Writerprof, a writer, wrote this as a comment to the Nairaland version of my post about theme, , and has given me the permission to post it here..
Themes are embedded in a work of literature by the writer while the readers are free to read in between the lines of a story to bring out more themes. For example, Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart primarily to show that Africa has a culture before the advent of colonialism as the Europeans said Africa had no culture they came to make things fall apart. However, critics, especially women, identified gender themes for which they criticised as they felt he has not reflected women in a positive light despite giving a prominent role to Chielo. Achebe remedied the situation in Anthills of the Savannah when a female played a major role.
Without themes, literature loses its humanity.