Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes.


The motif of temptation runs throughout the novel, especially in the interplay between Daisy and Billy. After his first brush with fame, Billy succumbs to temptation, becoming addicted to drugs and flagrantly cheating on his wife. He spends the rest of his time with The Six battling these temptations while attempting to remain clean and steady for Camila. Daisy, who herself succumbs to the temptation of drugs for much of the novel, represents the ultimate temptation for Billy. He avoids Daisy both because he’s increasingly attracted to her and because her substance use threatens his sobriety. Temptation takes on a more painful tenor when the two realize they are in love with each other. Though Billy does not fully give in to the temptation to physically be with Daisy, he can’t stop himself from loving her. Temptation is also a major theme of the album Aurora, and the tension between Daisy and Billy is what makes the album so compelling.  


Music serves as a source of salvation for many of the characters in the novel, relieving them of emotional pain and suffering. When the Dunne brothers are children, they find solace in music after their father abandons them. Billy’s first guitar is left behind by his father. The pain of their father’s absence is with them often, especially Billy, and it’s through music that they both discover who they are without their father. In this way, they become the men, and fathers, their father couldn’t be. Daisy also turns to the music scene as a teenager to find solace in the face of her absent parents. Daisy often finds herself being preyed upon by men, sexually and creatively, but through songwriting she finds her voice and a way to push back against male dominance. In so doing, she creates her own meaning and comes to understand herself as an agent in her own life. 

Reflections and Mirrors 

Reflections and mirrors provide a way for the novel’s characters to understand themselves and their relationships to each other. Daisy’s first album cover shows her looking in the mirror, and though the album isn’t truly representative of who she is, it represents a step in understanding the work and maneuvering required to be successful in the male-dominated music business. This album cover bookends the Aurora album cover, in which Billy and Daisy mirror each other both physically and metaphorically while also displaying the mirrored concepts of light and dark and masculinity and femininity. In that cover, Daisy is fully herself, displaying her body how she wants to and signaling the intensity of her relationship with Billy through the emotionally charged negative space between them. Compared to her first album cover, Daisy is more herself and has put in the work creatively to stand as a well-respected artist, due, in part, to her time working with Billy. Daisy often uses mirror metaphors to talk about her relationship with him. She describes Billy as “the right mirror,” saying he saw her the way she wanted to be seen. In the song “Regret Me,” she says that she hopes when he looks in the mirror, he takes stock of his soul. Billy also often says he looks at himself in the mirror to face hard truths, suggesting that Daisy sees Billy very clearly, too.