Skip to content

Theme vs. Thesis: Key Differences and How to Write each

Differences Between Thesis And Theme

Many students confuse between these two terms, a theme and a thesis. In practice, they are two distinct aspects.

By reading the content in this write-up, you will appreciate the difference between the two items. A theme is a central message in a text, whereas a thesis is an argument about a text.

Theme vs. Thesis

While it is possible to write items based on a theme or a project based on a thesis, the two are different. While their focus may seem similar, they are different.

A theme is a focus topic that a writer bases his argument on. It is the direction that guides the points that a writer argues. On the other hand, a thesis is a stand that a writer seeks to prove in his or her writing.

In a theme, a writer bases points on a concept, but in a thesis, the writer writes to prove a specific assertion.

A theme and a thesis are two different items that we can elaborate through the following points:  

outlining differences
  • A theme is the crucial idea of the piece of literature or any art you are writing about.
  • It is the recurrent idea in your work before you identify other elements such as characters, conflict, setting, and plot.
  • A thesis is a statement that you will try to prove by backing it with necessary facts. It is a position that the author takes to maintain a particular argument.

Differences between a Theme and a Thesis

  • A theme is the general topic of your essay, whereas a thesis is the precise statements that the author tries to prove.
  • A theme could be more general as the writer cannot necessarily state it expressly. On the other hand, a thesis is a direct message at the beginning of the paragraph that indicates what the entire paper will be talking about.
  • A theme is the motif of the piece or an underlying idea, whereas the thesis is the argument in favor of something that you believe you are presenting to your audience.

How to Write a Theme Based Essay

A theme-based essay writes about something based on a theme that you can derive from a novel, song, or short story. Before you begin to write such an essay, you should identify the underlying theme in your literature work.

Steps When Writing a Theme Based Essay

1. Identify the Character

The odd one out

One should locate the characters that you will discuss in the essay. Such should relate to the identified theme in your essay.

For instance, if you locate ‘violence’ in the novel ‘The Shadow of Death,’ it is reasonable to talk about the characters that promote violence in the novel.

2. Maintain the Chosen Theme

As indicated above, suppose violence is the main theme in the novel, then you should maintain the same thing by writing about violence.  Such could include incidences of violence, including blood baths and more.

The point is you should endeavor to remain as close to the theme of violence by highlighting incidences and situations from the novel, drama, or story.

3. Avoid Mixing the Theme with the Key Subject

A theme is not a plot but an idea that binds up the story. It is the message that the author wants to convey to the audience or the readers. It is, therefore, wrong to try to write on the plot or story. Stick to the idea only.

Let your thoughts remain organized and well-knitted in the essay body. In the same vein, the body should relate to the central theme as you refer to the characters and incidents in the source matter.

How to Write a Thesis

One can use the following steps to come up with a strong thesis statement:

Start with a Question

start thesis with question

One should come up with a question in case the assignment did not offer the question.

After that, you should state your topic, which is the essential idea of the paper.

This thesis statement is usually a phrase or a few words that summarize the main subject of your paper.

The thesis statement makes the topic to be as precise as possible.

Write an Initial Answer

After performing initial research, it is now time to formulate a tentative answer. At this point, it could be just simple, or you can craft it to guide the process of writing and researching.

In case you are writing an argumentative essay, your answer should take a position on the matter. This is different from a thesis statement. Check more about thesis statements to know the idea of the two.

Develop the Answer

This section should prove why you believe it is your answer and convince the reader to agree with your position.

The more you write about the topic, the more you develop more details for your response. The final essay should summarize your overall arguments.

One should know what they are trying to prove in a topic. While you are expressing your opinion, it is vital to state one major idea. Also, you should name the topic and state something specific about it.

Furthermore, you should take a position and back it up with facts and reasons as an author. It is vital to support your reasons with evidence and logical facts.

Include Opposing Viewpoint

The correct thesis statement should acknowledge that there is another side of the argument. It is excellent to include your opposing viewpoints in your opinion. It is also essential to capture another person’s view who may have a different opinion about your topic.