Hope Leslie

Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

There is an obvious overall theme of "Love conquers all". This is shown throughout many trials in the story and between many different people. There is first the love of William Fletcher and Alice. In the end, their love comes back around to their children, Everell and Hope. Also, there is the marriage of Faith and Oneco. They constantly have to protect their marriage by convincing people it was for love, that even their religious and racial backgrounds couldn't keep them apart. Then there is the love between Hope Leslie and Magawisca. This love is a beautiful friendship and you see this displayed mostly when Magawisca takes a huge risk to come and tell Hope about her sister's marriage and how Faith has changed. Magawisca is thrown into prison for this but once again displaying their love, Hope risks everything to set her free.

Aside from the obvious theme, there is another underlying theme that centers around the character of Hope Leslie herself. She represents the pioneer woman of the 17th Century. The theme that she represents is "fighting for what she believes in". Obviously, there would be no story if Hope Leslie had not been such a protector and confidant for the Native American's she came into contact with. She risked her life for Magawisca and also became friends with Rosa/Roslin and protected Nelema's reputation.

Motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story.[2] The motif of Hope Leslie goes hand in hand with the theme of the story. The recurring symbolism in Hope Leslie overall is love. There are acts of love between lovers, friends, and family within this story. There is the action of Magawisca sacrificing herself for Everell and getting her arm cut off. Magawisca also takes a risk when she is communicating with Hope Leslie when she is not supposed to be. Then there is the sacrifice of Hope Leslie to break Magawisca out of jail. The plan she uses also calls for the risk of Everell and Digby and their possible banishment from their lives and community if they are caught.

The smallest symbol in the story but perhaps the most significant in retrospect has got to be when Mr. Samuel Gorton comes in.[3] He is known as a Puritan Heretic. As soon as he is mentioned in the plot then the entire story begins to unravel. This is when all of the major sacrifices for love begin to happen, when Magawisca and Hope Leslie meet up, when Sir Philip Gardiner is revealed as corrupt, when Rosa warns Hope and when everyone risks their lives for one another.

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