THETR 461:

Theme Paper


Developing Themes from Images and Motifs

From the list of motifs and images you created earlier, discover a major theme in the assigned play that is supported by those motifs.

A good way to start might be to combine two affinity groups of motifs and see what ideas rise from that comparison. (Refer to the Imagery and Motif assignment.) Any set of affinity groups might support more than one theme. The idea here is to come up with your own organization of motifs and themes.

However your mind works is how you should proceed. You may need to work at this for a bit to figure it out. Developing themes in this way is organic to the repeated motifs that the author has written and to your own process of synthesis.

There is no "right way" to discover a theme. Motifs are one very good way to discover them. However, super-objectives, the nature of conflicts or obstacles, the actions the characters undertake, changes (peripeteia) in the action, etc. can all help lead to theme.

State your theme as a complete sentence and then expand on that with a brief discussion of the theme.


Your paper should state each theme in a complete sentence (not a fragment).

After the statement of the theme, write a paragraph or two discussing the theme and the relationship of the motifs and images that support it. This discussion of the theme is extremely important. It provides insight into how you see the theme being integrated throughout the story.


Page numbers, 1” margins, 12 point font, staple in upper left corner, MLA style heading in the upper left, etc.


Are there spelling, continuity, or punctuation errors, or missing citations? Does the paper meet all requirements on the assignment sheet?