5+ Motif Examples From Movie and Fiction (+ Definition)

In search of motif examples to grasp this summary literary machine? We acquired you. 

We’ll hit up fashionable movie and fiction motif examples that can assist you study what it’s and use it.

However first, a definition.

A motif is a repeated ingredient showing all through a narrative that contributes to the theme.

It’s mainly bling for movie and fiction, a pop of artistic colour that exhibits as much as make the work extra thought-provoking.

Nonetheless too summary? 

Let’s seize just a few motif examples for help, we could?

Motif Examples From Movie

We’ll begin with movie. It’s simpler to identify recurring motifs within the motion pictures.

Administrators are usually extra direct. Go determine.

In movie, a motif could also be something purposefully repeated, a sample of types: 

  • a colour
  • an object
  • a music
  • an emblem
  • a line of dialogue
  • a digicam angle or filter.

The Crimson Coat Motif in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s Listing

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One of the vital dramatic makes use of of a recurring motif happens within the 1993 movie Schindler’s Listing. This holocaust movie is shot in black and white with one exception, a small Jewish woman’s crimson coat. 

And, simply to complicate issues, this coat is a image and a motif.

The coat’s colour and the age of its wearer, symbolically represents the bloodbath of innocence, an apparent bigger theme of the movie. 

Its repeated use makes it a motif.

See the distinction?

The primary time it pops up, the little woman is strolling by a neighborhood besieged by Nazis. 

She walks unnoticed by all besides the movie’s protagonist Oskar Schindler. 

His misery will increase because the scene progresses; she is an harmless headed for the baddest wolf of WW2.

However maintain the scarlet coat on for just a little longer. Apply the theme.

It’s terribly ironic, however the scene feels extra horrific when we’ve only one defenseless individual to deal with, one spot of colour to hint.

However is it a recurring picture?

Certainly. The little purple coat exhibits up later below a pile of corpses.

On this motif instance, the purple coat gives stark commentary on this darkish time in historical past. 

The Yellow Umbrella Motif in How I Met Your Mom

motif examples yellow umbrella

In a a lot lighter instance, each actually and figuratively, a yellow umbrella is used to characterize Ted Mosby’s future spouse. 

It opens up ten instances within the fashionable sitcom.

Repeated? Test.

However does the umbrella contribute to a theme?

The present facilities across the loves and losses of the principle character Ted, an architect and hopeless romantic. And shocker, hope is a most important theme. 

Hope within the universe, hope in love, hope in glad endings. 

You title it, Ted hopes for it. 

Often, our hero falters. Ceaselessly, he’s heartbroken. Consequently, we fear about him.

That’s when the yellow umbrella pops open, like a ray of proverbial sunshine on a metaphorically cloudy day. And, as a result of the story is informed as a extremely lengthy flashback, we all know all of it works out. 

Contribution to the general theme, test.

However comply with the yellow umbrella a tad additional down Fifth Avenue.

An umbrella gives safety from the weather, one thing incessantly shared. Symbolic significance? Hmmmm.

Isn’t Ted a yellow umbrella for his pals and us? Isn’t he a spot of hopeful sunshine for us all as we navigate our personal storms of heartache?

Motif Examples from Fiction

motif examples from fiction

Now which you can spot movie motifs, let’s get actual and uncover literary motifs.

Similar to administrators, writers use literary motifs to ahead and add depth to their most important themes.

The Blood Motif in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth 

Let’s begin with William Shakespeare. 

The bard loves motifs. Choose any play, any theme, and search for patterns.

In The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare makes use of blood as a way to hint, drop by metaphorical drop, his guilt-leads-to-madness theme. 

In 2.2, after killing Duncan, Macbeth is horrified:

“Will all nice Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/clear from my hand? No, this my hand will moderately the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the inexperienced one purple”

(2.2. 63-66).

Let’s be trustworthy. There’s a entire lot in these traces: allusion, hypophora, hyperbole, diction, and imagery

Squint and simply deal with the blood motif. 

Macbeth realizes he can by no means be “wash[ed]” clear of his crime. Moderately, he believes his guilt (the blood) is so nice that it could flip inexperienced oceans purple. 


Now, literary motifs require patterns, proper?

The following droplet falls in Act 3. 

motif examples in tragedy if macbeth

After extra murders, Macbeth darkly states he should slay to remain king: 

“I’m in blood/Stepped in to date that ought to I wade no extra/ returning have been as tedious as to go over” (3.6. 21-23).

Woman Macbeth begins to splatter her personal droplets in Act 5.

In 5. 1, her character connects blood and guilt in her “Out, out rattling spot” speech. She ends her catatonic confession with traces that echo Macbeth’s: 

“Right here’s the odor of the blood nonetheless: all of the/perfumes of Arabia won’t sweeten this little/hand. Oh, oh, oh!” (5.2. 50-51).

