What is the theme of the book Every Day by David Levithan?

Expert Answers
laurniko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most important themes in Every Day by David Levithan is identity. A is unable to fully create their own identity because they don't have a body or a history. When A falls in love and creates a real relationship for the first time, they become increasingly aware of how their lack of concrete identity hampers their existence. 

A lives each day in a different person's body. Through trial and error, they've learned to make as few changes as possible to the person's life. A picks up context clues and tries to get through each day without alerting people that they've taken control of that person's body during the day. When A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of Justin, who A is controlling, A falls in love. When Nathan, a boy A controls, remembers pieces of the experience and calls A a demon, A struggles with the idea that they might be evil. 

A major shift in A's personal identity occurs when they realize there are others who control people's bodies -- and that Poole, the other entity A meets is, seemingly, evil. When A finds out that they can stay in one body, it appears that A is going to take the body of an attractive, kind, loved boy who can fulfill what Rhiannon wants. Instead, A leaves that body and moves to a new area so that he won't be tempted to stay in contact with Rhiannon. 

A's struggle to define their identity is complicated, because there is nothing real about A, other than the emails that A sends back to their own account. A has no gender. When A is in a female body, A is a female. When A is in a male body, A is a male. A has no specific sexual preference. A is shaped by their experiences, like all people -- but doesn't have the defined identity that comes from living one life. A can't say that they're a son or daughter or boy or girl or anything -- A's identity shifts every day depending on what body A is controlling. 

Levithan explores the concept of identity by showcasing A's search for a sense of self through his relationship with Rhiannon. When A ultimately decides it's not right to keep someone else's body and leaves, A is choosing who A wants to be. A is choosing to reject the identity of the demon that was thrust upon them by Nathan throughout the novel. A could choose to possess one person, could choose power, but instead chooses to live by the moral code that A themself created -- and walks away from love. 

boomer-sooner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The overall theme of the book is love; however, the real theme is much deeper.  The book is written from the perspective of A, who is neither male nor female, homo- or heterosexual.  A is described by the author as "purely self."  A is an entity which jumps from body to body each day adopting each new self as his (I'll use the masculine pronoun just to make it easier) own for the day, experiencing religions, ethnicity, and society through different eyes.

The ability of A to impose himself into different bodies is getting closer to the crux of the theme.  Can a being (or person) put aside all notions of society and interact freely with everyone else OR are people so hardwired into social constructs that conflict is inevitable?

The theme would end there if not for A falling in love with Rhiannon.  This brings a new complication to A's life.  Can Rhiannon love him in return despite the shifting physical and social typecast of life?  As a gay author, Levithan uses this as the basic theme of the book.  Is love constrained to remain defined by the traditional notions or can it transcend race, gender, nationality and even personality?  If love can transcend the notion of society, then can people who truly love accept everyone as a being, or self, rather than as white, black, Christian or Jewish?

jgareis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A theme is an essential idea or meaning explored in a narrative. There could (and usually are) several in any given novel. One of the themes developed in Levathin's Every Day is the search for happiness. Interwoven into the theme of happiness are the themes of homosexuality and personal identity. 

Read the study guide:
Every Day

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question
Additional Links