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Analyzing the Author

Analyzing the Author

Author: Marble Happy

To be able to pull out common themes from a particular author's work and analyze.

Ever wonder why you like a particular author? In the following packet, we will look at how to pull common themes from an author's works and analyze those themes for your preferences.

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What is a theme?

The theme of a literary work is its underlying central idea or the generalization it communicates about life. The theme expresses the author's opinion, raises a question about human nature or the meaning of human experience. At times the author's theme may not confirm or agree with your own beliefs. Even then, if skillfully written, the work will still have a theme that illuminates some aspects of true human experience.  

What's the difference between a subject and a theme?

A piece of literature may have both a subject and a theme. The subject is the specific topic of the selection. The theme is the generalization about life at large that the author leads you to see.

Let me put it another way...


How do I use themes to analyze an author?

Many authors use a common theme in the bulk of their writing.

For example:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes series - all followed the "Big Mystery" theme

Nora Roberts - mostly follows the "Love and Friendship" theme with a hefty dose of "Big Mystery" theme added in to the mix

John Steinbeck - often used "Capriciousness of Fate" as a theme in his works. In "The Pearl", a man finds a pearl of great value, only to find he has lost everything else he held dear.


Once you have identified a writer's common theme(s), you have a good indication of what future works will cover and whether you will be interested in reading more.

Common Themes