Symbolism

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A slideshow for introducing students to symbolism. Credit to Lfissel for several of the slides.

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Symbolism

  1. 1. Symbolism Meanings beyond the obvious
  2. 2. A symbol is… <ul><li>an object that stands for itself and a greater idea . </li></ul><ul><li>We see symbols every day… </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>PART 1: HOW MANY SYMBOLS CAN YOU ASSOCIATE WITH UNIVERSAL , ABSTRACT IDEAS OR VALUES?? </li></ul><ul><li>HINT: Don’t limit yourselves to objects, think also about shapes and colors or just parts of a picture </li></ul>
  4. 4. In literature, symbolism… <ul><li>creates a direct, meaningful link between… </li></ul><ul><li>a specific object, scene, character, or action </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>abstract ideas, values, persons or ways of life. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Symbolism is be used to… <ul><li>Provide meaning beyond the obvious: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasize key ideas or themes: </li></ul></ul>A river can represent the flow of life… … or its depth may represent the unknown… … the water might be purity… … or there could be dangers beneath the surface.
  6. 6. <ul><ul><li>Draw attention to the plot: </li></ul></ul>A walk into a tunnel – or change from day to night – could show movement from good to evil, or that something bad is coming… A storm at a critical moment can represent the intense emotion and trouble… And dawn may show the end of conflict, the “start of a new day.”
  7. 7. <ul><ul><li>And give insights into characters: </li></ul></ul>In Poe’s “Telltale Heart,” the sound of the beating heart represents the man’s guilt… … a character’s name may tell you something about them, in “The Lottery” Mr. Graves has authority over the killing… … and a character’s appearance can be symbolic – in Cask of Amontillado, Fortunato wears a fool’s costume – and he is, in fact, a fool for trusting the narrator.
  8. 8. How can you spot a symbol? <ul><li>There’s no one way, but some things to look for are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colors or objects that are used repeatedly: if it’s mentioned often, it’s probably important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unusual character names </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Objects / creatures that have cultural meanings (lions = strength, owls = wisdom, etc.) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. One warning… <ul><li>Many “symbols” are personal interpretations – and unintended by the author! </li></ul><ul><li>Consider this dialogue from Peanuts: </li></ul>Lucy: “ Do you always have the people’s hands behind their back to symbolize your shyness?” So… don’t go crazy with this stuff! It’s all open to interpretation… Charlie Brown: “ No, I just don’t know how to draw hands.”
  10. 10. What do these images symbolize?
  11. 11. And these…
  12. 12. And these…
  13. 13. The end. 

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