What is a Story Theme Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

What is a Story Theme

In this lesson, you'll discover how to find the overall message an author gives you in a selection.

THE THEME OF a story is the most important thing the author wants readers to understand. It's the author's thoughts about a general belief of how things are or how they should be. In fables, the theme is the moral, or lesson, the story teaches. The moral may even be stated at the end of the story. Remember that Aesop story about the Fox and Crow in Lesson 23? If the theme had been stated, it would have been something like this: Don't be distracted by flattery or vain people can be easily fooled!

Here are a few other familiar themes you'll find in stories.

An author may not state the theme directly, but you can figure it out. Think about what the characters in the story are like and what they do, and ask yourself questions like:

  • Did something that happened in the story change a character?
  • How do the characters' actions relate to things in my life?
  • What message is the author trying to send me?
  • Does the title of the story give a clue to the theme?

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

What is a Story Theme Practice Exercises

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