Any analysis of a literary work begins with the definition of its theme and idea. Between them there is a close semantic and logical connection, through which the artistic text is perceived as an integral unity of form and content. A correct understanding of the meaning of the literary terms topic and idea allows you to determine how accurately the author has managed to translate his creative intent and whether his book is worth the attention of the reader.
The theme of a literary work is a semantic definition of its content, reflecting the author’s vision of the depicted phenomenon, event, character or other artistic reality.
The idea is the writer’s intention, pursuing a certain goal in creating artistic images, using the principles of plot construction and achieving the compositional integrity of the literary text.
What is the difference between a theme and an idea?
Figuratively speaking, the theme can be considered any reason that prompted
the writer to take up the pen and transfer to a blank sheet of paper reflected in the artistic images of the perception of the surrounding reality. You can write about anything; another question: for what purpose, what task should we set ourselves?
The goal and the task determine the idea, the disclosure of which constitutes the essence of aesthetically valuable and socially significant literary work.
Among the variety of literary themes, there are several main directions that serve as reference points for the flight of the creative imagination of the writer. These are historical, social, everyday, adventure, detective, psychological, moral and ethical, lyrical, philosophical themes. The list can be continued. It will include original author’s notes, and literary diaries, and stylistically honed extracts from archival documents.
The theme, felt by the writer, acquires a spiritual content, an idea, without which the book page will remain simply a coherent text. The idea can be reflected in the historical analysis of problems that are important for society, in depicting complex psychological moments
on which human destiny depends, or simply in creating a lyrical sketch that awakens a sense of beauty from the reader.
The idea is the deep content of the work. The theme is a motive that allows to realize a creative intention within the framework of a concrete, precisely designated context.
The difference between a theme and an idea
The theme determines the actual and semantic content of the work.
The idea reflects the tasks and goals of the writer, which he seeks to achieve by working on an artistic text.
The theme has form-forming functions: it can be disclosed in small literary genres or developed in a large epic work.
The idea is the main content of the artistic text. It corresponds to the conceptual level of the organization of the work as an aesthetically significant whole.