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Related: repetition - motif of harmful sensation - theme
In literature, a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance. For example, it could be a thing, a place, or a statement. The green light in The Great Gatsby is a motif, as is the repeated statement, "My father said that the reason for living is getting ready to stay dead." in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.
In music, a motif is a perceivable or salient recurring figure or fragment that may be used to construct the entirety or parts of complete melodies, themes, and even accompaniments.
Motif is not a synonym for theme.
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motif [Jul 2004]
LeitmotifThe word leitmotif has been used by extension to mean any sort of recurring theme, whether in music, literature, or the life of a fictional or even non-fictional person. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leitmotiv [Jul 2004]
Zoomorphism [...]A motif that predominates Lovecraft's fiction is zoomorphism. A strong example of this motif can be found in The Festival, a story in which Lovecraft's protagonist is lured by a cacophony of strange sounds to a ritual held in the bowels of decaying city. There he finds a horde of creatures leaking into our reality: "There flapped rhythmically a horde of hybrid winged things...not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor decomposed human beings but a combination of these things that I can not and must not fully recall..." (The Doom..., pp. 54) --© 2001 John R. Harford, Surrealism , H.P. Lovecraft and Dream Reality [http://www.thefragment.com/essay/surrealwriting/surrealpoetry3.html, Mar 2004]
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