Theme vs Moral
Remember the times when you were a kid and your parents insisted on you reading story books where every story ended with the sentence ‘The moral of this story is…’? This was because they wanted you understand the importance of a religious truth, or they wanted you imbibe a strong universal value. There is another word theme that causes confusion in the minds of the readers as there are similarities in the two concepts of theme and moral. However, theme is often the central idea of a story or a novel and not necessarily the moral or the lesson drawn from it. There are many other differences also that will be talked about in this article.
The underlying concept, the central idea, or the topic of a text, story, or novel is referred to as its theme. It is not to be confused with the message that the writer wants to convey to the public as it is a separate concept. The theme is rarely stated, and it has to be understood by the reader. Sometimes the writer implies the theme of the story in a subtle manner. Universal values such as love, compassion, justice, betrayal, friendship, and honesty are the themes of the stories most of the times.
The theme of a story can be identified at many points, and it is a general concept already known to the reader rather than be stated at the end of the story as a message or a lesson. Greed or lust can be the theme of a story, but it can’t be a lesson until reader gets to draw a lesson from the story.
A moral is a lesson drawn from a story or a novel that may be stated at the end of the story by the author or it may be implicit in the text and has to be deciphered by the reader. It was a common feature of stories and fables in ancient times to enable young ones to learn something from the text to imbibe and apply in their own lives. While ending the stories with ‘The moral of the story is….’ was very popular early on, it has gone out of fashion in modern times and is mostly implicit in the story itself. Love is a universal value that is found as a theme in most stories but love thy neighbor is a moral that is sent across as a message or lesson in many stories by authors.
What is the difference between Theme and Moral?
• Theme and moral are overlapping concepts with minor differences.
• Theme is the central idea of a text that is implied by the author several times in a book or a story while moral is the message or the lesson that the author wants readers to get from the story.
• While the moral of a story was stated at the end of a story (children’s literature) in earlier times, it is implicit and not stated by the author nowadays.
• There can be several themes in a story, but moral is always singular.
• Themes are mostly universal values such as love, compassion, fidelity, honesty etc.