Theme-Rheme Analysis: Exploring the Thematic Structure of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dream-Themed Poems


  • Sadia Irshad Air University Islamabad
  • Maryah Khalfan
  • Zaira Khawar



SFL, Theme-Rheme structure, marked and unmarked themes, textual metafunctions


This study investigates the realisation of textual meaning through theme-rheme structures of four dream-themed poems by Poe. This study has analysed these poems by studying the themes and rhemes in a unitary clause and identifying the role different kinds of themes play in establishing textual metafunctions of the language. The results illustrated the poems exhibited simple, multiple, topical, interpersonal, and textual, along with marked and unmarked themes. Unmarked topical themes contributed to a clear, easy-to-understand experience and dominated three of the four poems. Where the poet desired to create cohesion and flow of language, multiple themes were prevalent, and with a higher percentage of textual themes. Furthermore, the deviations in thematic structure of the poems also indicated the development of Poe’s poetic style and intent. The thematic analysis of the poems showed how the thematic structure contributes to creating meaning and unification of ideas in the text through cohesion, coherence, and emphasis. In terms of teaching pedagogy, the use of theme-rheme structure as an analytical tool for poetry will lead students and teachers to a more profound understanding of the poet's intent and attitude, and the shared beliefs being evoked in poetic texts.