Classical Childrens Books

Lion To Guard Us Themes and Symbols

Themes, symbols, and literary analysis of Lion to Guard Us: Clyde Bulla's historial fiction novel about the Sea Adventure.

Lion to Guard Literary Symbolism Poster


The themes in A Lion to Guard Us include:


The most obvious symbol is the lion door knocker. It is easy to identify this as a central symbol because: The door knocker symbolizes safety and the hope of reconciling the family.

In the unit study, students are given several short activities related to theme and symbols. Symbols are identified as objects that represent a concept.

Students practice identifying common symbols and what they represent.

In this case, safety and family are BOTH symbols and themes. Often the symbols point to the major themes.


A motiff is a repeating object or event that points to a symbol. In this case, the frequent appearance of the door knocker is the motiff.

In our unit study for elementary students, we do not identify motiff. (That is literary analysis for a higher grade.) But certainly the repetition of the door knocker makes it a motiff. It also supports the generalization that motiffs illuminate symbols and symbols illuminate themes. (Not always the case, but it often is true. Which it is in this book.)

Literary Analysis

Action Plot Diagram

The Action Plot is an important part of understanding a story. We start by identifying the: Students also identify the types of conflict: Class roles and political controversy are other types of social conflict that appear later as their are castaways on a deserted island.

Literary Genre

A Lion to Guard Us is historical fiction, or more specifically children's historical fiction.

The sub-genre is historical fiction with fictitious main characters and historical minor characters. This allows the author free reign to have the characters support the theme without altering historical facts. The minor characters in this story are the major characters of Sea Venture's history. (They include Admiral Somers, Captain Newport, Governor Gates, Stephen Hopkins, John Rolfe, and Chris Carter and Robert Waters.)

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Our pages for A Lion To Guard Us

Clyde Bulla's Historical Fiction of the Sea Venture

Our Unit Study Lion to Guard Us Unit Study
Download the 78 page Unit
Maps Lion to Guard Us Maps
Geography Activities
Vocabulary Lion to Guard Us Vocabulary
Vocabulary Book Marks
Themes/Symbols Lion to Guard Us Themes and Symbols
Literary Analysis for kids
Timeline Lion to Guard Us Timeline
Date of Major Events
Summary Lion to Guard Us Chapter Summaries
Highlights of each chapter
Sea Venture Game Sea Venture Shipwreck Castaways Game
Game of events of 1609 - 1610

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