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It doesn't need a theme. The theme might be something people decide once you publish it. The TRUE theme might not be known til 100 years after you're dead! Sometimes themes apply cos there's only so many kinds of story in human life, so by default even real life follows themes. Or you might be trying to say something about life, about people, about ...


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It's absolutely fine to state the moral explicitly, as in your examples. It's also absolutely fine not to. If you DON'T spell it out, many readers won't 'get it'. Think of some of the earliest 'short stories', the parables found in the Bible and similar books of other religions. What message would you take from 'The Prodigal Son' if the moral wasn't ...


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As others wrote, you cannot make sure the reader interprets your novel the way you want it to be interpreted. However, you still can influence it. You might read your draft and explicitly look for ways how it might be misinterpreted. You won't find all possible alternative interpretations, but you might find a few. Then, after finding possible alternative ...


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Short answer, from Archibald MacLeish: A poem should not mean But be. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/17168/ars-poetica applies equally well to novels.


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The question has two parts: The role of the writer and that of the reader. The reader's role is to understand the novel in good faith. As long as the reader is providing their genuine understanding of the novel it cannot really be considered wrong. Which is not to say any analysis must go unchallenged. A reader acting in good faith can be persuaded their ...


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Contrary to Mark Baker, my experience of English teachers is that they teach that novels don't "have a meaning that we can ferret out." The idea that it is possible and useful to figure out the intentions of the author is called the intentional fallacy, and that's a term I learned in 11th grade English. Usually these teachers are right. Most authors do not ...


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I'm going to say that it depends. It depends on the message an author wants to transmit and how they write it. Let's say I'm writing a romance. X starts out single and looking for their soulmate and ends up discovering that Y, their long time friend and confidant, is it. The message here would be to look at the friends of the sex that attracts us carefully ...


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It's impossible to make sure your book is interpreted the way you want it to be. Some writers have actively disavowed particular audience interpretations of their works. In many cases the audience either ignored the author or sometimes even actively attacked the author's interpretation. Famous examples include Tolkien saying the ring is not an allegory for ...


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This notion that a novel has a meaning that we can ferret out and interpret has been a staple of English teachers for decades. Essentially it is an attempt to turn a novel (or any other work of art) into a simple proposition. As far as I can tell, they do this because otherwise they can't figure out what they are supposed to teach about a novel. The ...


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