Difference Between Main Idea and Theme in Literature

There are numerous ways for writers to show their feelings or thoughts in writing. Some authors use writing to teach audiences a message or raise awareness about a particular question or scenario.

The majority of the time, authors’ narratives are lengthy and complicated. The terms Main Idea and Theme are a part of the writer’s tales and thoughts.

Main Idea vs Theme 

The main difference Between Main Idea and Theme in Literature is that the main idea is the general objective of the paragraph or text, and it is closely relevant to the subject of the section and is sometimes explicitly stated in the purpose statement of the writing. Whereas a theme is just the central focus of the story, there are two themes: thematic notion and thematic assertion.

Main Idea vs Theme

The main idea in a sentence or bigger portion of literature is by far the most essential or key concept that informs the reader whatever the work is about.

The main idea is frequently expressed as a statement, and it really is typically the opening paragraph of a tale that explains the storyline involved.

Theme is the core concept or moral of a tale or situation. In other terms, a topic is a specific statement that an author wishes to express throughout his writings.

It is also possible for a plotline to have two or maybe more themes, like in the case of the plot about empowering women, but it does have the theme of hard work paying off.

Comparison Table Between Main Idea and Theme in Literature

Parameters of ComparisonMain IdeaTheme
MeaningThe passage’s or statement’s main idea is intimately linked to the passage’s or text’s subject, and it is sometimes specifically explained in the document’s purpose statement.The thematic notion, as well as thematic assertion, are two types of themes in a writing.
Point of OriginationThe main idea typically originates from the storyline and also the people in the storyline.The main idea typically originates from the storyline and also the people in the storyline.
UniquenessThe main idea of a Storyline is distinct and unique.There isn’t really unique or distinct when it comes to the storyline.
Found or ExpressedThe main idea may or may not be found/expressed in the narrative.The theme is almost never mentioned and must be deduced from the storyline.
ExamplesThe purpose statement during the first section, for instance, may include the main idea of a shorter storyline.The theme, on the other hand, is rarely stated in terms of the storyline. It’s more than just books and paragraphs. It is necessary to read and digest the complete storyline in order to grasp the theme.

What is Main Idea?

The fundamental idea of a paragraph or text is one of the main ideas. It is inextricably linked to the passage’s theme and, in certain situations, expressed explicitly in the text’s subject line.

When we’re talking about brief pieces of text, this one is frequently the case. Furthermore, the main idea is commonly derived from the storyline and also the story’s components.

Determining the main idea is not challenging; it could be as easy as recognizing the topic of a specific paragraph and the most crucial aspect or incident of a novel section.

Finding the main idea of a tale might be complex at times, mainly if the story is quite long! A story may contain more than just the main idea in various cases.

A few of the easiest methods to discover the main idea is to find out what isn’t the primary idea initially.

The topic of the story, or the core matter, is what it’s all about. For instance, the Harry Potter series might be about ‘witchcraft’ or ‘wizardry.’ However, that’s not the fundamental point; that isn’t the more significant picture notion.

What is Theme?

A theme would be a central focus, matter, or statement within a story in current literary theory. Themes are classified into two types: thematic concepts and thematic reports.

A story’s thematic idea is also what readers “believe the piece is all about,” as well as its thematic assertion is “whatever the work implies well about the matter.” 

Themes and venues are frequently distinct. One of the most popular definitions of the theme is a core idea or element in a story that can sometimes be wrapped up in a single phrase.

Conflicts between the people and community; coming of age; people at odds with innovation; nostalgia; and the risks of unrestrained ambitions are classic examples of a similar theme.

Any theme inside a story might be represented through a person’s thoughts, words, or ideas. One instance might be the theme of isolation in John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men.

Main Differences Between Main Idea and Theme in Literature

  1. The core subject of a text is called a theme, and it is typically the morals or message of a work of literature. The main idea, from the other end, is the most significant or central concept of a sentence or larger portion of text that informs the reader whatever the work is about.
  2. To understand the narrative’s theme (primary issue or moral), one must read the entire background. The main idea, from the other end, is normally a sentence, as well as it is often the opening statement.
  3. The theme is the definite meaning determined by the viewers from the entire context. The most conspicuous statement in the situation is usually the main idea.
  4. The main idea may or may not be found/expressed in the narrative. The theme is almost never mentioned and must be deduced from the storyline.
  5. A theme can be a message or an instruction, or it can be a true embodiment. The main idea, on the other hand, is a particular element of contextual information.


A theme is a message, moral, what we acquire from the events and experiences of the characters. It is not a 1-3 line topic (for example, friendships) but a statement.

Since both themes and primary concepts are expressed in single-sentence assertions, duration is NOT a distinctive feature. Thematic opinions, on the other hand, are far more general.

They cannot specify particular textual aspects. Instead, they frequently utilize terms such as People must… One must… Individuals have the ability…

This is to underline that perhaps the life lesson gained by the protagonist applies to the reader as well.


  1. https://www.proquest.com/openview/0942ce3fa46a9f25cbf3f815565cfedd/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/748046
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