Symbolism in Literature<br />Karen S Wright<br />
Meaning Beyond the Obvious<br />A symbol is what it is, but something more.<br />
Universal Symbols<br />Universal symbols embody ideas or emotions that the writer and the reader share in common as a result of their social and cultural heritage. For example. . .<br />Danger<br />Wise Owl<br />Birthday<br />Fire<br />Idea<br />Direction<br />
Symbolism Makes Literature Meaningful<br /><ul><li>Characters come alive.
Impressions paint a picture in our minds.</li></li></ul><li>Symbolism Emphasizes <br />Ideas or Themes<br />A flowing river can represent life, or as Thoreau said about Walden Pond: It represents “the depth of the human soul.”<br />
Time of Day<br />The sunrise can be the promise of a new day, a new beginning.<br />The sunset can be the end of day, the end of life.<br />
Symbolism Stresses Plot<br />A storm can represent an intense moment or pending trouble, such as in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.<br />Dawn is the promise of a new day.<br />
Symbolism Gives Insights<br />Into Characters<br />In Poe’s “Telltale Heart,” the sound of the beating heart represents guilt<br />A character’s name tells about him/her; in “The Lottery,” Mr. Graves has authority over the killing<br />
Name Becomes Character<br />In Poe's, The Cask of Amontillado, Fortunato wears a fool’s costume – and indeed-- he is a fool for trusting the narrator.<br />
Seasons Often Represent Life<br />Spring represents new life, a new opportunity, birth, or even rebirth.<br />
Summer<br />Summer is a time of experience, a time for young adults to gain wisdom, making a mark on life.<br />
Fall<br /><ul><li>Fall represents old age or older adults.
If there has been a good spring and summer, fall will be beautiful.</li></li></ul><li>Winter<br />Winter represents death or impending death; however, after winter, there is always a new spring. In fact, winter waits impatiently by holding swollen buds on the trees, waiting for the warm sun.<br />
Spotting a Symbol<br />Since spotting a symbol can be difficult, here are some things to look for—<br /><ul><li>Repeated colors or objects.