Exercises - Theme Definitions and Identifying The Theme in a Story

Now that you have read the “Theme” section, it is time to see what you know so far and practice learning how to put your central idea or message into your own work.

1. Definitions Practice

Match each word with its definition:

  1. Simple theme
  2. Theme
  3. Minor theme
  4. Implied theme

  • The central idea or message in a literary work.
  • The moral of a story.
  • An idea that appears once or once in a while during the story.
  • A general idea that have interested people throughout time.

2. Some Examples of Themes Talked About in The Section

Match the theme(s) with the story listed below. Some of these themes were talked about in the first lesson in the section, others are from childhood stories.

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. Lilo and Stitch
  3. Little Red Riding Hood
  4. The Three Little Pigs
  5. The Lion King
  6. Goldilocks and The Three Bears
  7. The Tortoise and the Hare
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Cinderella

  • Respect other’s property and have manners.
  • Life and Death--it is a never-ending cycle.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; love can conquer all.
  • Forbidden love; ridiculous fighting may end in tragedy.
  • The importance of family and togetherness.
  • Hard work and patience pays off in the end since the last house, which was built with bricks and took even longer to build, was not knocked down.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Be true to yourself; love will find its way if you believe.
  • Don’t talk to strangers.

3. Fill in The Blanks


  1. A ________ is the central idea or message in a literary work. The main idea or message is found under the writing. Not all literary work has a ________.

  2. The theme does not appear just once, but several times throughout a story. This is known as the _____________. The author will continue to visit the major theme in his work. In Romeo and Juliet, the families of Romeo and Juliet forbade them from seeing each other. Shakespeare’s message was true love conquers all.

  3. The ____________is an idea that appears once or once in a while during the story. Again, in the story________________, the minor theme Shakespeare touches on the ridiculousness of fighting that can in the end, end in tragedy. Another minor theme in the story is young love never runs smoothly.