Take a look at the above chart. The blue arrows symbolize the word interrelates.
As human beings, our emotions are always interrelating with our intellect. Sometimes in concert and other times in conflict. When seeking out or determining what we like, we feed on or crave the emotional as well as the intellectual stimulation something can give us.
In this same manner, in a work of art, in a story, theme interrelates with form. This happens in many diverse and subtle ways. Often, it is the interplay of various elements of form that help to create that theme, but the theme can also inform the story as to how the elements interact.
Going down in the chart, as you emotionally interact with a theme, you can then intellectually be stimulated by recognizing that theme. And, as you intellectually interact with the elements of form, you can be emotionally stimulated by their degree of subtlety.
It is at this point that we can achieve the aesthetic reaction of catharsis.
With all this information in mind, we can go back to our original questions and take into consideration these concepts as we evaluate a work of art. We’ll be able to look at the indirection of subtlety and whether the elements of form are used effectively, or not. We’ll be able to tell if a theme resonates with the subject matter to move us with its aesthetics. With your own personal, complex combination of emotion and intellect, you now have the tools to decipher the relationship between theme and the elements of form in any story. Just like anything else in life, the more you partake in critical analysis, the better you’ll get at it, until it becomes second nature. This does not mean you’ll pick up everything, all the time. You won’t. You’ll still look to others to talk about and disseminate stories with. As a matter of fact, like me, you may even seek it out more.
Next time, I’ll try and wrap this up with a few tidbits and tricks of the trade. Maybe…