Michael Walker's list of motifs

Hitchcock's Motifs, by Michael Walker (Univ. of Amsterdam Press, 2005) provides extended discussion, from a psychoanalytical perspective, of recurring elements in Hitchcock's films. Below is a condensed version of Walker's list of "key motifs":

Bed Scene
- couples and beds
- beds and the police

Blondes and brunettes
- Blondes versus brunettes
- blond iconography

Cameo appearances

Children

Confined spaces
- bathrooms and washrooms
- confinement and concealment
- cages and bars: fears of imprisonment

The corpse

Dogs and cats

Doubles

Entry through a window

Exhibitionism / voyeurism / the look

Food and meals
- food and marriage
- food and sex
- food and murder
- food and guilt
- chickens and eggs

Guilt and confession
- Catholic overtones
- transference of guilt
- guilt, confession, and the police

Handcuffs and bondage

Hands
- male hands / female hands
- held wrists
- damaged hands
- holding hands

Heights and falling

Homosexuality
- gay undercurrents
- homosexuality, espionage, and the look

Jewelry
- greed and status
- female desire
- female beauty / male power

Keys and handbags

Lights

The MacGuffin

Mothers and houses

Portraits, paintings and painters
- modern art

Public disturbances

Spectacles

Staircases

Trains and boats / planes and buses

Water and rain

A summary list of recurring elements:

"absurdist geography"

"banality of evil"

betrayal

birds

blank stare

blondes

Catholic iconography

decorum, social order

disguise

doubling, Doppelgangers, twins

evil erupts in ordinary surroundings

exchange of guilt

eyes

falling, dangling

fantasy vs. reality, illusion

the family

fetishism

film and reality, film as metaphor

food, eating

the "gaze"

guilt

handcuffs, restraint, bondage

homosexuality

imagination

logic vs. intuition

love

loyalty

making someone over

masculinity

maturity

mirrors

mothers, "Momism," Oedipal conflict

obsession

passion

police, authority figures

religious notions: guilt, repression, suffering, redemption

secrets

sex and death

shadows

suffering and its value

suspicion

travel, movement through space

trust

windows, curtains

women, femininity

voyeurism, "scopophilia"