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• a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary
composition. This is not a hidden message, this is an idea that the
author tries to communicate CLEARLY
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• While a symbol might occur once in literature to signify an idea or an
emotion, a motif can be an element or idea that repeats throughout
that piece of literature. A motif could be expressed by a collection of
related symbols. For example, the motif of childhood innocence in
Bridge to Terabithia is obvious because of the authors choice of
characters, events, and setting.