A motif in the novel is falling. The people fear falling and some actually do. They fear failure and injuries. Both Angle and Meme fall from tremendous heights. Esperanza fears falling and plans to float away as she is a red balloon.
Sir John Tenniel's illustration of the Caterpillar for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is noted for its ambiguous central figure, whose head can be viewed as being a human male's face . or being the end of an actual caterpillar.