What is, and How to Write, the Perfect Thematic Statement

What is a thematic statement?

Basically, a thematic statement, also known as a theme statement, is exactly what it describes, a statement that offers an insight into the theme of a piece of creative writing, such as a story, an essay, a novel, or even an article. A thematic statement need not be a long statement, generally, just two or three sentences is enough to interpret the true essence of the message that the author is trying to convey. A novel is likely to have many different themes, however, a thematic statement delivers an interpretation of the significant theme of the piece of literary work.

What should a thematic statement include?

A thematic statement should summarise the literary piece of work, giving your insightful observations into the author’s perspective in just a couple of sentences. A thematic statement should include the main message of the piece of work, offering the reader your interpretation of the thoughts of the author regarding the subject of the literary work and their motivation behind it.

What should a thematic statement not include?

A thematic statement should not include the name of the book, the author, specific occasions or the details of the characters, cliches should definitely be avoided and it should not be judgemental or include directives, instructions or orders.

How to write a thematic statement

Knowing how to write a thematic statement is important for anyone who produces any work of literature, whether they are the author or the publisher of the literary piece. Teachers and students will also be required to use this skill when analysing or reviewing any type of literature that has a message or an idea that the author is trying to convey.

Basic steps to thematic statement writing

Many people are daunted by the thought of writing a thematic statement, however, it doesn’t need to be a difficult task, provided you follow some basic steps. As with many things that appear to be complex, breaking it down into a step by step process will help to simplify matters, as you follow each step, your understanding of the literary piece of work should become clearer, allowing you to write a powerful thematic statement. We have included a few basic steps that we recommend you follow in order to successfully write a thematic statement.

Read the literary piece of work thoroughly

It is crucial to read the piece of work thoroughly, not just flick through a few pages or scan it quickly, if you don’t fully understand what has been written, then read it again, if you still do not understand it completely then get advice and then read it again. Find somewhere quiet without any distractions so that you can give the literary work your full attention and concentrate. You cannot possibly expect to be able to write a successful thematic statement on a piece of literature unless you fully comprehend what the work is about.

Recognise and identify the central theme

There is likely to be more than one theme running though the piece of literary work, however, once you have read the work thoroughly and fully understood what has been written, you should be able to recognise and identify the central theme of the material. It is recommended that you keep notes to record the characters and the plot, as following and understanding the changes within the piece will assist you in interpreting what you feel the author is trying to impart.

Always consider the author’s perspective on the literary work

Gaining insight into the author’s perspective is vital when writing a thematic statement, as this will help you to understand their motivation and the message that they are attempting to convey to their readers. A little research into the background of the author could prove invaluable to your understanding of their perspective.

Present the theme

Create your thematic statement, focussing upon the crux of the message that you feel the author is conveying, your statement should generally be only one or two sentences long and it should capture the main theme of the piece of literary work.

Refine and edit

Following the creation of your thematic statement it is important to review it, consider it as a first draft that will require refinement, check it to ensure that your words convey the message of the author in an effective and concise way. As with many forms of literary writing, including short stories, essays, novels, etc., it is often good practise to put the work away for a few days and return to it with a fresh mind, you may find that you can immediately spot areas that require changing that were perhaps not apparent before. Seeking feedback from your peers, colleagues, etc., may well be very helpful to you, the opinions of others can often give a nudge in another direction that had not been previously considered. This process of refinement may take a while but it is an important step and should not be rushed, patience is required in order to achieve a powerful and impactful thematic statement.

Summary of how write a thematic statement

A thematic statement should be a short, concise insight of what you feel is the message that the author is trying to convey in the piece of literary work, it should be one to three sentences long.

Always read the literary work thoroughly, more than once if necessary. Seek help if you do not fully understand the work.

Identify the central theme amongst other themes within the piece of work.

Researching the background of the author can help you to gain insight into their perspective, in order to understand their motivation and the message the author wishes to deliver.

Avoid cliches, directives, orders or instructions and do not include the name of the book or the author.

Be patient when reviewing and editing your thematic statement, take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes, seek feedback from other people and be open to change.

Author Profile

James Barron
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.

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