Near to the Wild Heart Themes & Motifs

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Comparisons to Animals

At many different points in the novel, both Joana and other characters are compared to different animals. This motif continues to resurface because it emphasizes the almost non-human nature of Joana’s personality, in particular that she brings a sense of wildness or untamed-ness in place of common civility. At some points in the novel, Joana’s physical appearance is compared to an animal, such as when she is likened to a wildcat immediately after laughing to herself: “She looked like a wildcat, her eyes burning over her flaming cheeks, speckled with dark freckles, unkempt brown hair over her eyebrows. She saw dark, triumphant crimson in herself” (73).

The most repeated comparison between Joana and an animal is not a physical comparison, but a comparison of personalities: Joana and a viper. Joana is first compared to a viper by her aunt, who is distraught after...

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This section contains 1,936 words
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Buy the Near to the Wild Heart Study Guide
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