this is teaching summed up in a sentence

INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

Exactly. Exactly. That last part sums up my purpose in life. I’m a huge believer is “teaching a man to fish”. Let’s stop temporarily bandaging issues, and get to the actual root of things. Let’s actually FIX and SOLVE problems.

Theme (#teachbigquestions)

Welcome back to your high school lit class. Today we’re going to talk about themes.

What is a theme? The theme of your story is usually the lesson that you are trying to teach through the plot and/or characters. The theme can usually be summed up in one or two sentences such as:

  • Money can’t buy happiness.

  • What goes around comes around.

  • The ends justify the means.

Not all stories have a theme, some stories have more than one theme. It’s also possible for a story to show opposing themes without emphasis on either one.

Generally, though, you want to choose a theme and stick to it throughout the story.

Building a theme is usually relatively simple. For instance, if I wanted my story to show the theme “Honesty is the best policy”,

  • Have your character act in relation to the theme. In this instance, perhaps the character lies about something

  • Show the consequence of that character’s action. For example, the character’s lies snowball out of control, ultimately causing him to lose his closest friend.

  • Show the flipside. Here, the character goes to their friend, tells them the truth and the friend decides to forgive them.

  • Rinse, repeat.

Of course this isn’t a set recipe for demonstrating a theme, just a simple formula that can help you out if you’re stuck.

One thing to think about if your story has a theme is, if it fits within the genre of your story and the audience you’re writing for. If you’re writing a children’s book you’re probably not going to want to teach them that crime pays or that all humans are selfish jerks. Likewise, certain genres lend themselves more easily to certain themes, though they are in no way limited by them.

And finally, while it’s totally fine to build your story based on a certain theme, don’t let that be the singular driving factor, because it will show. Theme is important, but it’s just as important to think about your plot and characters and make sure that they aren’t flat just because you’re rushing to teach the reader a lesson.

The read more about theme in relation to a specific work of literature, click here.

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