What is a Motif in Literature?

Updated: January 20, 2023
A motif is a recurring idea, object, or symbol in a work of literature. It often serves as a unifying element in the work.
Detailed answer:

An author may choose to use a literary element like a motif to emphasize his or her point of view.

The use of a motif helps to create unity within a work of literature by developing themes through repeated images or symbols. The reader then comes to see how certain ideas are connected with one another in different ways over time—for example, how love grows from friendship and how friendship grows from love.

The use of themes also allows for deeper explorations into human nature than other types of writing allow for.

The most common use of motifs is to develop themes by showing how they are reflected in different characters or events throughout the book. For example, if the theme of a book is “love,” then instances of love can be shown through different characters’ relationships with each other and others around them.

A motif can also help to show how characters relate to each other by using similar actions or words that communicate their personalities or characteristics. For example, if one character always says “I’m sorry” when apologizing for something they did wrong while another character doesn’t apologize at all because they don’t care what anyone thinks about them, those two characters’ actions will reflect their different personalities (and thus their different motives).

Motifs are often associated with specific characters or objects in a story. For example, in Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, the ring has an evil influence over those who possess it.

What is a Motif in Literature?. (2023, Jan 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-is-a-motif-in-literature/