A theme is a “topic with a message” that is addressed in a text. It is not just a topic (ex: love); it’s a message/ statement/ claim about the topic. Often, but not always, that claim is delivered in a “should” statement. Here are some examples of themes from about parent-child love I have read in many texts over the years: Children are the most important product of a marital relationship. Parents should unconditionally love their children. Children should plan on taking care of their parents as they age. Remember, nobody is asking you to “agree or disagree” with a theme — but in reading any text you should be able to analyze it enough from a close reading to understand what theme is being communicated. For example, after reading The Iliad the first time, I thought to myself that one theme that seemed apparent to me was: Women exist to serve the needs of men. One has only only to look at the objectification of the rape victims, the way Achillles’ mother is portrayed, the way Helen is essentially an object, and Hecuba and Andromache’s legitimate worries are ignored to see that this is a theme. Do I agree with this message? No, I don’t! But I can see how that is a theme that stands out in this text. There are many examples of human love relationships in The Aeneid. In the course of this text, we learn of Aeneas’ relationships with his wife, his father, his son, and Dido. You should plan on writing 2-3 paragraphs in which you:choose a relationship from the text;
explain what is known about that relationship from The Aeneid;
include at least three citations (book #, line #) to specific points of information about the relationship; and
explain what the theme is that seems to emerge from the relationship.