoughts of different people regarding different issues; they are the authors' views and interpretations of life in general. Therefore, drawing inspiration from other writers can be very helpful when coming up with your own thematic statement.

4. Identify conflict areas

Conflicts are vital when it comes to an understanding the theme. They make literary works interesting. By identifying the conflict areas, you will better understand the text.

5. Focus on the thesis statement or crux

The most important part of your work is the thesis statement. A good thesis statement is concise and conveys the intended message in a single sentence. You should, therefore, concentrate on getting it right. Thesis statements are important as they convey the literary work's main message quickly without losing any meaning.

6. Decide the best theme statement for you

Depending on your analysis of the text, settle on one thematic statement that is relevant to the writing.

7. Write the thematic statement

The final step is to put down your chosen thesis statement. Then, follow the above steps for the perfect thematic statement.

Dos and Don'ts when writing Thematic Statements

1.      Express the theme as an insight into life

1.      Never express the theme statement as a topic or subject. Never state the theme as a subject or maxim.

2.      Write the theme statement in your own words

2.      Do not express the theme statement as a moral

3.      Write the theme statement as a general comment on a subject

3.      Do not express the theme statement as a cliché, such as a familiar saying or adage

4.      Draw a general insight from the behavior of a character

4.      Never make the theme statement too general. Broad theme statements or generalizations can confuse your readers. Be very specific instead.

5.      Use qualifying words such as sometimes, often, might, may, can, etc. in your thematic statement

5.      Never refer to specific characters when writing your theme statement

6.      Be very specific

6.      Avoid using cliches

7.      Your theme should be reasonable. For example, it doesn't use words like "all," "none," "everything," or "always" because that kind of statement is rarely true and usually impossible to prove.

7.      The thematic statement should never be absolute.

8.      A theme is observation. It should comment on the way things appear to be in reality

8.      It is not a moral or a command

Thematic Statement Template

Let's look at templates we can use when writing theme statements.

For Stories and Books or literary works

General theme statement

Example of how to use the template

Priscilla and the Wimps

Richard Peck


It makes us do things that are out of our comfort zone

In order to help a good friend

When Priscilla confronts the Kobra and Monk to protect Melvin.

Hunger Games


It is not enough without control

Over your own destiny

A girl is forced to take part in a televised fight to the death.


Compels people to take a leap of faith

Even when there is a chance of failure or imminent danger.


Is a beautiful thing that happens when two people come together

Although it is just an illusion

Universal A-Z list of Themes

  • Adolescence – discovery, pain, loneliness
  • Alienation – the destruction of the soul
  • Ambition – persistence or corruption
  • Appearances – deception and reality
  • Beauty of diversity
  • Beauty of simplicity
  • Capitalism– effect on the individual
  • Change of power – the necessity
  • Change versus tradition
  • Chaos and order
  • Character – destruction, building up
  • Circle of life
  • Coming of age
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal
  • Companionship as salvation
  • Convention and rebellion
  • Dangers of ignorance
  • Darkness and light
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy
  • Desire to escape
  • Destruction of beauty
  • Disillusionment and dreams
  • Displacement
  • Empowerment
  • Emptiness of attaining the false dream
  • Everlasting love
  • Evils of racism
  • Facing darkness
  • Facing reality
  • Fading beauty
  • Faith versus doubt
  • Family – blessing or curse
  • Fate and free will
  • Fear of failure
  • Female roles
  • Fulfillment
  • Good versus bad
  • Greed as downfall
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Hazards of passing judgment
  • Heartbreak of betrayal
  • Heroism – real and perceived
  • Hierarchy in nature
  • Identity crisis
  • Illusion of power
  • Immortality
  • Individual versus society
  • Inner versus outer strength
  • Isolationism – hazards
  • Knowledge versus ignorance
  • Loneliness as a destructive force
  • Losing hope
  • Loss of innocence
  • Love and sacrifice
  • Man against nature
  • Manipulation
  • Materialism as downfall
  • Name – power, and significance
  • Nationalism – complications
  • Nature as beauty
  • Necessity of work
  • Oppression of women
  • Optimism – power or folly
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Power and corruption
  • Power of silence
  • Power of tradition
  • Power of wealth
  • Power of words
  • Pride and downfall
  • Progress – real or illusion
  • Quest for discovery
  • Quest for power
  • Role of men
  • Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy• Role of women • Self – inner and outer
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-preservation
  • Self-reliance
  • Social mobility
  • Technology in society – good or bad
  • Temporary nature of physical beauty
  • Temptation and destruction
  • Totalitarianism
  • Vanity as downfall
  • Vulnerability of the meek
  • Vulnerability of the strong
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Will to survive
  • Wisdom of experience
  • Working-class struggles
  • Youth and beauty

