Your theme has to reach its conclusion just as your story does. But our theme has to do more than reach its conclusion -- it has to be reinforced in the end and by doing this, it will strengthen all that we have said in our story.
So if we took a theme...
"Persist and in the end you will succeed"
And I showed my character working hard to achieve his goals, persisting, even if at times those goals seemed unreachable, then I would've showed that all his hard work did pay off in the end. By having him succeed, it would reinforce the theme that had been running throughout the story.
Let me further illustrate this point by giving you a more detailed example.
The theme is-
"Persistence pays off"
The story is about a writer, who has been writing short stories for years, but has not succeeded in getting published yet.
In your story you will show his persistence with:
- How he makes time to write, even when his day is already full by his full time job and other responsibilities
- How his every thought is consumed by his writing
- Showing him sending story after story to publishers
- How he doesn't let the fact that his family believe he's wasting his time, distract him from his purpose
Simultaneously I will place him in win and lose situations, losing when his stories are rejected; winning when he receives encouraging notes from publishers.
And in those instances where he is winning, I will show gradually that resistance is starting to pay off, till I reach the end of my story where I will have one of his stories accepted for publication and thus bring my theme of ‘Persistence pays off' to its conclusion.
By showing the reader how persistence is paying off, I would have reinforced the theme in my ending.
Is your theme reinforced in the end of your story?