What are the most importent themes in the book "The Thorn Birds" by Collen McCullough?im making a essay and im having trouble finding more than 4 themes, without repeating myself when i...

What are the most importent themes in the book "The Thorn Birds" by Collen McCullough?

im making a essay and im having trouble finding more than 4 themes, without repeating myself when i talk about it .

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This book is a saga, a long-winded story tracing an Irish family's three-generation history throughout a multitude of plots or subplots.

One theme concerns the difficulty in reconciling one's desires and longings with the concrete limitations of one's existence. Is a person fulfilled simply by getting what (or who) one really wants or is it rather the satisfaction of living a coherent life respectfully within a certain perimeter of choice?

Another theme evolves around the individual within the family unit. A person is not just a person; he or she is a family member and has to consider the well-being of the group. Along these lines, also consider the ethnic and religious identity of the family as a whole. The Cleary family needs to preserve its Irish roots but yet needs to maintain its established identity on Australian soil.

Another subject of exploration is the limited role of women at the time. For instance, Meggie's daughter Justine seeks the self-affirmation and liberty her mother never enjoyed.

Also consider the smudged lines of good and evil in both motivation and act. Is everybody manipulative if the stress (or the stakes) get too high? To what extent does the end really justify the means? One could ask Father Bricassart these questions.

I don't know the four themes you have found so far, but consider these leit motifs of conflict of loyalties and mutating self-identity as a start.

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The Thorn Birds

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