Looking back over my posts, I spotted one common theme weaving through all of them.
And that theme is . . . well, theme.
It’s not just on here, either. Whenever I go to discuss a book, movie, or show with someone, the first thing I’ll bring up is theme and how the characters and plot artfully reflected it.
Which got me wondering. Because I wonder about things a lot.
Why is theme so important to me?
But first off, what is theme?
Theme is simply what a book is saying. It’s what you think about after you close the book. It’s what it makes you feel and think both as you’re reading and when you’re not. It’s what seeps into your life and changes you for the better.
You might be able to sum it up in a one-line question. You might not be able to. That’s the funny thing about themes. They are usually far bigger than you think.
Theme is memorable.
Don’t I mean those long monologues or snappy morals tacked on to a story?
No. In fact, if a story contains either one of those, I will probably throw it out the window and go running in the other direction.
Few humans that I have met yet like to be preached at by a book. The great thing about books is that they can get a point across without ever saying a word.
(Not sold? How many stories are in the Bible?)
Tell me a pithy quote and I might forget it immediately. Tell me a story and I’ll remember it in some shape or form forever.
Why? Because stories show us what things look like in the real world. They weave their way into our lives. When you have to think about something to figure it out, it sticks with you longer. Kind of like when you do the work on something, it means more to you.
Theme makes a difference.
When I close a book and am still thinking about the characters and plot, chances are that it had something to say that got my attention.
For instance, I thought about Shadow by Kara Swanson long after I read it. Not only was I in love with her story world and characters, but what she had to say through that book touched on some really hard things I was going through at the time. It was extremely comforting and I still return to that novel when I’m having a hard time.
What made this theme so beautiful for me was that I got to see it work in my life. I got to see how a book can come alongside someone and make them feel less alone. I love theme because it changes my life and others’ lives.
Theme is something big in a little world.
If you want to crush my soul, then read a book that I’ve read and completely miss the theme.
Seriously. That is a hill I will die on. *laughs*
Some people choose to be so little-minded. We get wrapped up in news headlines and controversies and conspiracy theories and personal differences.
Which makes me incredibly sad. They stay within the tidy lines of what they think is right and what they think is wrong, refusing to step out and try anything that looks suspicious. But they miss out on so many beautiful, messy things.
I mean, like God for one thing. We have no lines on earth that can measure Him. He won’t fall between our lines. Does that make Him bad? No. It makes Him something to be explored, which is an immense privilege.
He gives us the privilege of exploring other things, too.
And what safer way is there to explore things than with a book in the corner of your couch?
The great thing about story is we can try things without ever putting ourselves at risk. I would not advise you become an angry, self-absorbed villain for instance, but through a book, you can see it played out. You see your choices manifested and where they will lead.
Of course, you do have to be careful. Some things really are just right and wrong. Because like I said, theme does make a difference.
But the best thing about theme is it is something truly big in a little world. The best books are the ones where they say something with as few words as possible. Where the theme is so much bigger than even the book itself. Where you have to keep exploring it after you put the book down, because there’s just so much to explore.
The best themes encourage you to keep an open mind, to see the world in a different way, to maybe even change your mind.
Those are just three reasons why I love theme, and why you’ll probably still see a lot of theme-oriented posts on here. What about you? What do you love about books and movies and why?
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!