Subject matter and topic are related concepts, but they have distinct meanings, especially when it comes to their use in literature and other forms of communication. Here’s the difference between subject matter and topic:
- In literature, the subject matter refers to the specific theme or central idea that a literary work revolves around. It represents the core focus of the narrative, the main subject or content of the text.
- The subject matter is the broad and overarching concept or category that the literary work addresses. It encapsulates the general area of interest or the main subject discussed in the text.
- It is the foundation upon which the plot, characters, and events of the story are built. The subject matter provides the framework for the story’s development and exploration.
- Subject matter is typically a more encompassing and abstract term that describes the general scope of the literary work.
Read also: How to analyze a poem
- The topic, on the other hand, is a narrower and more specific aspect of the subject matter. It refers to the particular subject or issue that is being discussed, examined, or explored within the broader context of the subject matter.
- While subject matter is the larger theme or category, the topic is the individual subject or idea within that theme that the author focuses on in a specific passage, paragraph, or section of the text.
- Topics are the finer details that contribute to the overall understanding of the subject matter. They may be points of discussion or sub-themes that emerge as part of the broader subject matter.
Example: Let’s illustrate the difference between subject matter and topic with an example:
Subject Matter: The subject matter of a novel is “survival and resilience in the face of adversity.” Topic: Within the subject matter, the author might discuss various topics like “courage in challenging situations,” “finding hope in times of despair,” “bonding and support among survivors,” etc.
In this example, “survival and resilience in the face of adversity” is the subject matter of the novel, while the topics are the specific aspects related to that subject matter that the author explores throughout the story.
In summary, the subject matter is the broad and overarching theme of a literary work, while the topic refers to the specific subjects or ideas that are part of that broader theme. Topics contribute to the overall understanding of the subject matter and help in exploring the various facets of the central theme.