Firstly, it should be noted that every piece of writing should serve a particular purpose. That is why it every essay needs to have a central theme that you will build your paper around. That central theme ranges from educating the readers about something, getting a reaction out of something to just plainly presenting the value of something.
The best pieces of literature do not reveal this hidden agenda straight away but rather engage the reader and force him to read between the lines. When this is properly executed the reader will be filled with a sense of accomplishment, and this is how the first step towards thematic essay writing is taken.
What is a Thematic Essay
Thematic essay writing can be defined as any writing in which a central theme is developed by the author using literary devices. Literary devices are structures such as foreshadowing, imagery, personification, and others that are used to convey the writer’s message to the readers in a simple manner.
To use literary devices efficiently, the writer must present the primary subject and clearly express the overall significance of the theme by using the above-mentioned as evidence. It is easy for the writer to get lost in the vast sea of different subjects and that is why finding the most meaningful and impactful one can be challenging.
Every essay writer is different and has his own unique style, and every reader is just as different. Different readers might interpret different ideas and notions in a radically different way, and this is precisely why it is so important to wholesomely agree on a generic central theme. A well written thematic essay accomplishes this through a rock-solid main idea which is supported by concrete evidence and logical arguments via literary devices.
Thematic Essay Example Topics
- George Orwell’s portrayal of a “Perfect Utopia” in 1984. What is its meaning?
- George Orwell’s representation of Communism in Animal Farm.
- The notion of innocence in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
- Loneliness and isolation in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men?
- The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby?
Finding and Exploring the Central Theme
Choosing the central theme and the main subject of a paper is the core if a thematic essay. Sometimes, due to a growing number of options that can be hard to do. Here are some guides that will be useful in making the right choice.
Summarize the literature: Focus on the core of the book. Regularly ask yourself what point you went over? The author will usually make this obvious so it should not pose a problem. Taking notes while you go over it is always advisable as it will help you paint a clearer picture of a message. Stay focused while you are doing this so you avoid missing some vital clues that the writer might give.
Pick the most prevalent subject: We have advised you to focus on the subject and on the theme of the essay, and you might wonder how to differentiate them. A subject can be defined as a general topic of conversation, and it can be anything from courage, betrayal, loyalty, etc.
On the other hand, a theme is more specific and is the elaboration on the said subject.
When in doubt look for the most frequently brought up talking point, and you will find the essence of the essay.
Read between the lines: Once you have uncovered the most suitable subject focus on the main point the author is trying to make. Don’t be alarmed if the main point does not become clear right away. It is not supposed to.
Overall significance: This is something that a lot of people overlook and is, in fact, the most important part. What is that author’s point? What message is he trying to convey to the reader and how can the reader benefit from it? What is the lesson you have learned from it?
Thematic essay outline
There are several rules when it comes to thematic essays, and they should be followed as closely as possible to guarantee a comprehensive paper.
- Firstly, depending on the complexity of the topic, the essay should be at least five paragraphs long.
- Secondly, you must never lose sight of what is important and allow yourself to go into unnecessary intricacies. The essay must have a concrete thesis as the thematic statement must come from the main subject.
- Thirdly, your essay must have a clear structure. The introduction should be to the point and used to present the subject as well as the thesis statement. The body paragraphs should be clearly divided and each one should tackle one different literary element or more to give sustenance to your arguments and provide as many supporting details as possible.
- Lastly, the conclusion should be a summarization of all the arguments presented. This should be done with a sentence or two that carry the strength of your work.
The introduction can be difficult to write as it must present the main subject of your essay clearly but in an engaging and captivating way.
The opening sentence should be interesting enough to hook the reader and make him want to learn more about whatever topic you are covering. It is ok to make it a bit over the top. This will serve a dual purpose. To grab the reader’s attention and to make clear from the beginning that you know what you are writing about, that you have done your research and that you can back it up with solid arguments.
After you have done this, provide the reader with any and all necessary background information from relevant literature in order to help your audience understand your claims.
Lastly, you should put a together a thesis statement that is consistent with the central theme of your paper. Make sure that your thesis statement is well researched.
Certain essay types allow for a higher degree of freedom when it comes to body paragraph formatting, but that is not the case when it comes to thematic essays. Thematic essays adhere to a strict format when it comes to body paragraphs. Every paragraph in a thematic essay serves to present a literary device such as evidence. For example, the topic sentence should serve as an introduction to the presentation of your evidence.
Due to everything previously stated, every sentence should have the name of the author and his connection to the claim you are making as well as a literary device. The safest way of validating your claims and explaining your reasoning is to strengthen them with an example from a book. This can be done with actions or quotations that are closely connected to the central theme of your essay.
Make sure that you explain the logic behind the quotation or claim and that it is in sync with your thesis statement.
Another thing to remember is the importance of using a literary device. By using literary devices, you minimize the risk of losing the thread of the essay. Thematic essays backbone is proving the thesis statement, and the most reliable way of doing precisely that is through the use of literary devices.
The conclusion should consist of three equally important parts in order the wrap up your essay in the most meaningful way.
- Never include new information in the conclusion. It should summarize of all the facts that you have presented up until that point.
- Firstly, go back to your original thesis statement by using a transition such as “in conclusion.”
- Secondly, pick three claims that you feel are the most important and summarize them. Once you have done so, you can briefly go over how they influence your thesis statement.
- Lastly, give a wide analysis of the subject by presenting an overall concluding statement.
Wrap Things Up
After you are done typing, possibly in the middle of the night, don’t hit the send button right away. An essay can never be polished enough.
Make sure that the central theme you analyzed is really the one you have decided on from the start. It is always better to rewrite the whole piece than to submit one with a missed central theme.
Always proofread your essay as it can make all the difference. Grammatical errors can make a paper unreadable and get you a low mark instead of a high one.
Another thing that is always good to do is to get somebody else to read your paper. You could be subjective when it comes to it, and fresh pair of eyes could easily spot obvious mistakes you have overlooked.