Our literature Terms collection takes a near look in ~ words that explain stories. Like when we examined the uncanny, the gothic, and also the grotesque or when we looked at the difference between magical realism, scientific research fiction, and fantasy. This week, we explore symbol, motif, and theme, and their differences. All three of this nouns take residence in one another, making their distinctions difficult, however each one has actually its own details and correct use. Check it.

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A price is things that is provided to represent something else. Because that example, when we see a red irradiate in website traffic we know it method “stop”. In literature, however, as soon as a red light acts together a symbol the is provided to convey one idea or emotion, choose anger, death, or perhaps love. If a damaged glass shows up in a scene, because that example, think around what the writer might want us to understand, and if that symbol conveys miscellaneous deeper around the story. If a glass breaks during a discussion about divorce it helps attract attention to, and also in countless ways represents, a broke up family.

A symbol wake up only when in a story. However, when a series of related images or signs appear, castle reflect a motif.


A motif is a recurring facet in a literary work, an interpretation the idea or photo occurs again and again. As soon as related photos repeat to improve or carry attention come an idea, you recognize you’ve figured out the story’s motif. Take the wrong glass. Allows say a repeating symbol for brokenness shows up many times as a series of related images: a crushed glass, a vehicle that won’t start, a poor investment, or an injured pet. Every of these icons occurs once, but services the larger motif the brokenness or fragmentation in the narrative.

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Both symbols and motifs bring about a better understanding that the story’s theme, i beg your pardon is the as whole message, through-line, or lesson created by the narrative. If signs for brokenness appear as the story’s motif, what is the author trying come say around love, families, and also relationships? If a child breaks the home window of a misunderstood neighbor’s house, the author might be utilizing this prize to talk about the gaps in understanding between people who don’t know each other. If the glass the shatters throughout a marital spat is later on cleared, that can reflect the couple’s an option to start anew. Love conquers all. Fury outweighs fear. You have to break something down to end up being stronger. Every one of these (somewhat cheesy) messages room presented by icons generating a motif that informs the template of the story.