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What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples


Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.



Thesis Statement


An extensive document presenting the author's research and findings, typically for a degree or professional qualification.

A concise sentence or two in an essay or research paper that outlines the main idea or argument.  


It’s the entire document on its own.

Typically found at the end of the introduction of an essay, research paper, or thesis.


Introduction, methodology, results, conclusions, and bibliography or references.

Doesn't include any specific components


Provides detailed research, presents findings, and contributes to a field of study. 

To guide the reader about the main point or argument of the paper or essay.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.


Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.


This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.


Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.


This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.


By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.


It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.


Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.


  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.


It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.


In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.


Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.


Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.


Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.


In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.


Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.


By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.





Often for a master's degree, showcasing a grasp of existing research

Primarily for a doctoral degree, contributing new knowledge to the field


100 pages, focusing on a specific topic or question.

400-500 pages, involving deep research and comprehensive findings

Research Depth

Builds upon existing research

Involves original and groundbreaking research

Advisor's Role

Guides the research process

Acts more as a consultant, allowing the student to take the lead


Demonstrates understanding of the subject

Proves capability to conduct independent and original research

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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Thematic Statement

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

Thematic Statement: Writing Tips and Examples

By: Cordon J.

Reviewed By: Chris H.

Published on: Oct 12, 2021

thematic statement

A theme is a central message of the literary work on which the entire literature is based. It's not the same as a subject that can be described in a word or two. Alternatively, it is an idea that the author needs to express about the subject.

Writing a thematic statement is important for the students of creative writing and literature.

Composing them gives the opportunity to test your understanding of a literary work. Moreover, it also helps us to represent the core idea in the simplest form.

Presented further are some essential tips on writing a thematic statement. Read the blog to get a comprehensive idea of them.

thematic statement

On this Page

What Is a Thematic Statement?

A theme is explained in the simplest form as a general sentence known as a thematic statement. Creating it involves the use of all the crucial elements like plot, characters, and specifics.

The literature work may contain more than one theme. However, they are not directly specified but are implied. The audience should consider using all the elements to understand which theme seems to be implied.

You may be asked to write such a statement as a part of your course, thesis, or essay.

Purpose of a Thematic Statement

The main purpose is that it can help you interpret and write your work in two different ways:

  • It decides a clear and simple interpretation before you start writing
  • It provides a summary of your interpretation.

Characteristics of a Good Thematic Statement

A good statement must be general enough to capture the overall meaning of the work. However, it also needs to be specific enough to convey a unique interpretation.

An interesting and comprehensive thematic statement should have the following qualities:

  • Simplified yet Comprehensive

Every text makes a statement or has a particular point. When creating a theme, you substitute a single sentence for the entire work. It means you have to simplify the meaning to get it into a single sentence.

For example, “Love and hate” is not a statement but a topic. Instead, a sentence like “The theme of the text is love and hate” is a complete sentence.

  • Based on the Broader Message

The theme should describe the general meaning and not the specific events, actions, or characters. It is beneficial for the writer to express the central idea through word choice, structure, or other rhetoric elements.

It should also reflect the values of the entire work, not just in one or two lines, paragraphs or sections.

  • Is Abstract

Begin by using abstract words for the purpose of stating the main ideas. These words usually describe the concepts that exist in our minds, such as love, passion, loyalty, etc.

For writing a theme statement, incorporate the abstract ideas with the comments reflecting the writer’s views. It will help to express his thoughts about the abstract idea.

