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Difference between Theme and Topic

Difference between Theme and Topic

Are you confused by the difference between a theme and topic? If so, you’re not alone. Many beginners to content strategy or literature analysis are uncertain of what the two words mean and how they differ from each other. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the definition of both terms, explore examples of themes and topics, understand the difference in depth – all to help you become an expert on these important components of any written text. By the end, you will be able to recognize a theme when it is present in a story or article as well as spot various topics within its pages.

What is a Theme?

  • A Theme is an underlying message in a story or narrative. It is not necessarily stated explicitly and is instead expressed through symbols and character interactions. Theme can be used to tell us the moral of a story, or even teach us universal truths by examining a specific set of characters and situations.
  • The theme allows readers to draw connections between their own life experiences, providing an emotional connection that they can relate to despite living out separate lives.
  • Theme can also be used to explore different aspects of culture, exploring deep-seated beliefs as well as prejudices within society. Theme ultimately unifies the plotline and gives meaning to the characters’ actions, allowing us to explore the true essence of what it means to be human.

What is the Topic?

  • The topic is a broad concept that can refer to an area of study, an idea, or even a project. The topic can be anything from exploring the history of a particular event to devising a plan for a new business venture.
  • The topic can also refer to tasks or situations that require some form of research or creative thought. Regardless of the focus of the topic, understanding what it entails and how to approach it are essential steps for success.
  • Topic-based activities provide beneficial learning opportunities for students in many educational settings and allow professionals in countless industries to hone their skills. Understanding the Topic is key to improving our knowledge and developing our expertise.

Difference between Theme and Topic

Theme and topic can often be confused as having a similar meaning but there is a key difference between them.

  • Theme is more abstract and refers to an underlying message or moral value. This can include concepts such as love, loss, justice, courage, or friendship.
  • Topic, on the other hand, is more concrete and refers to the “what” of the story– the actual plot points and subject matter that are being discussed.
  • Therefore theme goes beyond the topic by encouraging readers to think critically about the underlying values in order to gain insight into how particular characters may act in certain situations.

The theme provides an overall lesson learned and understanding of life while the topic ties directly into what is happening in the story and offers practical information.


The main difference between a theme and topic is that a theme is a general concept while a topic is a specific subject of discussion. The term “theme” can refer to different things, such as an underlying message or meaning in a work of literature, whereas the term “topic” usually refers to the primary subject matter that is being discussed. In order for a work to have coherence, it must have both a unifying theme and consistent topics throughout. Once you understand the distinction between these two terms, you can better analyze the works of others and create cohesive themes in your own writing.

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