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Symbol and allegory[1]


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Symbol and allegory[1]

  1. 1. Symbolism and AllegoryFeature Menu What Is a Symbol? Where Do We Get Symbols? Symbols in Literature Allegory Practice Part A Practice Part B
  2. 2. What Is a Symbol?A symbol is an ordinary object, event, person, oranimal to which we have attached a specialmeaning. [End of Section]
  3. 3. Where Do We Get Symbols?Public symbols• have been inherited, or handed down over time• are widely known• show up in art and literatureNote
  4. 4. Where Do We Get Symbols?What does each of these symbols stand for? Whydo you think they have taken on the meaningsthey have? justice love luck
  5. 5. Where Do We Get Symbols?Invented symbols• come about when writers make a character, object, or event stand for some human concern• sometimes become well known and gain the status of public symbol [End of Section]
  6. 6. Symbols in LiteratureWriters use symbols to• suggest layers of meaning that a simple, literal statement could never convey• speak more powerfully to the reader’s emotions and imagination• make their stories rich and memorable
  7. 7. Symbols in LiteratureQuick Check The most prominent object was a long What might thetable with a tablecloth spread on it. . . . cake symbolizeAn épergne or centrepiece of some kind in this passage?was in the middle of this cloth; it was soheavily overhung with cobwebs that itsform was quite undistinguishable; . . . Isaw speckled-legged spiders with blotchy What is yourbodies running home to it, and running emotionalout from it. . . . response to the “What do you think that is?” she asked description ofme, again pointing with her stick; the cake?“that, where those cobwebs are?” . . . “It’s a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!” from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens [End of Section]
  8. 8. AllegoryAllegory—a story in whichcharacters, setting, and actions stand forsomething beyond themselves, such as• abstract ideas• moral qualities• historical figures or events
  9. 9. AllegoryAllegories• can be read on two levels: literal and symbolic• are often intended to teach a moral lesson or make a comment about goodness and vice
  10. 10. AllegoryCharacters and places in allegories often havenames that reveal their symbolic significance:Characters PlacesDeath Celestial CityVanity Vanity FairGood Deeds Hill of DifficultyIgnorance Valley of Fear
  11. 11. AllegoryQuick Check One day, Everyman is What do you thinksummoned by Death to give an Everyman, the mainaccounting of his life. Everyman character of theask his friends allegory, stands for?Fellowship, Beauty, Strength, andGood Deeds to go with him to tellDeath that he has led a good life.Only Good Deeds stays with him What comment aboutto the end. fellowship, beauty, and —summary of “Everyman” strength does this allegory make? [End of Section]
  12. 12. AllegoryQuick Check One day, Everyman is On a symbolicsummoned by Death to give an level, what does itaccounting of his life. Everyman mean that only Goodask his friends Deeds stays withFellowship, Beauty, Strength, and Everyman to the end?Good Deeds to go with him to tellDeath that he has led a good life.Only Good Deeds stays with himto the end. —summary of “Everyman”
  13. 13. PracticeA. Think about the great number of symbols we’resurrounded by in everyday life. Forstarters, identify what the items below stand for.Then, see if you can explain the basis for thesymbol—why is this symbol appropriate for what itstands for? • A snake • An owl• An eagle • A white flag• Spring [End of Section]
  14. 14. PracticeB. Here is a brief poem that works on two levels: aliteral level and a symbolic level. A fen is aswampy place. What does the fen symbolize in thispoem? I May, I Might, I Must If you will tell me why the fen appears impassable, I then will tell you why I think that I can get across it if I try. —Marianne Moore [End of Section]
  15. 15. The End