The Yellow Birds: A Novel Themes & Motifs

Kevin Powers
This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Yellow Birds.
This section contains 1,371 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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Christianity

While the novel never mentions God or spirituality directly, it is a running theme throughout the story. The author has set up the Murph character as a kind of martyr or Christ figure, while Bartle is the Judas figure, the betrayer.

Murph starts out as an innocent, fresh-faced boy looking to Bartle and Sterling for guidance. Slowly through the novel, he becomes more and more isolated and brooding. Sterling sets himself up as a father figure, but as he sees Murph slipping, he pulls away and allows Murph to fall, just as God left Christ to his fate. Mrs. Murphy passes her protective role in Murph’s life on to Bartle, as Mary did for the disciples. When the time comes, Murph goes alone into the desert and meditates in his way by watching the female medic.

Bartle’s betrayal is subtle in that he ceases...

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This section contains 1,371 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Yellow Birds: A Novel Study Guide
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