Legend Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

JumboTron (Symbol)

Installed throughout the Republic, the JumboTrons are the main way the government disseminates information to the common people. As the novel progresses and reveals more secrets of the totalitarian Republic, it becomes clear that the JumboTrons are sources of lies and propaganda. They serve as the mouthpieces for the Primo Elector and the military. In this way the JumboTrons are symbolic of the Republic’s corrupt government.

Pendant Necklace (Symbol)

The night he attempts to steal plague vaccines from the hospital, Day loses his pendant necklace. The military officers investigating Metias’s death later find this necklace and eventually June uses the necklace to identify Day. At first it seems the pendant is simply a trinket Day’s father gave to him and hence only has sentimental value. A flashback to Day’s childhood, however, reveals that the pendant is actually a disguised piece of currency from the former United States of America. We are not told much about the coin’s significance, only that it is proof the United States existed and that it is dangerous for the Wings to have it. Rather than get rid of it, the Wings decide to hide the pendant in plain sight by disguising it and giving it to Day to wear. The pendant can be seen as symbolic of Day himself. Despite being a notorious enemy to the Republic government, he hides himself in plain sight with disguises and subterfuge. Furthermore, similar to the pendant, it is dangerous for Day to be seen with his family.

Logos versus Pathos (Motif)

The push and pull between logos and pathos appears throughout Legend, particularly within the character of June. June struggles between what she logically believes is true and what she feels is true. This is best illustrated by her feelings for Day. Logically, all evidence indicates that Day is guilty of killing Metias. Further, all of the authority figures and sources of information in June’s life tell her Day is the murderer. And yet, June is swayed by her gut and emotional feelings for Day. When Day adamantly denies killing her brother, a part of June believes him. This is why she resumes her own private investigation into Metias’s murder and discovers the truth. Forgoing her logical nature and listening to her emotions enables June to reach the truth. Although she may have said “Logic above all else. Logic will save you when nothing else will” while interrogating Day, it is her gut feelings and emotions that prevailed within June in the end (286).

A Life Off the Grid (Motif)

In Legend there is a clear line drawn in the sand between people that live on the Republic’s grid and those that do not. Day and Tess are two principal characters that live off the grid. Because of this, they cannot easily contact or connect with people still on the grid. For Day, this means he cannot contact his family freely. For Tess, this means she cannot be a part of a “real family” because she would be forced to take the Trial and potentially end up as another Republic lab rat. People still living on the Republic’s radar also have compromised lives. They must show constant allegiance and fealty to the Republic. Also, as Day points out when speaking about his family, they cannot just “pick up and leave their assigned jobs to flee with [him], unless they want to become fugitives" (93). In the end, no matter what side of the line you are on, whether or not you are on the Republic’s grid, your life is constrained in some way.

Resilience (Motif)

Resilience appears in a myriad of ways and from a range of sources in Legend. Day speaks of Tess’s resilience and toughness when June comments on Tess’s physical fragility. Later that same night, Day takes note of June’s own strength in the face of adversity and danger. He sees similarities between himself and June because they have both remained strong and resilient when life tried to break them. Resilience appears in less explicit ways as well. Day’s mother, for example, exemplifies the ability to recover and face difficulties head on. Although she lost her husband and (to her knowledge) one of her sons, she continues to live on for her remaining sons.