How to Write a Thematic Essay

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

14 min



How to Write a Thematic Essay

Thematic essays deal with major themes or topics in a society or a country. As a result, they allow students to get aware of what's going on and provide their voice. Additionally, the arguments presented in the essay may have significance in real life. Therefore, theme essays should be a part of every curriculum.

Many students find the thematic essay definition a bit confusing. What does it mean for a written piece to be thematic?

In this type of essay, you will be required to develop a central theme. Do you remember the words "foreshadowing" "imagery," "personification"? You will be using these to analyze the central theme of the piece of writing you have chosen. Along with the literary devices, you will be proving your interpretations and logical arguments. Let us now move to the outline that you must follow to develop an essay that surpasses your professor's expectations.

What is a Thematic Essay

Thematic essays work with a social theme of importance. The author uses several literary techniques like metaphors and imagery to get across their point. Additionally, the author explores the theme in-depth and tries to make a general statement. They also highlight a specific issue that should be addressed, backed by the findings of the author.

Authors try to pick a theme that is relevant to society or the present times. They may also present recommendations to deal with the issue for a better future.

Best of all, theme essays allow you to explore the different nuances of culture and society. Therefore, writing the essay also enriches the knowledge of the author.

Thematic essays are generally graded on rubrics.

Theme Essay Steps


To write an excellent thematic essay, choosing a theme plays a crucial part. For this type of essay, some college students tend to go with a vast theme, that shifts the entire paper's focus. On the contrary, some select a particular direction. This is problematic because finding information becomes challenging this way, So, how do you come up with an ideal topic? Here are a few ways you can tackle this challenge.

Take Help from Your Experience

As a student, you might have had opportunities of working on different types of essays. If you ever worked with a topic suitable for here, utilize it. By doing so, you will save time that would have been spent on additional research, and you will be more educated regarding the route to take. Find relevant notes, pull up saved links, anything beneficial for the essay.

Make Internet Your Best

Internet is an excellent source to get your ideal hands-on topics. If you lack the experience and are looking forward to coming up with a theme on your own, this is the next best alternative. However, make sure the topic you select has enough content on it. Also, the resources are authentic and credible.

Guidance From Other Literature Pieces

List down the best literature pieces according to you. Next, skim through each of them. You never know; this might provide you enough inspiration to come up with your idea.

Pick a Central Theme

As stated previously, uncovering the central theme and main subject is the first building block of your thematic paper. Follow the steps below to prevent any mistake in the choosing process:

Summarize the Literature

Identify what the author is trying to convey. Chances are, it will be repeatedly mentioned throughout. All you need to do is stay vigilant and not miss out on the hints that come along the way. It is no rocket science.

Pick the Most Prevalent Subject

First, you need to understand the difference between a theme and a subject. A subject makes up the general topic on which the entire conversation is based. On the other hand, a theme is more of a specific point, and the author tries to establish the subject. This forms the focal point of your essay.

Overall Significance

This will be the overall significance of academic writing. What can a reader take away from the essay? What can be applied to personal lives? In short, the lesson learned from this.

Tips for Choosing the Best Themes for Thematic Essays

Count on your personal experience: A theme that resonates in your life will make the best essay. You are likely to go into depth as the issue affects your lifestyle.

Note down your ideas: Some ideas that come to your mind may seem useless. However, note down every idea as they may seem important at the latest. Additionally, these trivial ideas can give rise to more relevant ideas.

Explore contemporary literature: Reading current literature may give you ample ideas for thematic essays. Additionally, you can use the cues from their essays on themes to strengthen your arguments.

Stay updated on the latest trends: Themes that affect society don't stay the same. At one time, the industrial revolution transformed the world. However, it is not that relevant today in the world of artificial intelligence. Therefore, stay updated on the latest news and trends to choose the most relevant topics.

Look at issues that affect you: This is the best way to choose a topic for a theme essay. You are going to perform well if you take up a theme that impacts your daily life, like waste management.

