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33 Themes of Literature

Alienation
creating emotional isolation

Betrayal
fading bonds of love

Birth
life after loss, life sustains tragedy

Coming of age
boy becomes a man, girl becomes a woman

Conformity
complying with systems, gender roles, social class, traditions

Death
death as mystery, death as a new beginning

Deception
appearance versus reality

Discovery
conquering unknown, discovering strength

Duty
the ethics of killing for duty

Escape
fleeing from family pressures, avoiding social constraints

Family
destruction of family/unification of family through a shared suffering

Fortune
a fall from grace and fortune

Generation gap
experience versus youthful strength

God and spirituality
inner struggle of faith

Good and evil
the coexistence of good and evil on earth

Guilt
Regretting one’s decisions and seeking redemption

Heroism
false heroism (tragic heroes), heroism and conflicting values

Home
security of a homestead

Hope versus Hopelessness
hope rebounds, losing hope after tragedy

Individualism
choosing between the security of conformity and individualism

Isolation
the isolation of body and soul

Journey
discovery about humanity and/or self

Judgment
balance between justice and judgment

Loss
loss of innocence, loss of individualism

Love
love sustains/fades with a challenge

Patriotism
inner conflicts stemming from loyalty to one’s country

Peace and war
war is tragic, peace is fleeting

Power
Lust for power

Race relations
learned racism through belief systems (societal, family, peers)

Revenge
the drawbacks of retaliation

Sense of self
finding strength from within, courage to find one’s identity

Suffering
suffering as a natural part of human experience

Survival
man against nature

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