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Universal Motifs

Universal Motifs. The glue of stories. Motif. a reoccurring image, symbol, theme, character, etc that connects the work to other pieces of literature and connects it to other works. For Example:.

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Universal Motifs

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  1. Universal Motifs The glue of stories

  2. Motif a reoccurring image, symbol, theme, character, etc that connects the work to other pieces of literature and connects it to other works.

  3. For Example: • Certain motifs are universal because they represent patterns common to all human experience (meaning that they refer to things in life that everyone experiences). • For example, the seasonal cycles are used in all times and all places to represent the general cycle of life. • Springtime= youth and rebirth • Winter= old age and death

  4. The Motif should: • be specific to the story • be an integral part of the story • be universal (can be applied to anyone’s life) • be repeated (if not it is a theme, image, symbol, character)

  5. Some motifs that we will be covering in class…. • The Journey • Duality • Hero’s Quest • Death and the afterlife • Birth and rebirth • Fall from innocence • ****Challenge to Authority*****

  6. The Journey A literal or metaphorical journey. • Literal journeys can involve something as large as a global journey or as small as a journey to the supermarket. • Metaphorical journeys involve a character experiencing life and growing/changing as a result of it. • Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye is both literal (journey through New York) and metaphorical (journey to adulthood).

  7. Duality Duality is the concept of the inner struggle in one individual; the choice between two conflicting sides to a personality. At its most basic level, it’s the inner struggle between good and evil. • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde • Angel and devil on your shoulder

  8. Hero’s Quest • Involves a journey, but the journey has an attainable goal that drives the character to make the decisions that he or she does. Generally the hero will have a guide and will face obstacles that seem larger than life. • Harry Potter

  9. Death and the Afterlife • The essentials of existence, or the lack of existence, are questioned and explored. • What happens when we die? • Is there an afterlife? • Who or what created mankind? • Lovely Bones • Death can be metaphorical • Death of a part of one’s life and entering the unknown • The Matrix • The Truman Show

  10. Birth and Rebirth • Focuses on new beginnings or a resurrection. The resurrection may be in the form of a literal birth (offspring) OR a creation of something new (an idea, a nation) • Pinocchio • The rebirth can also be symbolic. • James Gatz is reborn as Jay Gatsby

  11. Fall From Innocence • An increase in knowledge by circumstances not necessarily from a positive experience. • Innocence, often a child-like innocence, fades away and is replaced by experience of the world. • The loss of innocence as well as the acquisition of knowledge. • Sometimes shown as a ‘coming of age’ story. • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

  12. Challenge to Authority • Questioning of authority. The authority can be a ruler, a society or a belief system. This can be shown in direct actions or a refusal to compromise or conform. • The Scarlet Letter

  13. Thinking about these questions will help todetermine the motif of a story. 1. What does the main character discover about himself or herself by the end of the story? 2. What do the other characters discover about the main character? 3. What is the conflict in the story? 4. What do you think the author’s attitude toward the outcome of the conflict is? 5. What is the title of the story? 6. Why do you think the author chose this?

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