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Last updated on Jun 30, 2021

故事的主题是什么?Definitions and Examples


故事的主题可以像“爱”或“孤独”一样广泛(主题concept) or as specific as the idea that “greed is the greatest force in human culture” or “human behavior is the product of upbringing and experience” (both of which are thematicstatements, because they express an opinion about the main theme).

作为作家,保持意识到故事的主题是有帮助的,以便您可以配备指南针,向您展示故事中重要的内容。这将指导您创建吸引读者并加深故事意义的时刻 - 因此,让我们看看为什么主题很重要,以及如何分辨故事的主题是什么。

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Themes make specific stories universal

All stories are about the human condition. Characters are bound by common universal truths of humanity.

Theme of a story | Book cover of Sayaka Murata's Convenience Store Woman

Sayaka Murata’sConvenience Store Woman起初可能不会看起来像一个完全用book. Its protagonist is someone who grounds her entire identity and purpose in being a convenience store worker — to the point where she wishes society accepted that as her ultimate aspiration and stopped pressuring her to date and get married.


虽然日本村田公司的故事是独特的,中央相依lict of her story (individual vs. society) is universal. It should resonate with most readers, making them more invested in the protagonist’s struggles, even if they don't share her specific experiences.

作者can tackle complex ideas through narrative

有时,一本书的主题将采用一个假设的形式,其中故事呈现为“假设”实验。在这里,作者有机会使用人物as imagined case studies of human behavior, examining, for example, how different people react to the same events.

William Golding’s苍蝇之王takes human morality as its central theme. It focuses on a group of boys stranded on an island and forced to fend for themselves. The children soon create their own micro-society on an island, with power structures, internal politics, and, eventually, violence. In short, the novel's thematic statement — its hypothesis — might be “If isolated from society, human beings would not act ‘morally’ anymore.”

Theme | Ralph and Piggy from the 1963 film, Lord of the Flies
Tragically, boys will be boys (Image: British Lion)

通过展示每个角色的经历和对事件的略有不同的看法,戈尔丁探讨了“道德”的复杂程度 - 与他的角色渴望与自己的行为感相符的愿望对比。这样,道德的复杂性就成为了本书的组织力量,这是一个中心的来源tensionthat propels the story forward.

A theme can organize and unite separate narrative strands

并非所有书籍都非常关注单个角色或任务。许多小说和选集都包含多个看似无关的叙述或points of viewunited only by common themes.

James Joyce'sDublinersis made up of fifteen short stories, each set in the Irish capital in the early 20th century. His characters are all, in some way, touch by a sense of social paralysis or futility — something that readers have taken to be representative of Joyce's view on Ireland at the time. And as we meet more of these characters — the schoolboy obsessed with his friend's sister, the unfulfilled poet who's jealous of his old classmate, the bank teller who spurns the chaste affections of a married woman — this sense of stagnation and dread only grows.

Theme of a story | Photograph of Irish band the Dubliners, holding their instruments.
Not these Dubliners.

Much like a music album will have a central concept that elevates it above being the sum of its parts, so too can themes connect disparate story strands in meaningful, insightful ways.

It can be hard to pin down what a story’s theme is, but if you're up to the task, here's a quiz to test your theme-detecting skills with! ️

Test your theme-detecting skills!

See if you can identify five themes from five questions. Takes 30 seconds!

我们希望我们向您展示了必不可少的故事主题。它们不仅仅是一个有趣的技巧 - 没有故事,故事根本就不一样了。



Dennis Fleming says:

25/07/2017 - 16:08


PJ Reece says:

25/07/2017 - 17:29

Thanks -- theme is rarely spoken of. I'd only like to add a word of warning about starting a story with theme. The stories usually suck. They're preachy, awkward, self-conscious. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. But a good story will always contain a theme, even if it takes an independent reader to identify it. A good editor can guide the author into a rewrite based on the theme that has emerged in the story. That's why I love the rewrite phase -- meaning miraculous shows itself.

↪️ Reedsy replied:

25/07/2017 - 18:08

I'd largely agree with you. The human story feels like it should always take pride of place, as that's what the reader will latch on to — however, there are occasions where great books take a macro idea and then find stories illustrate the author's ideas. Thanks for reading!

ATinchini says:

29/07/2017 – 01:15

Usually I discover my theme during the outlining process. I start by describing the MC's life and his moment of conflict, what unleashes his journey and mission. When I describe the MC and one or two other characters, I get a hint of the theme, but I can only see it clearly while writing the early chapters of the first draft.

Rachael says:

30/07/2017 - 03:23

这是一篇非常有用的文章,它也帮助我意识到自己的写作以及我作为一个人的身份,这是一件令人惊讶和令人振奋的事情!回想自己的写作,我认识到,对我最重要的故事都在探索同一情绪 - 我目前正在进行的工作也是如此。照亮!

↪️ Reedsy replied:

31/07/2017 - 10:57

Glad you found it helpful!

Al Pessin says:

01/08/2017 – 20:33

非常感谢您有趣且有用的文章。我有一个问题。您将主题称为(除其他)“痴迷和复仇”和“榜样和英雄崇拜”。但是在我看来,这些是书中解决的主题或问题,而不是主题。对我来说,主题是书对这些问题的看法,因此几乎必须有一个动词,例如“对复仇的痴迷会破坏复仇”或“英雄崇拜是危险的。”这就是作者试图说的。经典的主题“人类对人的不人道”没有动词,但确实意味着有价值的判断 - 不人道被认为是一件坏事。But even here, one can imagine a dystopian novel in which the theme could be “man’s inhumanity to man is necessary for the survival of humanity” in which the population is culled in a future of shortages or due to limited seating on space transport to a new planet when the Earth is about to be destroyed. It’s important for authors to know what they’re writing about, ideally before they start, and certainly before they finish. But I think they need to identify (for themselves) with a fair amount of specificity what it is they want to say about that subject, and write their story accordingly. Thanks again for the article.

Runesmith says:

07/09/2017 – 10:28

Several times I've had a theme emerge: my first novel was supposed to be just a post-apocalyptic adventure, but turned into an exploration of the practicality of pacifism. But if that happens you need to go back and integrate the theme you've discovered into the whole of the writing. And I completely disagree with your view of "Lord of the Flies". It's right there in the title: the boys are not corrupted by the emerging power structure, but by their wild natures, which Golding gives a voice in Simon's delirium before the pig's head. Jack's dominance is just a symptom.

Elizabeth says:

15/11/2019 – 08:27


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