Difference Between Theme and Main Idea

Main Difference

Literature is widely known for transmission of emotions, knowledge and experiences. The modern day literature also unfolds many of the prevailing issues and educates its readers. A good literature always have certain points like strong plot and climax and what gets the attention of the readers is the theme or main idea of it. The most important or central thought of a paragraph or larger section of text, which tells the reader what the text is about is called the main idea, on the other hand, a theme is the central topic a text deals with, it is usually the moral or a lesson of literary work. The main idea is generally a sentence, and it is usually the first sentence which unfolds about the plot of the story and characters interacting in it. On the other hand, one have to even read the whole context to know the theme (central topic or moral) of the story.

Comparison Chart

ThemeMain Idea
MeaningA theme is the central topic a text deals with, it is usually the moral or a lesson of literary work.The most important or central thought of a paragraph or larger section of text, which tells the reader what the text is about is called the main idea.
PresenceOne have to even read the whole context to know the theme (central topic or moral) of the story.The main idea is generally a sentence, and it is usually the first sentence.
AvailabilityTheme is the certain meaning deduced by the readers from the context as a whole.Main Idea is generally the prominent sentence within the context.
DiversityTheme is a moral or lesson, which can even be the daily life example.Main idea is a specific information about the context.

What is Theme?

It is the central topic or moral a context or story posses. In the other words we can say that theme is the certain message writer want to convey through his writing. It can also happen that a story has two or even more than two themes according to the readers as the story about women empowerment also carries the theme that hard work pays off. A theme is usually the moral lesson regarding experiences of difficulties in daily lives. A reader can not jump on to get the theme of the context out, it is lying within the context and main idea of the story helps to get the readers know about the theme of the context. Themes can mainly be divided into two categories, thematic concept and thematic statement: a work’s thematic concept is what readers “think the work is about” and its thematic statement is “what the work says about the subject”.

What is Main Idea?

The most important or central thought of a paragraph or larger section of text, which tells the reader what the text is about is called the main idea. The main idea is generally a sentence, and it is usually the first sentence which unfolds about the plot of the story and characters interacting in it. Main Idea can also roughly be called the summary of the central thought of the context, as it tells about the much-needed details like story plot and the characters interacting in it. In readers perspective main idea is also much important as it tells that whether the context is up to their taste or not. Generally contexts have unique main idea and is regarded as the most notable sentence throughout the context.

Theme vs. Main Idea

  • The most important or central thought of a paragraph or larger section of text, which tells the reader what the text is about is called the main idea, on the other hand, a theme is the central topic a text deals with, it is usually the moral or a lesson of literary work.
  • The main idea is generally a sentence, and it is usually the first sentence which unfolds about the plot of the story and characters interacting in it. On the other hand, one have to even read the whole context to know the theme (central topic or moral) of the story.
  • Main Idea is generally the prominent sentence within the context, whereas theme is the certain meaning deduced by the readers from the context as a whole.
  • Main idea is a specific information about the context, whereas theme is a moral or lesson, which can even be the daily life example.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

View all posts by Harlon Moss