Theme Essay Outline and Draft

Your aim has to be creative and vigilant while writing. This is important so that you do not miss out on crucial details. Thus, starting from a draft makes perfect sense. You will always need to go back and revise your work once you are done. Never consider your first copy to be your last. Outline and follow it throughout. A template is okay as well.

One critical piece of advice here is to keep checking your transitions and the flow of the essay. Often, students tend to treat each paragraph as a mini-essay and forget that they have to be cohesive with each other. Excessive wordiness and expression of emotion should be avoided. The tone while drafting this should be neutral. Do not be very formal or informal. It would help if you sounded respectful and sincere.

Thematic Essay Structure and Format

Essay outline should stick to a structure or format for the best results. It also allows the reader to get the vital information quickly and give your essay more importance.

Below is a format you can implement for your thematic essay:


An essay starts with an introduction. The first sentence of the thematic essay introduction paragraph should be as captivating and interesting as possible. It is your first chance to make a good impression on the reader and to catch their attention. This section should highlight background information and all the significant points of the essay. Try being strategic while devising this section. Use practical tools like a dash of humor or start by posing an engaging question. Stating a surprising and exciting fact is also an excellent way to encourage the readers to stay glued to your work. With that said, do not make this paragraph very lengthy. It has to be concise and deliver the main idea about your essay. The last line of your intro paragraph has to be a thematic thesis statement. This is the argument you will be proving throughout your essay. Therefore, don't change the wording of your hypothesis.

Body Paragraphs

This is the essay's main body, where you will be conducting a detailed discussion of the novel's central theme or issue. You will be developing your argument, providing analysis and supporting justifications. Remember that you shouldn't give any baseless sweeping statements as it will weaken your stance and the overall quality of your writing. Keep a checklist of main points so that you don't miss any. Subheadings can come in handy in a theme essay. They will make your content less cluttered. Keep all of the paragraphs of equal length. Start each one with a topic sentence and refrain from adding multiple ideas in a single thematic paragraph. This will help you in producing a quality paper. You can find numerous samples of thematic essays on a writing service website. Please go through them in case you have any confusion.

You may use two, three, or four paragraphs in your body without any problems. However, don’t add unnecessary information to make your essay longer.

Your body should contain the following things like a topic sentence. However, you should state only facts and refrain from presenting your own opinions. Additionally, you can mention names, dates, places, and other information backed by evidence.

Additionally, be descriptive about the points you are presenting in your essay. Moreover, analyze the facts to make the readers make sense of what you want to say.

Most importantly, evaluate the key points in detail. They will go a long way to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Additionally, you should also give examples to elaborate on the points you are presenting in your essay.

One tip is to not overthink your theme thesis. Go over the examples you have included in your essay and pick the best one to explain your hypothesis.

Additionally, you should keep examples simple and use transitory phrases to ensure a smooth flow for a good thematic essay.


After discussing all of the points on how to write a theme paragraph, it's now time for a closing ceremony; keep your essay conclusion crisp and short. Do not give additional arguments or add points that you might have missed earlier. Remember, it must be glued to your content. So, ensure that your content is smooth and has a logical conclusion at the end.

Moreover, your conclusion gives you the power to create robust arguments. You can bring a logical closure to your essay and make your opinion stand out. However, don’t just state the themes again but focus on their analyses and impacts. Moreover, include all the vital arguments in your conclusion. You may even suggest steps to resolve the issue or provide recommendations.

Proofreading and Taking Advice

After you are finished with the writing part, you will conduct a two-step reviewing and editing process. First, go through the content and make the necessary changes while cross-checking it with the rubric provided to you by your professor. Next, ask your classmate or a friend to read your essay about themes. Ask them if any part is lacking evidence or if you haven't made a point clear. You can also consult your teacher. They can guide you in case any primary or secondary argument is missing. Since they have read the material or will be familiar with the theme, they can also point out the areas you have forgotten or are worth discussing more. So, this phase is all about making your argument robust and paper detailed. Do not be shy or stingy when adding a lot of points. You can always go back and remove them. It is the "adding" part that is the hardest.


