At Fault Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

At Fault Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

White arm

In the second chapter, Mrs. Lafirme goes to Hosmer at his office to inquire about the mill. While there, she puts her hands on his desk and Hosmer becomes attracted to the image of her white arms. That image arouses in him feelings of attraction for Mrs. Lafirme and makes him feel strange. Because of this, it is safe to assume that the white arm is used here as a symbol for the attraction Hosmer felt for Mrs. Lafirme.

Religion as oppressing

One of the common motifs in the novel is the idea that religion oppresses people. The religious teachings presented in the novel stop the characters from pursuing happiness and makes those unhappy only hate religion even more. A question posed time and time again tries to prove that religion should not be above everything else and that everyone should have the freedom to decide what they want from life.

Weak mentality

Another common motif in the novel has to do with the way in which women were seen by men. While their outer appearance was often praised, the men in their lives saw them as weak, mainly because of their mentalities. This idea is mentioned time and time again in the novel and becomes a common motif.

Clothes are important

Another common motif in the book is the idea that the clothes a person wears is extremely important. The black slaves are the ones who are the most interested about the clothes a person wears because it signals the status of the person in question. Because of this, almost every character in the book is obsessed with the way they look and present themselves to the rest of the world.

Burning mill

The story reaches its climax when the mill owned by Hosmer is set on fire by one of the characters. The fire then sets in motion a chain of events that eventually leads to the deaths of some of the characters. The mill was from the beginning a symbol used in the story and it was used to represent stability and the social norms everyone obeyed and respected. When the mill burnt down, the characters stopped obeying the said norms and the world plunged into chaos. Thus, the fire signals the beginning of a chaotic time in the lives of the characters.

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