Higher – Crib-Sheets

Six sections for each crib-sheet:
10 Key Events
6 Characters
10 Quotations
10 Analyses
5 Themes
2 Motifs
You must complete one for both Tess and The Crucible.
What is a motif?
In narrative, a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story. Through its repetition, a motif can help produce other narrative (or literary) aspects such as theme or mood.
Motifs in Tess…
Birds
Images of birds recur throughout the novel, evoking or contradicting their traditional association with a higher realm of spirituality. Historically, birds have a positive symbolic meaning. Tess occasionally hears birdcalls on her hikes across the countryside; their free expressiveness stands in contrast to Tess’s silent and constrained existence as a wronged and disgraced girl. When Tess goes to work for Mrs. d’Urberville, she is surprised to find that the old woman’s pet finches are frequently released to fly free throughout the room. These birds offer images of hope and liberation. In the end, when Tess encounters the pheasants maimed by hunters and lying in agony, birds now appear oppressed and submissive. These pheasants are victims of earthly violence, condemned to suffer down below and never fly again. There is clear association between the flight of birds and concepts of freedom, either corporeal or spiritual. See how often you can make a comparison between the birds in the novel and Tess’s own situation.
The Book of Genesis
There is a clear representation of the protagonists of the Biblical book as follow: Tess as Eve, Angel as Adam, Alec as the Serpent. Tess is seduced beneath a tree, and is given the forbidden knowledge of sex. The blooming romance between Tess and Angel at Talbothay’s seems a clear mirror image of Eden and is expressed through a sinless lens of natural imagery. When Tess confesses her sin, she is exiled from these lush romantic surroundings and cast to the desolate setting of Flintcombe Ash. Indeed, the idea of exile can be applied to her evicted family, and her rootless final days, unable to settle in happiness anywhere.

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