Here is a list that you should keep in front of you are done writing a thematic essay:

  • Do not include text that is not making any contribution to your stance;
  • Avoid using complicated words;
  • Refrain yourself from exaggerating;
  • Do not use long sentences;
  • Do not submit your theme analysis essay without citing the work that you have used to make your argument stronger;
  • Please do not submit the paper without reviewing it twice;
  • Make sure that you have used the correct paper structure;
  • Run your work through grammar and plagiarism checking software;
  • Check the formatting.

Thematic Essay Topics - Choose the Themes Wisely

To give you some inspiration, here are some English thematic topics related to different subjects:

Belief Systems

  1. Is the death penalty ethical? Should it be allowed?
  2. Can people carry handguns?
  3. Class fellows make a considerable impression on a child's success in school life.
  4. Childhood years are the most crucial years of a person's life.
  5. Video games are good for mental health.
  6. A person must always consult others for critical decision making.
  7. Is divorce a solution to marital problems?
  8. Women should stay at home and should work.

Global Regents Thematic Essay

  1. The role of a political system in a society.
  2. The changed meaning of philosophy.
  3. Can an individual control unconscious thinking?
  4. The roles of Men and Women in society.
  5. The role of Materialistic values in the modern era.
  6. Human rights in the 21st century.

US History

  1. The issue of slavery in America.
  2. The era of civil war.
  3. Facts and events of the most critical century in American history.
  4. Industrialization in the US.
  5. Periods of the Cold War.
  6. Then vs. now: modern America.
  7. The US and the Muslim countries.
  8. US- Russia relations.
  9. International organizations.
  10. UN and USA.

Literary Theme Paper Example

  1. What is the main idea behind the poem "The Road not taken" by Robert Frost?
  2. Which themes did Bernard Shaw highlighted in his novel "Arms and the man"?
  3. What does John Steinbeck mean when he talks about loneliness and isolation in Of Mice and Men?
  4. What are the themes highlighted in the novel "the great gatsby"?
  5. Harper Lee discusses "innocence" in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird; what does she mean by it?

Examples on How to Write a Theme Essay

Thematic Essay Introduction Example

Let’s say we have chosen the theme work from home for our thematic essay. Therefore, your introduction will describe how remote working has become a norm across the world. You will cite statistics, like 70% of the global workforce wants to work from home for a few days of the week. Or many companies have embraced a hybrid working model.

In addition, you will present your hypotheses, such as work from home will stay even if the pandemic goes away. However, you should collect enough information and facts to prove your hypothesis and make it sound. A good theme essay example should thoroughly explain the topic.

Thematic Essay Main Body

Your main body should support your hypothesis. Therefore, it is necessary to present facts and figures that prove your point. For example, research shows working from home can boost the productivity of individual employees.

Additionally, the workforce finds it easy to maintain an optimum work-life balance. Moreover, businesses also save on costs like overheads when they allow remote work.

Most importantly, remote work reduces the stress of daily commute to work. It also lets employees work at their convenience without compromising time.

With some research, you will find ample statistics to show the benefits of remote work.

Theme Essay Conclusion

The conclusion of your thematic essay provides an opportunity to sum up your arguments. You can express how remote working benefits both organizations and employees. Additionally, modern employees prefer flexible working models to balance work and life. These arguments show that working from home is a viable choice for businesses around the world. It can improve performance, reduce costs, and allow businesses to achieve their objectives.

Lastly, you may end your essay with the references you used to make your arguments. You should also use citations for numbers and figures in your essay based on your college’s requirements.

thematic essay example

Now that you have gotten familiar with the themes and the essay outline, you will not spend hours on every step. Just drink some hot cocoa, open up this article, and get started!

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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