Common Themes in Literature

Themes in Literature

Themes in Literature

Hi, and welcome to this video lesson on themes in literature.

There are millions of books and stories in the world. The purpose behind a good story is to create empathy, or emotional connections, for other people using themes. The theme of a piece of literature is its controlling idea. Universal themes are themes that can be discussed in regard to all of humanity. People all over the world can relate to stories that center on something we all encounter throughout our lives. Some of the more common and popular themes include the following:

Justice – To Kill a Mockingbird, Crime and Punishment, The Merchant of Venice,

Redemption – Les Miserables, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Death of Ivan Illych

Self Sacrifice – Harry Potter, A Tale of Two Cities, Ben Hur, As I Lay Dying

Coming of Age – a young protagonist searches for identity, and encounters trials or experiences that lead him or her into young adulthood. Huckleberry Finn, Ender’s Game, The Little Prince.

Courage and Cowardice – Lord of the Rings, Red Badge of Courage, Aeneid

Obviously books can have many themes that help us understand the characters and one another. As we process and reflect on these themes, they change us and we become more insightful and more connected to others around us.

I hope that helps. Thanks for watching this Video Lesson. Until next time, happy studying!



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: August 14, 2019