Difference Between Theme and Moral

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 13, 2023

       

Difference Between Theme and Moral

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Introduction

Both theme and moral are an integral part of an act, play, and, more importantly, a story. The two terms can be confusing; they are often considered the same. But they have different roles to play. They both have significance in the fiction and non-fiction world of stories, essays, and, as mentioned above, in acts and plays. They both serve certain purposes, and it is difficult to pen down a story or play without taking into consideration both of them. The theme is more like a subject matter of a write-up, while the moral is more like a message. For academics, defining the two terms is vital. A deep analysis of the two would prove helpful as well.

There are times when the two terms are used interchangeably, the reason being that there are many who cannot appreciate the difference between them. But to enable readers to get a better understanding of the story and to help them analyze and interpret the story in a better manner, distinguishing between theme and moral is extremely crucial. Once the theme has been identified, the reader can appreciate the true depth of the meaning of the story and be on the same page as the writer as far as understanding the message that the writer is trying to convey. This is even more so in the case of the moral of the story. If the reader understands the moral in its entirety, he can apply the life lessons that he has picked up from the story in practical life. By doing this, he might become a better person and be more friendly and more acceptable in his friends’ circle and society in general.

Theme vs. Moral

The theme of a story is the central idea that the writer wants to convey. It is prevalent throughout the story, and it unifies the various facets of the story. When a writer starts to pen down a literary work, he has an idea or subject in mind. But there might be many aspects of this literary piece. It is the theme that binds together the different aspects of the story. Last but not least, the writer uses different characters, and also he has a plot for the story in mind. It is through these characters, how they act, and what they say that the theme comes to light.

The moral of the story is different in the sense that it is the message that the writer of the story is trying to convey. In other words, the moral of the story is a lesson that one might learn from the story. If imbibed in the right sense, it can affect the reader’s behavior in real life in a very positive manner. It can help him immensely in making decisions that might affect his entire life.

The difference between theme and moral can also be appreciated in terms of how abstract each one is. It is the theme that is more abstract, while a moral tends to be more concrete about the lesson or principle that it is trying to teach.

The point to be noted while determining the difference between theme and moral is that the moral of the story can also serve as the theme, but the reverse is not true.

Introduction

Both theme and moral are an integral part of an act, play, and, more importantly, a story. The two terms can be confusing; they are often considered the same. But they have different roles to play. They both have significance in the fiction and non-fiction world of stories, essays, and, as mentioned above, in acts and plays. They both serve certain purposes, and it is difficult to pen down a story or play without taking into consideration both of them. The theme is more like a subject matter of a write-up, while the moral is more like a message. For academics, defining the two terms is vital. A deep analysis of the two would prove helpful as well.

There are times when the two terms are used interchangeably, the reason being that there are many who cannot appreciate the difference between them. But to enable readers to get a better understanding of the story and to help them analyze and interpret the story in a better manner, distinguishing between theme and moral is extremely crucial. Once the theme has been identified, the reader can appreciate the true depth of the meaning of the story and be on the same page as the writer as far as understanding the message that the writer is trying to convey. This is even more so in the case of the moral of the story. If the reader understands the moral in its entirety, he can apply the life lessons that he has picked up from the story in practical life. By doing this, he might become a better person and be more friendly and more acceptable in his friends’ circle and society in general.

Theme vs. Moral

The theme of a story is the central idea that the writer wants to convey. It is prevalent throughout the story, and it unifies the various facets of the story. When a writer starts to pen down a literary work, he has an idea or subject in mind. But there might be many aspects of this literary piece. It is the theme that binds together the different aspects of the story. Last but not least, the writer uses different characters, and also he has a plot for the story in mind. It is through these characters, how they act, and what they say that the theme comes to light.

The moral of the story is different in the sense that it is the message that the writer of the story is trying to convey. In other words, the moral of the story is a lesson that one might learn from the story. If imbibed in the right sense, it can affect the reader’s behavior in real life in a very positive manner. It can help him immensely in making decisions that might affect his entire life.

The difference between theme and moral can also be appreciated in terms of how abstract each one is. It is the theme that is more abstract, while a moral tends to be more concrete about the lesson or principle that it is trying to teach.

The point to be noted while determining the difference between theme and moral is that the moral of the story can also serve as the theme, but the reverse is not true.

Differences Between Theme and Moral (In Tabular Form)

Parameters of comparisonThemeMoral
Definition according to the dictionaryThe textbook definition of a theme is that it is a topic of discussion, and it unifies the basic idea of a story.This is concerned more with the idea of doing the right thing and not doing the wrong. It focuses on the role of ethics in life and therefore the reader can learn a lesson from the story.
  Basic purposeIt’s purpose is to highlight the basic idea that the story containsIts purpose is to convey a principle that applies to real life.
  AppearanceIt has a recurring nature, and it achieves that with the help of the plot of the story and different characters.This only comes once, and that is right at the end of the story
  Stated or notNot stated directly, depends a lot on the understanding capacity of the reader.Stated in clear terms at the end of the story
IdentificationBecause of the repetition, it makes its way into the understanding of the readerThe moral is generally confined to a statement.

What Is a Theme?

