[LMB] theme

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Tue Sep 28 21:29:30 BST 2010

On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 02:18:30PM -0500, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote:
> John writes:
> Lois's suggestion that '"Plot is what happens, theme is what all those 
> happenings make one think about" might be a start.' also makes good 
> sense to me. The Penguin *Dict. of Lit. Terms and Lit. Theory* (ed. 
> Cuddon, 4th ed.) thinks :  (snip proper definition)
> Lois:  I also find thinking of theme as an _emergent property_ of the 
> story to be a useful metaphor.  ("Emergent property" seems to me one of 
> the most useful new metaphors to come out of 20th C. science, 
> eliminating the need for ever so much divisive dualism.)

To what extent is the theme a developing conscious articulation by
the writer, versus something the writer doesn't realize is there
until afterwards?  "Emergent property" kind of suggests the latter,
but perhaps I'm misunderstanding you here.

Tony Zbaraschuk
It should be exactly as embarrassing in educated company to say
"I'm no good at math" as it would be to say "I'm no good at reading."
The fact that it isn't-- that it's ok to laugh off innumeracy-- is
a major problem for us as a society.  -- Chad Orzel

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list