How to Write a Thematic Essay

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

20 min



How to Write a Thematic Essay

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.

Thematic Essay Steps


To write an excellent thematic essay, choosing a theme plays a crucial part. For this type of essay, some 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.

Thematic 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.

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.


An essay starts with an introduction. 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 introductory paragraph has to be a thesis statement. This is the argument you will be proving throughout your essay.

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,f 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 thematic 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 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.


After discussing all of the points, it's now time for a closing ceremony; keep your 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.

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. 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 the 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 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 sentence 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 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 Thematic Essay Examples

  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?

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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