The theme is the main topic of discussion in a story and is, therefore, the most vital part as far as the story is concerned. The story is based on the theme since the theme is also the concept that the writer is trying to highlight. In other words, the theme is the pattern that is followed through the entire story. The importance of the theme is felt more so in the case of a fictional literary work. The theme binds together the various parts of the story. It is based on the theme that a story develops. This is not limited to one situation but numerous situations in the story, all of which revolve around the theme.

Take any art form; the theme of the same stands out as the universal truth. It is generally abstract and occurs again and again in the literary work. It can, therefore, be said that it is also pervasive. The theme is what sets forth the idea around which the story is developing. As already mentioned, it is often observed that there is repetition of the theme throughout the story.

It is important to note that not just one but multiple themes can be found in a story. The plot of the story and especially the characters work hand in hand to showcase the theme. For obvious reasons, there is no direct mention of the theme when the story is being narrated. It is left to the imagination of the readers of the story to understand what concept or idea is being highlighted and, therefore, understand what exactly the theme of the story is. But, it is not difficult to pick it up because it is recurring, and various sentences keep on highlighting the same.

Examples of Theme

Circle of Life

Another way to say the same is 'what comes around, goes around'. The phrase highlights the fact that life is ephemeral.

Coming of Age

This phrase tells us about how our good or bad experiences shape our future; it mainly considers our years while we were growing up.

Fate vs. Free Will

This talks about the role that Fate plays in deciding our actions vis a vis the role of free will.

Good vs. Evil

Every piece of fiction includes the elements of good and evil. More often than not, there is the protagonist and the villain involved in the story. This phrase focuses on the never-ending tussle between the two elements listed above. It is the job of the writer to write about the evolution of this tussle.

Faith vs. Doubt

This theme talks about putting in your belief in something. It could be God; it could be other people or even in yourself. Doing so, that is, believing in something, is not an easy thing to do. But before doing that, we need to ask ourselves – is it worth it?

What Is a Moral?

All of us have, at some point or the other, heard someone use the phrase 'the moral of the story'. There are times when a slightly different term is used – 'the moral lesson'. But what exactly do these phrases mean? To define 'the moral of a story, we come to the following inference – After going through a literary work, the practical lesson that we learn from the same as what is called 'the moral of the story

it is the gist of the essence that we derive from the story. There are times when the message is very direct, but there could be instances where the reader would have to give it a little thought as to what the story was trying to say.

There is a need to highlight the fact that most of the stories we read come with a moral lesson at the end, but this is especially so in the case of stories for kids. In most cases, especially in children's stories, the writer wants to influence the behavior of the reader positively. The open-mindedness of the reader is tested in the sense that he follows what the moral lesson is trying to teach him; that is, how he should behave in different cases. Good stories can lead to the development of the character of the reader in a very positive way.

Example of a Moral

Many films and literary works come with a moral lesson that 'crime doesn't pay'. There are precious lessons that the movie watcher or the reader of stories can derive from this message that the director or writer is trying to convey. The message out here is loud and clear, and many would refrain from doing unlawful acts because they realize that if they take the road to crime, they might have a good time initially, but in the end, it would always be a disaster.

Differences Between Theme and Moral (In Points)

Definition

The very definitions of these terms say a lot, that makes it easy to understand that the two are quite different. While the theme is the core matter of debate of the story, the moral of the story is the lesson that the writer wants to impart to the readers.

Real-Life

Unlike the theme, which is there to build up the story from start to finish, the moral lesson can be learned from and made applicable to real-life situations.

Appearance

The moral of the story comes only at the end. However, the theme is recurring throughout the literary work.

Mentioning It Directly

The theme of the story relies heavily on the imagination of the reader to be inferred. The readers, on careful perusal of the story, will be able to conclude what the writer is trying to say. But the moral lesson that is being conveyed is most of the time stated at the end of the literary work.

How to Identify?

The theme can be determined from the recurrence of the words in the write-up, but the moral lesson is mostly a statement.

Purpose

Both the theme and moral of the story have different functions, albeit different functions. The theme focuses on creating and developing on specific lines. But the moral lesson highlights an important lesson that can be applied to real life.

Multiple vs. Single-Use

There is only one moral of the story, but the theme is not limited to a single use.

Conclusion

The usage of the two terms' Theme' and 'Moral' can be quite confusing, so much so that, at times, they are used interchangeably, which is not right. In the process of creating a literary work, the writer needs to understand the clear-cut distinction between the two terms; only then can he apply them correctly in his work. He needs to know that the theme is something that forms the subject matter of the story, while the moral lesson that he wants to convey needs to come at the end.

A lot depends on the context of the write-up. When a story is written well, both the theme and the moral lesson can provide precious insights to the audience, but the writer needs to bear in mind that he does not go off the track by using one in place of the other. If he does that, the purpose of his writing would be defeated. He has to exercise caution so that he does not go astray as far as the intended purpose of his write-up is concerned.

To sum up this article, we can say with a lot of certainty that sticking to the theme and the moral lesson would more or less guarantee a great story for the readers and the writer alike.

References

  • https://kidsjoybox.com
  •  https://thecontentauthority.com
  •  https://writers.com
  •  https://hosbeg.com

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"Difference Between Theme and Moral." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 19 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-theme-and-moral>.



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