Distinguishing Main Idea from Theme

Summary v Main Idea
Let ’ s back up. The difference between a drumhead and a independent mind is length. They both provide merely the important details from the text, but the main idea sums up the text in a single conviction. consequently, a chief estimate is defined as a single-sentence drumhead .

  • For informational texts, introduce main idea with the concept of newspaper headlines. In a single statement (minus an end mark), newspapers identify an article’s topic and its specific angle or main idea in its headline.
  • For literature, main ideas are communicated using the frame Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then. Cinderella wanted to go to the ball, but her evil stepmother wouldn’t let her go, so

    she got a fairy godmother and then met her Prince Charming.

Main Idea v Theme
Before contrasting independent estimate versus theme, let ” s beginning solidify the definition of subject .
root is a lesson, a moral, something that we learn through fictional character choices and experiences. It ’ s not a 1-3 give voice subject ( for example, friendship ) but a prison term ( for example, Friendship can be found in strangers. ) .
Since both themes and main ideas are communicated in single-sentence statements, then duration is NOT the distinguish characteristic.

The big remainder is that main-idea sentences always include specific details about the text ( for example, character names, specific places, finical events ). Reread the Cinderella example above. In one ( long ) prison term, the lector learns the specific fictional character, her problem, and its solution .
however, thematic statements are much more global. They never identify details from a specific text. Rather, they frequently use words like People should… One needs to… Individuals can… This is to emphasize that the life sentence lesson the character learned is applicable to the reader, besides .
Examples of themes within Cinderella include :

  • One should never quit wishing, because dreams really can come true.
  • Eventually, good people triumph over those who are evil.

Notice that this one text has several themes. There is no single “ right answer ” to a text ’ mho theme interview. In fact, push students to consider multiple lessons learned by the versatile characters. Some themes will be more obvious and are further developed that others. But there are constantly hints at multiple life lessons.

Specific v Broad
You could read four texts with four different sets of characters each with a unlike problem that gets solved. Each text, consequently, would have a DIFFERENT main-idea conviction .
however, those same four stories might all have the SAME theme. They might all reveal that “ Friendship can come in the form of strangers. ”
This is another differentiation between independent mind and theme. Although the lapp broad theme can apply to multiple text, each text will constantly have its own specific main idea .

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