  • Doesn’t Directly Refer to the Characters

You shouldn’t mention a character in the text by the name. Instead, you should use the words such as a person, people, individual, or someone while writing a thematic statement.

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How to Write a Thematic Statement?

There are no specific rules when it comes to creative writing. However, a few aspects can be described as desirable characteristics of a thematic statement.

Here are some guidelines that can help you in writing a thematic statement.

1. Read Thoroughly

Reading the entire work thoroughly is the first step before writing a thematic statement. Note down the writing style, characters, plots and capture all the human perspectives. It will assist in producing an original interpretation.

2. Identifying Conflict Areas and Central Ideas

Every story has a conflict of ideas. The main objective is to identify the values, motives, and interests that will help you identify the nature of the conflict. Similarly, it will also guide you to the central concepts and the values that form a narrated story.

3. Focus on the Core

Thematic statements convey the message of the entire work in a single sentence. Therefore, instead of talking about what happens, it is better to discuss what are the results of the happenings.

4. Capturing the Gist

You must have started imagining a clear picture of your story in mind by following the above-mentioned process. Try to craft a sentence containing all the facets of your story and then refine it afterward.

5. No Specifics

Getting into the details of what actually happened is not necessary. Instead, the thematic statement is the answer to why everything happened. It makes sense of all the happenings in a narrative.

6. Avoid Absolute Statements

Another important aspect is to avoid absolute statements unless you are sure about them. However, you can stick to them in cases where you are really and absolutely true.

7. No Moral Edict

Do not transform your theme into a moral edict. Rather, keep it in a way that reflects the real thought within the story. Also, avoid molding the original idea into something else.

8. Avoid Clichés

Try to be original by avoiding clichés. It is better to express your opinions instead of using a popular punchline.

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Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Thematic Statement

Writers usually make these mistakes while formulating a good thematic statement.

It Is Not a Moral, Command or a Directive

Such factors tell the author how to behave and what to do. Alternatively, a thematic statement looks at views and actions.

However, it does not involve judging what others should or should not do. Thus, avoid words like “ought” or “should.” It helps the writer to gain a general perspective about the behavior of a person.

It Has No Trite Sayings (Clichés, Maxims, or Aphorisms)

Themes reflect the complexity of life echoes in literary work. It should be original, interesting, and thoughtful in nature. Use qualifying words like “sometimes”, “may”, “can,” and “often”.

Avoid Referring Particular Names or Events

These statements do not summarize an entire work. Instead, it reflects what happens in the work. So, you should use more general terms by not referring to any particular names or events.

Avoiding Absolute Terms

Such statements should not include absolute terms because it indicates poor reasoning. Rather, they are prescriptive, without exceptions. Thus, express a theme in your own words. Such terms like “sometimes,” “we,” or “often” express a more practical outlook.

Don't Be Obvious

Stop being so obvious and always try to find more details from the story. For example, a phrase like “War is bad," is not a theme. Look for details like what specifically is bad about it or how it negatively affects the characters.

Don't Make It Advise

Try to keep your statements objective and based solely on strong evidence from the story. Do not make it sound like a suggestion or advice or an opinionated thesis statement.

Thematic Statement Examples

Some examples of the thematic statements are given below. Refer them to understand better.

  • Nothing raises the veil off a man’s true character, like power.
  • No matter what the odds, true men of character never give in to hypocrisy.
  • Pride always comes in the way of finding true love.
  • Absolute power originates from a methodical system of mind control, which feeds on individual fear and primal human weakness.
  • Love is the only language every human being loves, and yet, the most misunderstood language.

Thematic Statement Template


This is everything that you need to get started with your thematic statement. If you get stuck during the writing process, you can contact the  essay writer  at . They will do your essay .

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Cordon J.

Literature, Marketing

Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.

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    Similarly, it will also guide you to the central concepts and the values that form a narrated story. 3. Focus on the Core. Thematic statements convey the message of the entire work in a single sentence. Therefore, instead of talking about what happens, it is better to discuss what are the results of the happenings. 4.