on Writers Helping Writers:
Successful stories are often ones whose elements are employed subtly. You may not be able to say exactly why they work, and as a reader, you probably don’t care; you just like the feeling of rightness that settles in as you read.
Theme is one of those important elements that are quietly working in the background of a strong story. This central idea, pulled deliberately or subconsciously from the author’s individual worldview, acts as an anchoring thread that connects the other elements and creates a sense of cohesion. But writing theme into a story can be tricky. If you’re too obvious, you risk whacking people over the head with it, and your story becomes preachy. If you’re too subtle, readers may not pick up on the message at all.
So how do we incorporate theme into our story with just the right amount of touch? One surprisingly effective way is to use the character’s job.