Themes & Symbolism


You will find detailed discussions on the three main themes of  Dancing in the Shadows of Love by clicking on the links below:

What is Love?

The Nature of Prejudice; the Illusion of Difference 

War versus Peace

There are other, minor, themes in the novel. Can you say what they are?


Nothing appears in the story by chance. There are hidden meanings throughout the text of "Dancing in the Shadows of Love." 

For example, the tuberoses decorating the fashion designer’s shop that Jamila visits with Chuki Wiseman denote dangerous pleasures and reflect Jamila’s dilemma. Enoch’s identity is hinted at because often when people interact with him, the smell of a cedar tree is present. Can anyone say what a cedar tree suggests?

A rose corresponds to the Lotus symbolism: Divine perfection (of the spirit) growing out of the mud of the earth (the body.) Roses thus denote the quest for perfect transcendence of the soul as it yearns for an untarnished fulfillment, and rises up from the dark and muddy primeval waters to blossom in the light above them. The white rose, in particular, is the “flower of light,” of innocence, purity and spiritual unfolding.  Thus, in the story, every time the white rose appears the character is moving along on her spiritual journey.

The sea/ocean, as a body of water, symbolizes the unconscious but, being larger than the rivers and lakes which feed into it, the ocean represents the cosmic consciousness (or the Divine Source from which all life emerged.) When a river flows into the ocean, at the point of their union, the two become one body of water. In the same way, at the moment when the individual Self merges with the infinite Divine, enlightenment occurs: we are all one; we have a collective unconscious linking us to the “other.” Thus in "Dancing in the Shadows of Love," the ocean reminds us that, despite their apparent differences, all of the characters are connected. The sea/ocean (representing the collective cosmic consciousness, or Divine Being, whatever shape of faith it takes) dominates the background of their ordinary lives as a silent, objective witness to the choices they each make on their spiritual journey.

Can you find other symbols in the book that mean something to you?