36 pages 1 hour read

Wendy Mass

The Candymakers

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2010

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Symbols & Motifs


The black, yellow, and red butterfly is an important symbol that represents the idea of personal transformation and growth. Each of the four contestants has a personal connection to the butterfly, and that connection changes throughout the course of the contest. As a coming-of-age novel, the butterfly represents the transformation that each contestant undergoes as they move from a child to a teenager, but it also symbolizes the changes that result from the connections they’ve made with each other.

In the beginning, Logan deeply desires to witness a caterpillar morph into a butterfly. He watches the butterfly chrysalis every day, but he still misses the moment the “black, yellow, and red” (113) butterfly emerges. This symbolizes Logan’s feelings about himself. He is badly scarred from the burns he suffered as a child, but he doesn’t distinguish his physical change as an inner change. It’s only at the end of the novel, when Daisy gives him the childhood photo of himself, that he recognizes the internal shift that has happened inside him. In Daisy’s assignment-file picture of five-year-old Logan, he has a “Yellow, black, and red” butterfly on the tip of his nose (452). The photo is accompanied by a note that says, “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no such things as butterflies.