Clearly, blood is a motif. 

The Knitting Motif in Charles Dickens’ A Story of Two Cities

On to different literary works like novels. Let’s check out Charles Dickens’ A Story of Two Cities.

And since villains are enjoyable, let’s observe Madame DeFarge, a grand dame of the French Revolution, and her oddly conspicuous interest, knitting. 

Knitting is a relaxing exercise, proper? Sometimes related to passing time and maternal figures?

Let’s see what Mdme. DeFarge’s knitting reveals about her and her related theme, the fury of the French peasantry.

The knitting needles first seem outdoors Versailles. A person good-naturedly asks her what she knits. She replies, “shrouds” (Dickens 202). Her macabre diction and regular composure disturbs the person; he inches away.

Not so maternal, clearly calming.

Now let’s search for knitting patterns (and sure, that was a pun).

A number of pages later, the yarn is out at her wine store, however she isn’t knitting wine cozies.

She’s knitting two names right into a revolution hit record: John Barsad, a spy, and Charles Darnay, an ex-nobleman, saying to her husband:

“they’re each right here for his or her deserves”

(Dickens 216)

motif examples from a tale of two cities

Virtually. Barsad is responsible; Darnay is harmless. His “advantage” refers to his delivery, not his actions. 

So the knitting motif reveals that the fury of the French peasantry just isn’t at all times justified. 

It additionally hints that Mdme. DeFarge has some deeper points to work by.

Repeated, test.

Theme growth with a facet of character growth, test.

The Moon Motif in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Let’s strive one other villain/motif coupling, Mary Shelley’s creature in Frankenstein and la woman luna.

Celestial our bodies have lengthy been related to archetypes, however they may also be recurring motifs. 

Authors prefer to double-dip their literary units.

The moon is the archetypal image of the female. Assume Artemis, goddess of the moon.

Shelley makes use of this archetype repeatedly (ergo, a motif) to discover the theme: lack of the female. 

We first spot this duo when the creature begins his narration. He tells Victor he solely travels at evening, below the mild gentle of the moon. 

Why? As a result of darkness hides his grotesque type.

And la luna continues to maintain him protected till he loses his humanity and begins killing individuals. 

Then Artemis will get irritated.

Purposely, she exhibits up later. 

Patterns, keep in mind?

Late one evening, Victor struggles to complete the creature’s mate. He appears to be like up and, “by the sunshine of the moon,” he sees the “daemon” on the window (Shelley 205). This imaginative and prescient causes Victor to tear the feminine aside (spoiler!). 

Hollowing in isolation, the creature vanishes. 

On this scene, Victor destroys the creature’s solely probability of a feminine companion.

He misplaced his female. Poor Creature.

The moon reappears on Victor’s wedding ceremony evening, proper earlier than his bride is murdered. A mate for a mate, Previous Testomony fashion. Recalling the occasion, Victor notes the moonlight: ​​

“I felt a type of panic on seeing the pale-yellow gentle of the moon illuminate the chamber”


motif examples in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Poor Victor. 

Eh, not a lot.

On this piece of literature, each characters lose their mates, and their humanity, in Shelley’s smooth moonlight. 

How To Select a Motif

We’ve established that motifs add highly effective depth to themes and characters. 

However how do you go about creating your personal motifs?

Right here’s a guidelines to assist creating writers:

  1. Analyze your work like an English trainer analyzes literature. 
  2. Establish your most important concept and bigger theme.
  3. Have a look at your protagonist and antagonist. 
  4. Do you have already got colours or symbols you related to them? Can certainly one of these be repeated purposefully?
  5. Movie: What visible instruments and methods are you able to pepper all through to contribute to your most important theme and to characterization?
  6. Fiction: What different literary units and literary phrases are you able to repeat to do the identical? 

How To Use a Motif

Similar to equipment polish an outfit, motifs are added after a narrative is accomplished.

So, as soon as you’re completed composing, return to pivotal scenes the place battle and characters are challenged.

These make good locations to plop in a motif.

Simply make sure to comply with these three guidelines:

  1. Restrict your whole variety of motifs. To begin, stick to 1 per theme/character.
  2. Place them purposefully in your writing.
  3. Restrict use, in any other case, they lose efficiency. 

Motif Examples, Test! Mastery Achieved, Test!

Now that we’ve demystified motifs, exit and discover them for your self. Awe your friends together with your eager eye and imply analytical expertise. 

And, if you’re as much as the problem, go into your personal tales and decorate! Costume them up for the ball with just a few flashes of your personal motif gold.

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