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110 Examples of Literary Themes

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A literary theme is the central topic and message of a story. These are recurring or underlying ideas that can be conveyed through any element of storytelling such as plot, dialog, characters, metaphor and imagery. It is common for a single story to have many themes. Literary themes can be simplistic, obvious and cliche such as a good vs evil story where the good person predictably wins. Literary themes can also involve great complexity such as paradoxes, grey areas and questions that are difficult to answer. The following are common literary themes.
Acceptance of Fate
Coming of Age
Complexity of Morality
Consequences of Actions
Cycles of Fate
Descent into Madness
Divine Intervention
Eternal Love
Fall From Grace
Fate & Free Will
Fear of the Future
Forbidden Love
Fragility of Life
Hero's Journey
Hubris & Pride
Identity Crisis
Inevitability of Fate
Inner Demons
Journey Home
Limits of Knowledge
Loss & Grief
Loss of Innocence
Love Triangle
Lovers In Dangerous Times
Man vs. Machine
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Society
Meaning of Success
Moral Ambiguity
Nature of Beauty
Nature of Desire
Nature of Evil
Nature of Memory
Nature of Power
Nature of Reality
Nature of Time
Nature of the Hero
Nature vs. Nurture
Outcasts as Heroes
Overcoming Adversity
Overcoming Fears
Paradox of Freedom
Passage of Time
Power Corrupts
Power of Hope
Power of the Imagination
Power of the Individual
Predestined Love
Pursuit of Happiness
Quest For Knowledge
Quest For Perfection
Quest For Revenge
Rags to Riches
Reason vs. Emotion
Rebel Without a Cause
Rebellion Against Fate
Redemptive Love
Rural vs. City Life
Sacrifice For Love
Sacrifice For the Greater Good
Search For Identity
Search For Justice
Search For Meaning
Search For Truth
Second Chances
Spiritual Awakening
Star-crossed Lovers
Strength vs. Weakness
Struggle Against Temptation
Struggle For Freedom
Struggle For Survival
Survival of the Fittest
The Absurdity of Life
The American Dream
The Antihero
The Call to Adventure
The Chosen One
The Complexity of Human Relationships
The Cost of War
The Cursed Object
The Dark Lord
The Futility of War
The Ghosts of the Past
The Guardian Angel
The Human Condition
The Human Psyche
The Illusion of Control
The Illusion of Reality
The Meaning of Life
The Mysterious Stranger
The Outsider
The Power of Words
The Reluctant Hero
The Road Less Traveled
The Road to Redemption
The Sands of Time
The Secret Identity
The Struggle to Belong
The Underdog
The Unlikely Hero
The Weight of Responsibility
Time Paradoxes
Tradition vs. Modernity
Tragic Hero
Tragic Romance
Twists of Fate
Unrequited Love
Utopia
Value of Friendship
Whirlwind Romance

Overview

Literary themes are the overarching story and deep message and meaning to be found in fiction and related works such as films.

Summary

Selected themes from the list above that have much culture behind them.

Literature

This is the complete list of articles we have written about literature.
Analogy
Atmosphere
Callback
Character Flaws
Cliche
Deus Ex Machina
Dry Humor
Epic
High Culture
Humor
Kairos
Literary Themes
Literature
Lost The Plot
Macguffin
Metaphor
Mood
Myth
Non Sequitur
Peak-End Rule
Pop Culture
Quibble
Rule Of Three
Sarcasm
Satire
Slice Of Life
Storytelling
Tone
Understatement
Verbal Irony
White Rabbit
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