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Symbolism in Literature

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  1. 1. Symbolism in Literature<br />Karen S Wright<br />
  2. 2. Meaning Beyond the Obvious<br />A symbol is what it is, but something more.<br />
  3. 3. 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 />
  4. 4. Symbolism Makes Literature Meaningful<br /><ul><li>Characters come alive.
  5. 5. Action becomes more vivid.
  6. 6. 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 />
  7. 7. 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 />
  8. 8. 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 />
  9. 9. 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 />
  10. 10. 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 />
  11. 11. Seasons Often Represent Life<br />Spring represents new life, a new opportunity, birth, or even rebirth.<br />
  12. 12. Summer<br />Summer is a time of experience, a time for young adults to gain wisdom, making a mark on life.<br />
  13. 13. Fall<br /><ul><li>Fall represents old age or older adults.
  14. 14. 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 />
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. Unusual character names.
  17. 17. Objects that have cultural meaning—Christmas tree, owl, and flag.</li></li></ul><li>What do These Images Symbolize?<br />
  18. 18. And These. . . <br />
  19. 19. Lastly, These. . . <br />Literary symbolism enriches a story and our lives.<br />