A story, a fictional work or an art work is based on a theme, a plot, a setting and a moral that makes the story running. May it be a theme or the moral both have their significance and purposes to serve. The theme of the story is the subject matter of the story and the moral is a teaching or a message.
Although the theme and moral are overlapping concepts with one another but they have a fine line in between them. However, there is a vast difference between them.
Theme vs Moral
The difference between the theme and moral is that the theme is a central idea that a writer follows throughout the story or on which the complete story is based and is usually conveyed by the characters, plot and the setting of a story, on the other hand, the moral of a story is the lesson or teaching that the author is trying to tell through the story.
The moral of a story can be the theme of the story but vice versa is not necessarily true.
Comparison Table Between Theme and Moral
|Parameter of Comparison||Theme||Moral|
|Dictionary definition||A topic or subject of discussion, a unifying and dominant idea of a story or book.||An idea that is concerned with the concept of right-doing and wrong-doing or the principles of life and ethical behavior, a lesson learned from a story.|
|Purpose||The theme of a story tells the basic idea behind the story.||To teach the reader about a real-life principle.|
|Appearance in the story||Appears several times in the story through characters, plots, etc.||The moral of the story usually comes at the end of the story.|
|Stating||The theme of the story is not directly stated but is identified through understanding.||The moral of the story is usually stated in the end, however, nowadays authors may or may not state the moral.|
|Identification||The theme is identified through repeated occurrence and words.||The moral is generally confined in a statement.|
What is the Theme?
A theme is a central topic of discussion in the story and is the most important part of a story. It is the concept on which the work is based and progresses on it, in other words, it is a pattern followed throughout. Without a theme, a fictional work is imbalanced and incomplete because it is the unifying idea behind a story. It is the idea along which the story builds up and usually depicts a particular instance.
A single story may have multiple themes. A theme appears several times throughout the story and is depicted in the story through characters, plots and the setting of the story. The theme is not stated directly in the story, authors usually leave it to the readers to understand the theme of the story.
The theme of the story is identified through its characters and plots, through the recurring occurrence of the words and sentences. Common examples of the theme include patriotism, love, compassion, forgiveness, revenge, war, betrayal, etc.
What is Moral?
The moral of the story is a lesson learned from the story or a message conveyed through it. The moral is the idea concerning the right and wrong things and the principles to be followed in the life and the ethical behavior one should have. A moral is usually a real-life experience and the values in human life.
Usually, a story has one moral that is explained throughout the story. The moral of the story is stated at the end of the story and is a single lined statement conveyed. The purpose of the moral is to teach someone a lesson that may be of importance to their life.
The morals in the stories of the storybooks for children play an important role in their developmental process since they don’t have a perception of their own in the early years of their life. They are intended for teaching purposes only.
Nowadays, authors prefer not to state morals in the story and leave it for the readers to understand. Therefore, the writings of the current times depend more on the understanding of the reader.
Main Differences Between Theme and Moral
- The theme of the story is the subject matter of discussion in the story while the moral of the story is a lesson that a story conveys.
- The theme of the story tells the basic idea conveyed in the story while the moral of the story teaches a lesson that is implemented in real life.
- The theme of the story appears several times throughout the story depicted through characters and plot whereas the moral of the story is usually written at the end of the story.
- The theme of the story is not stated directly, it is left for the readers to understand while the moral of the story is stated in the end, however, authors now prefer not to state and leave it to the understanding of a person.
- The theme is identified through the occurrence of the words, characters, etc while the moral is a statement.
- The purpose of the theme is to develop the story on its line while the purpose of the moral is to teach the reader or convey a lesson to the reader, it teaches a person about what is right and what is wrong, about the principles of life, about the ethical behavior that a person should have.
- A story can have multiple themes but usually a single moral.
People usually confuse the two with one another however, they are different. The theme is the storyline of the fictional work and the moral of the story is a lesson that is conveyed in the story.
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