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What is the difference between a main idea and a theme?
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- is a central (or main) idea that is prevalent throughout the novel or text.
- is an idea presented by the author that applies to the text but can be brought out of the book and applied to the world as well.
- might teach a lesson, but is not simply "the moral" of the story.
- is a deeper or more complex truth about a subject in the story that can be supported with plot details, BUT
- is not a summary of the plot.
High School Teacher
I think if we are talking raw semantics here, I would explain the difference between a main idea and a theme by going into more depth on the explanation of "theme."
When asking students to identify the "main idea" of a piece of text, very often it is as simple as identifying the subject of a paragraph, or the most important event or detail of a chapter in a novel.
A theme, however, goes beyond paragraphs and chapters. I explain this literary element to my students using the following list.
To me, the term "main idea" does not, by nature, span as broadly as the term "theme," and therefore could, in some cases, be a retelling of a portion of the plot.
Posted by clairewait on April 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM (Answer #1)
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