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Free Study Guide for The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: BookNotes

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Major Theme

“Mystery and Wonderment That Serve Our Souls”

The major theme of this novel is expressed in a quotation by Marie Chauvel in the resolution. In this novel people believe in things, or are inspired by things, which cannot be proven true. Langdon remembers this when he looks at his Mickey Mouse watch. Similarly, people must rely on their faith in religion or faith that the Grail exists. The mystery and wonderment produced by these facets of their lives are more important than the real facts.

Minor Themes

The Sacred Feminine

On one level, the main characters in this novel are discussing and searching for symbolic representations of the sacred feminine. However, on another, more subtle, level Brown portrays women’s power. Through Sophie Neveu, Brown illustrates an intelligent and capable woman. Moreover, Sophie frequently makes decisions based on a sixth sense not bestowed upon the male characters which Brown calls women’s intuition. Sophie’s feminine power is reinforced by the many stories told of ancient reverence for women as life-givers as well as the prominent status of Mary Magdalene.


While this novel promotes faith, it also cautions against pursuing one’s beliefs to the point of fanaticism. Brown offers two examples of characters that become fanatics: Silas and Teabing. Silas is a religious fanatic. He allows his desire to please God and act on behalf of the Church to cloud his judgment. Silas is willing to murder as long as he believes he is supporting the Church.

Similarly, Lee Teabing believes so strongly in finding and revealing the Sangreal documents that he is willing to murder for his cause. While each of these men fanatically supports diametrically opposed agendas, they both come to believe that the ends justify the means. Brown seems to admonish this behavior because neither fanatical character is successful.


The mood is suspenseful. Brown creates a feeling of suspense in this novel in three ways: he keeps the chapters short; he sacrifices detail for action; he switches back and forth between various sub-plots. The plot itself is suspenseful because information is often revealed in flash-back or deliberately withheld in an effort to surprise the reader.

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