In a narrative, such as a novel, motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the pieces major theme. The Serial Garden is a short story written by Joan Aiken. The Serial Garden is about Mark Armitage, a boy who dwells in and out of magical worlds. In The Serial Garden Aiken uses various motifs to promote and instruct the books proposition. A motif is an element that appears numerous times in a literary work.
The motif of reluctance is portrayed trough the fussy behavior of Aikens characters. For example, when Marks mother, Mrs. Armitage asks him if he wants cold rice and pudding for breakfast. Mark answers with rebuttal. Mark is reluctant to eat rice and pudding for breakfast since it is not from the larbor and rather chilly looking. Therefore, his mother sends him to run down to Miss Pride to get a small packet of cereal. In addition, reluctance is illustrated when Mark finds Rudi, the princess’s long lost love and the princess is reluctant to go to his house. Since she insists it is not proper etiquette. The princess concludes because she is royal it would not be an act of dignity. Furthermore, hesitancy is depicted when Rudi is reluctant to proceed to see the princess, until he feeds his dogs first. Rudi is reluctant since he believes the dogs may not be hungry and that they were visitors and they must be taken care of. The motif of reluctance is presented various times throughout The Serial Garden.
As well as the motif of reluctance the motif of imprisonment is illustrated. For example, when Mr. Armitage locks himself in the larder. Mr Armitage’s imprisonment is a result of him trying to find out the location the mouse uses to get into the larder. Mr. Armitage shuts himself in so that no member of the family can disturb his vigil. As a result the spring attached to the door jammed therefore, locking himself in. Another example...
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