Home Forums Fiction Writing Plotting Questions about Motifs and Archetypes

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Audrey Caylin 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #63174

    Dekreel
    @dekreel
    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
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    Greetings, my fellow Kapeefers! I have two questions:

    1. What exactly is a motif? And what is the difference between a motif and a theme or symbol?
    2. What is the difference between a symbol and an archetype?

    @princessfoo  @jane-maree  @daeus  @sam-kowal  @rochellaine  @skredder  @that_writer_girl_99  @dragon-snapper  @seekjustice  @jenwriter17  @anyone

    Pronounced DEE-kreel. ENFJ -T (with a hint of ENFP)
    And no, I am not a wolf. I’m NOT!

    #63177

    Rochellaine
    @rochellaine
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    #63197

    jenwriter17
    @jenwriter17
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 432

    @dekreel I’m glad @rochellaine included this link ’cause I don’t know the answer to your questions. I’m learning right along with you! 🙂

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen." -Martin Luther
    INFJ

    #63246

    Dekreel
    @dekreel
    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
    • Total Posts: 1406

    @rochellaine  Yyyyesssss… But they’re both technically symbolic objects that represent something. How does one tell the difference?

    Pronounced DEE-kreel. ENFJ -T (with a hint of ENFP)
    And no, I am not a wolf. I’m NOT!

    #63248

    Rochellaine
    @rochellaine
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @dekreel I think what the article said was that a symbol is something that is seen only a few times as an overreaching message, and a motif is something that is interwoven with the whole story.  In my mind I likened the motif to a knight’s coat of arms, which would be seen on everything, (shields, clothes, furniture, flags,) and the symbol to the actual symbols on the coat of arms, which you wouldn’t notice in particular as often, but which have a deep meaning.

    Do you think that’s right?

    “Sylvester – Sylvester!”

    #63250

    Sam Kowal
    @sam-kowal
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @dekreel Hmm… good question.
    I think a motif is an element that occurs over and over in the story and sort of meant to become part of the story’s theme, whereas a symbol is simply there to represent something. And the theme is the topic your story is focused upon.
    So a story’s theme might be forgiveness, and it contains a symbol of forgiveness like a tree that continues to bear fruit even though the farmer might hack off half its branches and not take care of it, and a motif would be situations where people have to make the choice of forgiveness despite being wronged repeatedly throughout the story.
    And an archetype is a recurrent symbol or motif, so I’m not sure how to precisely define that from the others.

    *Giarstanornarak tries to melt chair*

    #63268

    Audrey Caylin
    @audrey-caylin
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
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    @dekreel @sam-kowal explained a motif really well — a reoccurring image or element in a story. I’m pretty sure it could be a symbol too? But a symbol would be more of an object that represents an abstract idea, like Jack Sparrow’s compass represents his choices. A theme is the central idea of your novel: justice, forgiveness, love, etc (and a message would be a more specific part of the theme). Finally, I’ve actually never heard of an archetype before beyond character archetypes…so yeah. That’s all I’ve got XD

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