1917 (Film)

1917 (Film) Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Schofield's medal (Symbol)

As they travel on their mission, Blake asks Schofield about the fact that he received a medal fighting in the Battle of the Somme. Schofield tells him that he gave the medal away and did not value it very much. In this way, the medal, somewhat surprisingly symbolizes not Schofield's heroism but his ego-less-ness in relation to that heroism. He does not value glory in a vain or self-regarding way. Rather, he is humble and selfless in his heroism.

No Man's Land (Symbol)

No man's land is a key setting in the film, and symbolizes the huge loss of human life during World War I and the horrifying conditions of the trenches. All that Schofield and Blake can see before them is mud, blood, bodies, and wire. No man's land becomes not only a backdrop for their mission, but a landscape that represents the difficulties and desolation of war.

Cherry Blossom (Symbol)

At the beginning of the film, Blake tells Schofield that his mother used to grow cherry trees in their garden. Here, the cherry trees represent his happy memories of home, which are presented in stark contrast to the horrors of war. After Blake's death, Schofield sees cherry blossom petals on the river, which reminds him of Blake and motivates him to continue with the mission and save Blake's brother.

Rats (Symbol)

Rats are depicted as being a typical part of life in the trenches. They are depicted as a nuisance, and also as being dangerous. One of the soldiers tells a story about a man who fell asleep and woke up to a rat biting his ear off. When the men are in the abandoned German trenches, they notice that the rats are much bigger. The rats symbolize the dehumanizing and base conditions of soldier life during World War I.

Dog tags and Rings (Symbol)

When he meets Joseph, Tom's brother, Schofield gives him Tom's rings and dog tags, a symbol of his death and his memory as a soldier. He has been carrying them with him on his journey, and he is now ready to give them to Tom's family and begin to move on from his traumatic experience in no man's land.