Can’t get that song out of your head? Don’t
worry—it could help you write your next paper. Stay with me. There’s nothing worse than having a song stuck
in your head. I take that back. There’s nothing worse than having a BAD song
stuck in your head. And you know it happens. There’s always some
little piece of a tune—sometimes just a rhythm, or a specific beat—that lodges in
your skull and then … YOU CAN’T GET IT OUT. That’s kind of what a motif is like. Think of it as that piece of the melody that
the author can’t get enough of. The idea or element he or she repeats over … and over
… and OVER. Oh, and here’s another thing about motifs. You’ll pick up on them not just because of
the repetition, but also because of the way they fit in with the author’s message or theme. Motifs support and enhance the author’s theme.
They help the theme stand out. Actually, they’ll help you stand out, too. Because what English teacher doesn’t love
a girl—or guy—who can rock out on the subject of motifs?