Motif: Definition and Examples | LiteraryTerms

 

example of motif in literature

When an idea or a thing is repeated throughout a text, and it is used in a symbolic manner, it is a motif. Motifs in literary works help writers create mood, and help them to highlight important ideas and themes that emerge throughout the work. Examples of Motif: In To Kill a Mockingbird, there are. Examples of Motif in Literature. What is a motif in literature? William Shakespeare frequently uses motifs in his plays to express and reinforce theme. Example of Motif in Literature: A motif in Romeo and Juliet is “light and dark.” Some examples include: Throughout the play, Romeo refers to Juliet as a . A motif in literature is a recurring symbol, image or idea that is significant to the overall theme of the work. Some examples of motifs in literature are green lights in "The Great Gatsby," miscommunication in "Romeo and Juliet" and divine intervention in "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey.".


Examples of Motif


A motif is a symbolic image or idea that appears frequently in a story. Motifs can be symbolssounds, actionsideas, or words. Throughout a novel, the main character considers buying a typewriter but decides against it, as they are too expensive or old-fashioned. Deep-down she wants one, as she has always dreamed of being a writer. Throughout a story, there is surprisingly bad weather—snow, freezing rain, and even a tornado. The tuxedo becomes a symbol of his changing duties as a husband, son, and father as he ages.

As can be seen from these examples, motifs by definition are repetitive throughout a narrative, example of motif in literature, to emphasize larger themes and ideas. Whereas themes hover above a story as ideas, motifs dive into prose and poetry with clear and repetitive images, ideas, and symbols throughout. In their repetition, motifs emphasize what is most important about a story.

Motifs provide compositions with a traceable pattern: if a red dress or the idea of guilt or even a song continues appearing throughout a narrative, chances are, it means something. Motifs allow authors, writers, and directors to create a more poetic and structured narrative, cluing in readers and audiences to symbols of larger ideas. Motifs are partners to themes, as repetitive images and symbols emphasize the overarching themes of the work.

Although numerous themes are used, the theme of freedom—what example of motif in literature means in a democracy versus dictatorship, for women versus men, for those free versus those enslaved—is one of the largest:. Another motif which examines the theme of freedom in this novel is the idea of power and control.

Power and control are discussed in terms of forgiveness, telling a story, and temptation as they are repeated throughout the narrative. Motifs are just as powerful in movies, advertisements, and songs as they are in poetry and prose. Watch this example of motif in literature on YouTube Movie trailers are a great source of motifs, as they flicker through numerous highlights of the film. When defining motif, other literary devices example of motif in literature come into play, such as symbols and themes.

Here are a few devices similar and related to motif:. Symbols refer to any images or objects that symbolize a larger idea or theme. A rose can be a symbol of romance or the color green can be a symbol of jealousy. The difference between a symbol and motif is small and simple: motifs are symbols that recur throughout a work. Whereas a symbol can stand alone in one isolated scene or sentence, motifs by definition must repeat throughout a composition.

Just as symbols fit within the definition of motifs, motifs are a smaller aspect of theme. Themes are overarching, central ideas in stories. Motifs serve to emphasize themes with specific images and symbols throughout the story. Here is an example of how themes and motifs work together:. Imagine the story is about a greedy businesswoman who owns a restaurant.

The protagonist is frequently seen counting money. Lastly, she frequently purchases new, shiny, showy things. Just Wonderful. List of Terms Action, example of motif in literature. Ad Hominem. Alter Ego. APA Citation. Comic Relief. Deus ex machina. Double Entendre. Dramatic irony. Extended Metaphor. Fairy Tale. Figures of Speech. Literary Device.

Pathetic Fallacy. Plot Twist. Point of View. Red Herring, example of motif in literature. Rhetorical Device, example of motif in literature. Rhetorical Question. Science Fiction. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Turning Point. Urban Legend. Literary Terms.

 

Motif - Examples and Definition of Motif

 

example of motif in literature

 

When an idea or a thing is repeated throughout a text, and it is used in a symbolic manner, it is a motif. Motifs in literary works help writers create mood, and help them to highlight important ideas and themes that emerge throughout the work. Examples of Motif: In To Kill a Mockingbird, there are. Examples of Motif in Literature. What is a motif in literature? William Shakespeare frequently uses motifs in his plays to express and reinforce theme. Example of Motif in Literature: A motif in Romeo and Juliet is “light and dark.” Some examples include: Throughout the play, Romeo refers to Juliet as a . A motif in literature is a recurring symbol, image or idea that is significant to the overall theme of the work. Some examples of motifs in literature are green lights in "The Great Gatsby," miscommunication in "Romeo and Juliet" and divine intervention in "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey.".