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The different forms of symbolism in literature

Symbolism Definition of Symbolism When used as a literary device, symbolism means to imbue objects with a the different forms of symbolism in literature meaning that is different from their original meaning or function. Other literary devices, such as metaphorallegoryand allusionaid in the development of symbolism. Authors use symbolism to tie certain things that may initially seem unimportant to more universal themes.

The symbols then represent these grander ideas or qualities. For instance, an author may use a particular color that on its own is nothing more than a color, but hints at a deeper meaning. Common Examples of Symbolism We use symbols all the time in everyday life. Many people own things that have special meaning for them, such as a gift from a loved one that represents that bond.

Companies use symbols as shorthand to represent their brand, and sports teams name themselves after fearsome animals and people to invoke power for example, the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, respectively. There are also cultural symbols, such as a dove representing peace. Here are more examples of symbolism from common life: Wedding rings and engagement rings: The thirteen red and white stripes on the American flag symbolize the original thirteen colonies, while the fifty stars are a symbol for the fifty states.

The five Olympic rings: The primary symbol of the Olympics is the image of five interlocking rings. This symbol was created in 1912, and the six colors—the blue, green, black, yellow, and red rings on a white background—were meant to be a combination of all of the colors on the flags of the participating countries at the time.

The rings now are sometimes thought to represent the five participating regions of the world—Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, and the Americas—though no color represents any specific region.

  1. This is symbolic because it indicates that there will be ups and downs in life that you have to weather. The works of women are symbolical.
  2. Flowers as Symbols Even flowers can have a symbolism.
  3. White stands for life and purity.
  4. It also stands for emotional sensitivity, since it hurts when someone directs hate towards him. Companies use symbols as shorthand to represent their brand, and sports teams name themselves after fearsome animals and people to invoke power for example, the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, respectively.
  5. He is a rock.

This symbol is recognizable across the world. Symbols have been used in cultures all around the world, evident in ancient legends, fables, and religious texts. One famous example of symbolism is the story of the Garden of Eden, in which the serpent persuades Eve to eat an apple from the tree of knowledge.

The serpent in this story represents wickedness and the apple is a symbol for knowledge. When analyzing a piece of literature, examining the primary symbols often leads to a greater understanding of the work itself.

Examples of Symbolism

Symbolists rejected realism, and instead thought that truth could only be represented in an indirect manner, i. After they do so, both are stricken by their guilty consciences. At first, Lady Macbeth chastises her husband for feeling guilty, but later she is shown sleepwalking through the castle while muttering about the murder.

Several times over in Macbeth there are references to the difficulty of getting out bloodstains, and in this famous line Lady Macbeth has found that the bloodstain has seeped even into her brain.

Example 2 Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,—at her, the child of honorable parents,—at her, the mother of a babe, that would hereafter be a woman, —at her, who had once been innocent, —as the figure, the body, the reality of sin. In this excerpt, the meaning of the symbol is explicitly stated.

The scarlet letter is a symbol of sin. The Lord of the Rings by J. This object is imbued with magic through its creation, and is a symbol for ultimate power.

The ultimate power also becomes equated with evil.

Most of them are little animals made out of glass, the tiniest little animals in the world. Mother calls them a glass menagerie! Oh, be careful—if you breathe, it breaks! You see how the light shines through him?

Examples of Symbolism in Literature

It sure does shine! What kind of a thing is this one supposed to be?

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams As in the previous two examples of symbolism, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams takes its name from the most prevalent symbol in the play. The character of Laura is a very fragile and unique girl. Her older brother Tom fears for her safety, just as she fears for the safety of her beloved glass animals.

As she explains in this dialogue with a gentleman caller named Jim, her favorite of the animals is the unicorn. The unicorn is a symbol for Laura—unique, a bit strange, and out of place. Jim later breaks the unicorn so that the horn falls off.