1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

For a Book Report

"Describe the theme of the book in your book report," the teacher says.

Everybody else seems to understand, but you don't. What is a theme? Will you know it when you see it? What if you get it wrong? Don't worry--finding the theme of a book is not that complicated. Just look for an idea that flows through the book and states something about life.

Photo by Greek Golangco


June 27, 2006 at 4:16 pm
(1) Lisa says:

This article is extremely helpful in finding a theme for any type of essay. I am in college, and although this is a very simple article, this helped me to focus my ideas.

October 7, 2007 at 2:45 pm
(2) Yo Mama says:

WTF is that supposed to mean?

December 16, 2007 at 3:29 pm
(3) stupidity says:

WTF is that suppose to mean?
im still very confused
you didnt even explain what it was

December 16, 2007 at 4:30 pm
(4) homeworktips says:

I think there is some confusion about this post. It is not an article; it is a blog that links to an article. If you click on the title you’ll understand.

December 17, 2007 at 5:42 pm
(5) Lanna says:

It does help, but I still don’t get what the theme is!

January 26, 2008 at 9:55 pm
(6) weirdo says:

this is a bad thing i hate it
it doesnt help at all

April 2, 2008 at 7:11 pm
(7) blubber says:


April 12, 2008 at 7:47 pm
(8) pixi317 says:

hey, how do u write about it???
any1 read da outsiders???
what is the theme???

April 13, 2008 at 12:44 pm
(9) Grace says:

In the first chapter of the book I see many things you could talk about as a theme. Iím going to give you some ideas, but the writing is up to you!

In the opening of the book, you find out that Ponyboy has gone to the movies, but he has gone alone (as usual) because none of his friends appreciate the stories as much as he does. I find a great irony in this. Why?

When you appreciate a story, you find something interesting about how it was made, what the story says beneath the surface, or how you can relate to the events or the people. As humans grow and mature they learn by experience.

Ponyboy obviously thinks deeply about movies and examines them and their messages.

So here is the irony: this is exactly what you must do when you read this book in class! You are being asked to be like Ponyboy and think about the story.

As you read back over the book, look for these themes and put a sticky note flag anywhere you see them come up:

Rich versus poor: Are rich people and poor people different, or are they the same?

Good and evil: Are some people good and some people evil?

Justice and injustice: Do we always get what we deserve or is there no justice in life?

Friendship: Is friendship lasting? Is it fragile?

Innocence: We often speak of innocence as a good thing. Is it all good? Is it lasting? Is it really a good thing? How can being too innocent get you into trouble?

Now look at which themes came up the most or which one you’d feel most comfortable writing about at length. Then go for it.

April 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm
(10) Grace says:

Blubber, Stupidity, Yo Mama, and Weirdo:

It looks like I need to spend a lot more time on book themes. Thanks for pointing this out. I will work on this and bring more attention to these comments.

September 8, 2008 at 6:01 pm
(11) something says:

this is messed i dont understaand wat the f is it supposed to mean i mean like come on if u wanna help write somthing that will ight!!

October 2, 2008 at 2:49 pm
(12) Blondiee587 says:

I don’t understand… I am looking for the theme of the book “The true story of the three little pigs”

October 8, 2008 at 8:36 pm
(13) someone says:

nope thats exactly what my teacher said……………

October 25, 2008 at 6:15 pm
(14) rissa13 says:

that doesnt explain anything.wat the hell am i suppose to learn from that?

October 27, 2008 at 2:28 am
(15) Lady_gaga says:

This site is like super helpful and no1 even like understands, omg. I guess not every1 is like heaps rich and pretty and massively smart(like moi!!!!) so u should all go to an easier site: you_are_totally_dum.com. OMG it would really help most of you out!!! love ya! xox

November 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm
(16) isabelleee says:

lmaooo, you guys are freakinn hilarious.
its simple. i get it.
good job explaining. :]

December 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm
(17) katie says:

you just made me pass english

December 17, 2008 at 5:03 pm
(18) hah says:

THIS MEANS that an idea in the book relates to something in life.

January 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm
(19) tonya says:

This article was very helpful. Thanks :)

February 12, 2009 at 8:48 pm
(20) ANGRY says:

that did not help me at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
this article is NO good!

March 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm
(21) davids mom says:

so what is the theme for mice and men? Dummies are hard workers??? Dummies are people too? whatever

July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm
(22) angry dad says:

Je suis confused

August 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm
(23) person says:

blah blah blah. this is not helpful at all. im going to a different site.

