The Sign - The sign is a big part of the book. It is what this whole story revolves on, how the letters fall of the sign. The sign has the saying "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", which uses all 26 letters of the alphabet in a quick 32 letter saying. The people of Nollop think of this as a holy, unbelievable thing that a man could make such a thing up. So they worship the sign and they worship Nevin Nollop. That is why they fear the sign, because if letters fall off of it, they get vanished from their alphabet.
The letters on the sign - The letters on the sign have great significance too. As they fall, the island has to keep finding more clever ways to keep them able to write and talk to one another. They realize that each letter that falls is useful in some way, and all the words that cannot be said anymore. The letters falling are what cause banishment because if every letter could be used then there would be no problem, but since people will slip up and say the forbidden letters, which causes banishment; they fear the letters throughout the book.
Letters to people - The letters between Tassie and Ella have great importance and symbolize friendship and family throughout the novel. Together they write about family, love, problems, and fears with each other. You see how their moods change and their hope too. They talk about the sign and Nollop and their beliefs in Nollop, if he is really sending a message from above with the falling letters you see the connection between two cousins. With the letters falling out the letters that they write are not as good and you cannot get inside the minds of Tassie and Ella and they become disconnected from each other more and more.
The council - The council is taking over Nollop with out asking any of the people of Nollop how they feel, if they want to get rid of the letters or not. The council equals power and you can see that throughout the novel as they keep making more and more rules to follow and how the punishments for using banished letters get more and more cruel. They are taking over Nollop and plenty of people have had enough and finally start to leave the island because the council is becoming more and more corrupt with power, slowly taking all of Nollop's freedom away.
Nevin Nollop - Nevin Nollop might be the most important motif in the novel. He is the one who the people worship and fear at the same time. They think that he is the almighty ruler and is equal with God. They do not want another letter to fall off the sign, but at the same time they have to respect what they "think" that he wants. Nollop is throughout the book, the most solid motif there is because everything can trace back to him.
The island - The island is a motif because it is where the people of Nollop live, if they lived in the states they would not have the problems that they have on Nollop. The island is their homeland and all that Ella has ever known. She is determined to save the place where she has grown up and lives on.
Banishment - Banishment is the next motif. It is a motif because over time you see how people break the laws and get banished you soon see a great decrease in the population. In one part Mittie describes the northern part of the country as deserted, with hardly any other people there. Soon people are even leaving by themselves with out getting banished to be with the family they had lost from banishment or just for a better life outside of Nollop.