What is a Thematic Essay? And How to Write Thematic Essay?

Let’s put one thing into consideration, every written essay provides a specific purpose. A central theme is essential in an essay to create a logical concept around it. The central theme brings the readers interest and brings a supporting argument or enhances the value of the content written. This is known as the first step taken forward for writing a thematic essay.

What is a thematic essay?

A thematic essay is where you discuss a piece of literature primarily through its themes, it’s not only discussing the themes but also the author is explaining and analyzing how the author managed to pull it off.

Not only are you stating what themes are present.

How to write a thematic essay?

For writing a thematic essay, you need to focus on your themes and motif smartly. There are two major parts of writing this type of essay. The first significant part is to find out which piece of literature is that you want to write on. There are few strong themes such as golden age, political systems, global history, economic systems, or foreign policy. If it is a classroom setting, then a potential book will be given to you by your teacher or if you are likely to be writing about something then it could be personalized or imagery. Once you have chosen your theme, it could be a little challenging to know what exactly you want to discuss in your thematic essay. But have no worries, there are a few key questions that you can ask yourself in order to narrow it down to all the gazillion possibilities. So simply ask yourself,

  • What books have I read most recently that made me think?
  • What conversations I had with my friends or in classrooms that match to my literature themes.

In other words, it could be your favorite piece of literature or your interest in science and technology, human rights, or imperialism. Themes that are interesting for you and match those to a supportive source. Here are the key questions,

Thematic essay examples:

  • How are the questions of perception versus reality explored by “A Streetcar Named Desire?”
  • What is Vonnegut saying about morality and mortality in Slaughterhouse-5?

How is innocence, or the loss of innocence discussed in “The Catcher and the Rye?”

Thematic Essay outline:

The questions do not have to be broad or vague because than there will be too much to discuss on it and it will make it difficult to focus on the main theme and motive. So a question such as how is human nature discussed in “Animal Farm”? It would probably be a good choice. On the other hand, the topics should not be too specific as it will limit your discussion and difficult to gather enough sources. A fine example of a specific question could be like Why Does Salinger use the word “PHONY” so much in the Catcher in Rye? This question makes you focus on one word, “PHONY”, this word is potentially limiting your discussion. A more suitable question to ask would be “How is Salinger commenting on the concept of Phoniness and authenticity? As you can see the question is almost the same but it allows you to broaden your arguments when you are writing a thematic essay.

Introduction of thematic essay:

In the introduction of a thematic essay, present it in an interesting and captivating way. Your first sentence should GRAB the reader.

Use the next two sentences that give any necessary background information on the literature that you want the reader to know. The last thing is to end your introduction with a thesis statement. Your thesis should state the central theme of the novel that gives your reader a taste of what you are discussing.

Thematic Essay Format:

Now let’s come to the writing part, the first thing you could is to gather all of your information together. How can you do this? It’s simple, go to the piece of literature that you are focusing on and summarize it to yourself. Write down every place you can think of in the book with matches to the themes you have focused on. You need to keep it in your mind that there is a difference between your subject and your theme. For example, in the catcher of the Rye, your subject is Holden Caulfield. But your theme is

  • Cynicism.
  • Fake personalities.
  • The loss of innocence we all suffer.

Furthermore, the author Salinger made a point by showing how Holden Caulfield is feeling in his life.

Body paragraphs:

Before you write your body paragraphs, you should gather all the evidence you need for the text. To write a successful thematic essay, you really need to prefer the choices of the author. Evaluate the choices of the author.

  • Analyze what they are trying to make you feel?
  • What is the significance of the main point?

Each body paragraph should use a literary device as a claim. You need to provide your reader with three body paragraphs which means you need three literary devices to show how the author is building and creating their themes. Do not spend too much time on the plot of the story, when writing a thematic essay. You do not want to give a synopsis of the book. Instead, pick a few synopsis plots that are important to the themes you are discussing.

Some more tips for your body paragraphs:

  • The first sentence is each body paragraph is the topic sentence.
  • Introduce your claim and lead your reader into your evidence.
  • Include your author’s name.
  • How your claim relates to your thesis.
  • Make sure you use direct quotations.
  • Direct quotes strengthen your argument.
  • Be sure to link your evidence to your claim.


  • Now to finish things off, let’s talk about the conclusion. There are three main things you need to do when wrapping up your thematic essay.
  • Never present any new information or evidence at all. Instead, restate or rephrase your thesis.
  • The second is to briefly summarize your three central claims and how they relate to your thesis.
  • Third and last give a global relevance.

Once you are done, proofread your thematic essay. Find out if there are an grammatical errors that need to be edited. Another good thing is to always ask someone else to read your essay paper. A fresh pair of eyes could help you in presenting a perfect thematic essay.

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