20 THEMES OF LITERATURE

Quest
When the protagonist searches for a specific object/ person of importance or value.

Adventure
When the protagonist goes on an unusual or exciting experience.

Pursuit
When the protagonist chases another character that doesn’t want to be found.

Rescue
When the protagonist saves another character or group of people from danger.

Escape
When the protagonist gets away from captors or any form of imprisonment.

Metamorphosis
A major change in the characters personality (not their emotions) inside change.

Transformation
A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance of a character outside change.

Maturation
When a character that grows up and takes responsibility.

Forbidden Love
Love between characters which is not accepted because of cultural, social, religious, or economic reasons.

Love
A deep connection between characters which does not need to be romantic love.

Discovery
When one character uncovers something unknown such as a new power, ability; a new world or family secret.

Sacrifice
When one character gives up for something of value to help another.

Wretched Excess
When a character becomes obsessed or addicted to material wealth, power, pleasure, or beauty that causes great distress.

Ascension
When a character, at the beginning of the story, holds a low status but by the end of the story achieves some great accomplishment or high social status.

Descension
When a character hits the bottom or a much lower social status from which they began with.

Temptation
A character having a desire to do something (usually wrong or unwise) because it may satisfy a great need or desire.

Revenge
When the protagonist wants to get back at the antagonist for a past wrong.

Riddle
Revolves around a confusing character, event, or fact that is very difficult to explain (a mystery).

Underdog
A character who is at a disadvantage with little hope of success but comes out on top.

Rivalry
Competition between characters that have a long history of distrust.