MESSAGE AND THEME

MESSAGE:

The message generally tends to be the point the author is trying to convey to the reader and/or audience. This could be a deep thought on how something should be or why something is the way it is. The author could also be trying to get his or her opinion across to veiwers. There can be multiple messages in a book.

EX: In the book "I Am Number Four", the author has many messages, one of which is the problem of pollution and the other message is race, along the lines of racism. Pittacus Lore, the author of "I Am Number Four", showed to different outcomes to the message of pollution. One being the complete destruction of a planet. The inhabitants did not try to change their ways and thus, their planet decayed. The other being the perseverance to make a difference in habits to prolong the livability of a planet.

EX: Fablehaven, a series by Brandon Mull, spreeds the message of how important family is. Kendra and Seth, the lead characters, face many obstacles, but the one thing they always have with them is their family. Their family supports them in emotionally and mentally stressful situations. Their family always helps them to escape dire predicamints they commonly face.

EX: "Evermore" shows the challenges of a young girl, Ever. The biggest message from this novel is that their will be tough decisions to make in life. Decisions that could be life changing or even life threatening.

EX: In the book "Catcher in the Rye", Holden Caulfield is seen constantly nitpicking about the happenings going on around him. Once we realize that Holden is J.D. Salinger's projection of himself, we start to learn what he thinks of the world around him.

EX: A message in Spongebob is that friends should stick together. (Think of F.U.N.)
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EX: In the movie Avatar, James Cameron uses the message that those who destroy nature instead of protect it will only end up destroying themselves.

THEME:

The theme is a reocurring idea. In fiction the theme is usually about life and the behaviors of characters. Themes are a list of character's thoughts that develop to become more justified at the end of the story. Unlike messages themes are not intended to teach the reader, instead themes have to be interpreted by the reader based on the actions and thoughts of the characters.
A list of common themes include:
  • Man struggles against nature
  • Man struggles against society
  • Man struggles against himself
  • Crime does not pay
  • Death is a part of life

EX: In "I Am Number Four", a reocurring theme is to have hope. This is illustrated through the protagonist as he faces struggles and starts to lose his faith in what he's been trying to accomplish. John, the protagonist, is told by his guardian Henri to keep his head up and John soon realizes the importance in having hope and that helps him move on. Their are even subtle hints of the importance of hope incorporated into the characters thoughts and actions.

EX: "Beautiful Creatures" has the two main characters, Ethan and Lena, breaking away from who they were. The protagonists wanted to get away from their typical, routine life. They move away from their normal lives because they want change.

EX: In Harry Potter, many good characters die. The illustrates that death is a part of life. The struggle between good end evil is also greatly illustrated throughout Harry's adventures.


EX: A reoccuring them in "Shiver" is to enjoy the little things. Readers can see the outcomes of minor actions the main characters miss out on.
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EX: In Star Wars a common theme is the relationship between man and nature as the Jedi try to live in harmony with the natural world. Another theme found in Star wars is the constant struggle against the dark side of "The Force"


EX: A reoccuring them in "Shiver" is to enjoy the little things. Readers can see the outcomes of minor actions the main characters miss out on and the possibilities they had.

EX: "Fairest" makes gestures and small hints that what is on the inside is what makes a person.
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http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780545123266
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http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Fairest-Gail-Carson-Levine/?isbn=9780060734084





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Theme vs. Message

Theme:

  • Reoccurring topic

  • The main subject

  • Not a moral (not the author trying to teach the reader a lesson)

  • Usually focused on people or life

Message:

  • What the author is trying to teach the reader

  • Messages are usually stated my the author while themes my require more interpretation

  • Can be a moral at the end of a book