August 12, 2009 at 9:06 am
(24) Girl says:


September 12, 2009 at 2:38 pm
(25) girly says:

this was helpful i guess people dont get when something is highlighted and underlined in a bolg you click on it…duh well try it next time it helps!!!!!

October 23, 2009 at 6:14 am
(26) Coder74 says:

To begin with, they are very small indeed. ,

October 29, 2009 at 8:52 am
(27) Mohab says:
November 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(28) Advice says:

may b someone should make a list of possible themes for people 2 get a better idea. For ex: to much power can lead down a path of wrong. Make shure it is a universil theme. (if u dont no what that means googel it.)

November 16, 2009 at 7:52 pm
(29) angell says:

I haven’t read the article but my mom printed the comments off for me and they are…. well.. interesting… lol… i have a theme for new moon by stephenie meyer if you need help with it… lol…

November 16, 2009 at 8:21 pm
(30) angell says:

hey hey there peeps… lol.. that was weird… soooo..if any of u see this post a comment answering my question: Whats uppp?!?!?!?!?!?! lol… :D

November 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm
(31) angell says:

heyy mohab… what do u mean this guy is a failure??? i didnt read the article bu thow is he a failure? lol… :D ttyll.. peopolees…

November 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm
(32) igoodgirl says:

man, this should have listed the certain themes to look for like the ones Grace listed, this wasnot helpful.

March 29, 2010 at 1:03 am
(33) where smart people exist says:

u guys are retarded.

May 29, 2010 at 10:43 am
(34) Mud says:

Our English teacher seems to have a different definition of theme. Instead of it being something like ‘love’, ‘death’, or ‘coming of age’ (she calls these topics), they would need to be more message-like. For example ‘love makes people do foolish things’ or ‘coming of age is a difficult experience’.
I’m not sure how to find this kind of theme.

June 15, 2010 at 1:45 pm
(35) cara says:

So many people here are writing as if on their mobiles, perhaps they need to be taught how to write plain English before they can understand anything more.

August 1, 2010 at 12:20 am
(36) mik says:

what is your source?????

November 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm
(37) silly says:


December 3, 2010 at 7:26 pm
(38) Beautifulllll;) says:

WTH? is tht suposd to mean?

December 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm
(39) eraser says:

PEOPLE: click the link!!! maybe doing so would be helpful!!!

December 8, 2010 at 8:59 pm
(40) apple says:

you stupid people you never even said what it ment

March 31, 2011 at 11:37 pm
(41) Amazed -_- says:

Woooooooooooow!! You guys are completley retarted! Thos blue bold words there are called a LINK and you click it to get the information that she is talkin about! Sorry Grace i guess next time u need a fat arrow pointing to the link so people can get it! God…sometimes i think evolution may be goin backwards -_-”

August 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm
(42) Bryanna says:

I still don’t get what theme meaanss ! /:

October 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm
(43) s18 says:

i still dont know how to write about the theme. does anyone know the theme of shiver??????

October 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm
(44) JESSICA says:


December 4, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(45) AMAZING GIRL says:

a theme is simular to the moral of a story. an overall meaning of what happened throughout the book

December 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm
(46) *ZARIA :)* says:

What is the theme of the book “The Gathering” by kelley armstrong. PLEASE HELP ME!!!

December 14, 2011 at 10:20 am
(47) yomama says:

figure it out, themes are simple, you read the book, figure out what’s going on, and find what it’s telling you, if this is just for homework then suck it up and buy a frigen brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm
(48) Chris says:

It seems to me the ‘theme’ of this blog is lazy students not wanting to actually THINK and do the work themselves….I find it ironic that most of the responses question how the author’s post is suppossed to help them ‘learn’…..If you truly want to learn, you will seek out the information yourself, and not complain when somebody won’t do the work for you…………………….

January 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm
(49) Jordan says:

im trying to find the theme of The Son of Neptune but I wasted my time for this and failed :(

February 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm
(50) Maria Kuipers says:

Has anyone read the book dementia: frank and lindas story?

February 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm
(51) teehhee says:

i dont understand !!!!!
has anyone read the maze runner can somebody help me figure out what the theme is?

October 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm
(52) someone... says:

WTF this doesnt explain anything…..i need help!!!!!!!!!!!!!! post the freakin answer!

August 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm
(53) AwesomePerson567 says:

this does not help me at all

November 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm
(54) tai says:

basically its what the author wants you to take away from the book like maybe its everyone isn’t who they are or silence doesn’t help anyone

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.