Concepts, Themes, and Premises…oh my, what???

Just to clarify, if the title isn’t a helpful hint, we are working on our story themes this week and turns out…themes, subjects, concepts, premises, etc. etc. etc.  are not synonymous.  Also turns out that there are a whole bunch of people on the wonderful information-filled web who believe some of those terms have the same definition.  Needless to say, this made defining my story’s theme that much more difficult.

Click image to find this book on Amazon,

Click image to find this book on Amazon.

A couple of definitions from my lecture notes and textbook (^^^depicted above ^^^)

Theme: “A theme conveys a concept.  It is the over arching message you want your story to convey to your audience.” (Concept being the one word or short phrase like ‘love’ or ‘war’ and the theme being something you want people to learn about that concept like ‘love heals all wounds’ or ‘war destroys nations’, that kind of thing…)

Premise: “A theme is what you are trying to say, a premise is why you believe to be true or false and want to prove.”

I found a few sites that helped me  with clarifying the difference between these three literary terms and defining what I thought the major theme was for my story.  This particular page was my favorite of the ones I perused.  I think it was meant for students critiquing/analyzing literary works, but it gave me questions to work through with my story and helped me organize my thoughts.  (I may or may not have also given my hubby a list of the questions and had him write his answers for the story to compare.)

Can anyone give more clarification on the differences between these literary terms?



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