Code Name Verity Symbols and Motifs

Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

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Code Name Verity Symbols and Motifs

Literary References

The constant use of literary references, particularly in Julie’s section of the narrative, isa secret,and at times subversive, motif throughout the novel. These literary references form a secret code, echoing Maddie and Julie’s roles in secret operations, Jamie’s role as a secret pilot, and even Julie’s refusal to be defeated and betray her country to the Nazis, as Captain von Linden believes she has. Some literary references are positive and uplifting, while others are portents of death.

Peter Pan is the primary literary reference; references to the book are littered throughout the Beaufort-Stuart clan’s relationships with each other and with Maddie.These references are by far the most numerous, and they appear in both Julie’s and Maddie’s narratives. For example, the code names of the pilots in Operation Verity are all taken from Peter Pan: Michael for the head pilot, Peter for the pilot Maddie replaces, Wendy for Maddie, and John for Jamie.

Furthermore, Peter Pan has great significance for the Beaufort-Stuart clan. As a pilot, the flight references contained in that story easily translate to Jamie’s experience and expand to include Maddie’s, too.Further, Esmé Beaufort-Stuart transforms the symbolic and literal gesture of leaving her children’s bedroom windows open every night, just as Mrs. Darling does,into a sort of talisman of good luck or harbinger of hope. As long as the windows are open, hope remains that the children will all come flying home safely. In turn, the Beaufort-Stuart children call their mother Mrs. Darling.

In the final page of the novel, Lady Beaufort-Stuart brings Maddie into the family and into the charmed circle of her protection in her letter to Maddie, asking her to fly home safely: “Please come back soon. The window is always open” (332). Maddie is now one of Esmé’s children for whom she leaves the window open.

Julie’s refrain during her good-byes with Maddie is“Kiss me, Hardy”—a phrase Admiral Nelson used on his deathbed. Julie uses this phrase throughout her relationship with Maddie, and it it’s part of the friendship code between the two women, an element of their relationship that no one knows about but them. Julie’s…

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