Motif

A simple element that serves as a basis for expanded narrative; or, less strictly, a conventional situation, device, interest, or incident. In music and art, the term is used in various other senses, as for a recurring melodic phrase, a prevailing idea or design, or a subject for detailed sculptural treatment… In literature, recurrent images, words, objects, phrases, or action that tend to unify the word are called motives. Nabokov’s Lolita, for example, is saturated by a light-dark motif that is found in the names of the protagonist and antagonist (Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty); patterns of day and night, blonde and brunette, summer and winter, north and south, white and black; and the game of chess.(Handbook to Literature

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Sources

The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the PresentEric Kandel.

The Banalization of Nihilism: Twentieth-Century Responses to MeaninglessnessKaren L. Carr.

A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.

Cognitive Neuropsychology Section, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition.

Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynne Truss.

The Elements of Style. William Strunk. 

Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Peter Barry.

Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Stephen Eric Bronner.

Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Lois Tyson

The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. David H. Richter.

A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

Literary Theories and Schools of Criticism. Purdue Online Writing Lab. 

New Oxford American DictionaryEdited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.

The Norton Anthology of World LiteratureMartin Puchner, et al.

The Norton Introduction to PhilosophyGideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.

Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.

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