63 pages 2 hours read

Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Fiction | Novel | YA

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Symbols & Motifs


The significance of written letters is evident in the title itself. Lara Jean’s habit of writing letters is a private secret way of expressing feelings she can’t say out loud. The letters are her way of navigating complicated feelings, and they are a source of comfort to her when she looks back at the boys she has loved before and the person she was when she had those feelings. Thus, the letters also act as a sequence of growth for Lara Jean, a way she can trace how she has learned to appreciate other people. The letters reveal a lot about her feelings for others, but they actually reveal more about Lara Jean. Letters are a motif because they are a symbolic and consistent representation of Lara Jean’s projections. In part, the letters are Lara Jean’s projection of her inner desire to be more outgoing and to try to seize what she wants. The letters represent that courageous step Lara Jean needs to take in order to get the kind of life she truly wants.

The motif comes around full circle when Lara Jean realizes that Peter truly does love her because of the sheer number and earnest content of the notes he writes to her daily.