The Rhythm Section
Mark Burnell
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
Motifs
Motifs are devices or structures that are used by artists or authors to help in the development of a theme.
Revenge

The pursuit of vengeance by both Stephanie and Mustafa Sela forms the basis of the novel’s plot. Stephanie undergoes a significant transformation, from a prostitute to a lethal covert agent, as she seeks revenge (“The Rhythm Section - Mass Market PB”, 2000). Sela also describes how he changes from a Palestinian nomad to a terrorist. Both characters are forced to toughen up and alter who they are after being faced with cruel and unfair circumstances. Stephanie seeks revenge after her family becomes victims of a terror attack, while Sela becomes a terrorist to avenge three of his family members after they are killed by Israeli forces. 

Terrorism

Stephanie’s family, together with other passengers, are the victims of a terror attack that is orchestrated by the main antagonist, Mustafa Sela. After their deaths, Stephanie joins the Magenta House, an organization dedicated to ending terrorism. As an operative for Magenta House, Stephanie uncovers the financiers, planners, and executors of terrorist acts for the purpose of preventing any and all future terror attacks. In the end, the fight against terrorism can be described as successful, as Stephanie discovers a terrorist plot and halts it from being executed. 

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