In literature, a motif is a recurring element or theme that has symbolic significance in the story. The motif can be an idea, an object, a place, or a statement. The green light in The Great Gatsby and the repeated statement, "My father said that the reason for living is getting ready to stay dead," in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying are examples of motifs. A motif can be something that re-occurs to develop the theme in a novel: In the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird the children are told never to shoot a mockingbird because mockingbirds do nothing in their life but sing for people. At the end of the novel the theme of senseless killing is re-visited when Mr. Underwood talks of Tom's death. Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. ... William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 â July 6, 1962) was a Nobel Prize-winning novelist from Mississippi. ... Ã¤Ã¢âÊÃ:For the Christian metalcore band, see As I Lay Dying (band). ... To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1960 novel by Harper Lee, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. ...
Motifs are common in poetry.
A motif differs from a theme in that a theme is an idea set forth by a text, where a motif is a recurring element which symbolizes that idea. The motif can also be more like the central idea behind the theme, such as courage or loyalty.
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