52 pages 1 hour read

Lawrence Hill

The Illegal

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2015

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Symbols & Motifs

The Eye of the Needle

The phrase the “eye of the needle” is used repeatedly throughout the text. This is an allusion to the Christian Bible, in which Jesus says that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. We first hear Yoyo reference the eye of the needle when speaking with the corrupt dictator. When the dictator asks Yoyo to write his autobiography, Yoyo replies, “There are the fishes and the loaves to consider, Your Excellency […] but there is also the eye of the needle” (44). If Yoyo writes this autobiography, he may gain riches from the government, but he will become corrupt by extension and therefore a sinner, a man who cannot gain entry to the kingdom of god. Ultimately, Yoyo decides it is better to die with integrity than to sell his soul for “loaves and fishes.” This symbol is again used in reference to Ivernia, who also chooses to risk legal trouble by helping those in need over keeping her riches and turning a blind eye.