In this latest edition of Boot Camp, we will explore the use of motifs in a literary setting. I hope to be able to demonstrate how it affects storytelling and how it can be applied to your work.
A recurring symbol.
Lesson 18: Using Motifs
The literary device known as Motif refers to a recurring object or idea, which takes on a figurative meaning. It’s presence becomes noticeable through their constant repetition and placement, taking on an important role in the nature of a story. It can be created with the use of imagery, spoken or written phrases, structural or stylistic devices, and other narrative elements.
The purpose of Motifs is to contribute to the story by establishing a certain mood or portray a symbolic meaning while drawing attention to a specific concept (normally pointing to the story’s theme). A Motif is something from the physical world, and can be images, objects, people or events, taking center stage on several occasions throughout the story in order to help the audience to better comprehend the author's underlying messages, by reinforcing the literary works thematic statement.
Here are a few simple examples.
Theme:Death Theme: Peace Theme: Pride
Motif: Crow Motif: Dove Motif: Rooster
The goal of today’s game will be to create various Motifs to help represent the suggested themes, similar to the example above. There won’t be much actual writing in this lesson, more of a mental exercise on finding visual elements to help express ideas of invisible concepts.
- Below are five different Themes, they are pretty broad to allow for more than one interpretation.
- Next are ten suggestions for visual elements.
- For all five themes, find three visual elements which could be associated to them.
- (Optional) Give a short explanation for your selection/association.
- An animal.
- A form of vegetation.
- A tool.
- A vehicle.
- An historical landmark or building.
- An article of clothing.
- A meal or type of food.
- A person (real/historical).
- A fictional character.
- An action or event.
If anyone is interested in sharing their entries, feel free to post them as a reply to this article, or send them to me privately. I may create a page for submissions in the future for those who are willing to have their work shared.
Hope you have fun giving this exercise a try. Until next time!