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Symbolism in Literature

Lesson for GCSE English Language showing Symbolism, Denotations and Connotations in Literature
by

tracey maitland

on 22 October 2015

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Transcript of Symbolism in Literature

Seasons
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter
Birth
Re-birth
New
Beginning
New growth
Hope
Maturity
Knowledge
Vitality
Health
Warmth
Fruition
Decline
Nearing death
Ageing
Death
Hibernation
Sleep
Stagnation
Despair
Danger
Daring
Emotion
Wellbeing
Refreshing
Immaturity
Safe
Serene
Peaceful
Enlightenment
Life
Innocence
Spiritual
Light
Purity
Anger
Nature
New life
Hope
Inexperience
Passion
Immoral
Love
Blood
Red
Calm
Cool
WHITE
Green
C
o
l
o
u
r
s

Blue
Serpent
Violets
Blood
Symbolism
Rose
Bones
Literature
Forest
Eyes
Sunshine
Rivers
Fog
C
o
l
o
u
r
Spring
Dove
R
a
i
n
b
o
w
Love
What is Symbolism
in Literature?

It is when the author uses the practice
of representing things by symbols,
or of investing things with a symbolic
meaning or character.
In literature symbolism is used to provide meaning to the writing beyond what is actually being described. The plot and action that take place in a story can be thought of as one level, while the symbolism of certain things in the writing act on another level to enhance the story.
Why is Symbolism Used in Literature?
Symbolism can take place by having the theme of a story represented on a physical level.
A simple example might be the occurrence of a storm at at critical point,
when there is conflict or high emotions. The storm might symbolize these.
Similarly a transition from day to night, or spring to winter,
could symbolize a move from goodness to evil, or hope to despair.
A river in a scene could represent the flow of life, from birth to death.
Flowers can symbolize youth or beauty.

Not everything in a story is necessarily symbolic. A garden landscape is just a garden ... until it is contrasted with a bustling city, at which point the garden could symbolize tranquility, peace, or escape.
Using symbolism in a story can be as simple as inserting something into the story that symbolizes what's happening in the plot. But while this kind of symbolism is easy to incorporate into writing, it's not easy to be very subtle, and overusing it can turn a good story into a series of way-too-obvious clichés.

Symbolism should be an integral part of the writing, instead of an obvious add-in. For example, a story about how an old man suffering from a terminal disease lives out the last few months of his life, might make the setting of the story autumn time in a city, where the onset of winter has obvious (and not very pleasant) effects on the surroundings. The cold winds, shortening days, and lowering temperatures could symbolize the drawing to a close of the old man's life.
Examples of conventional literary symbols
Weather
Rain
Washes away guilt
origin of life
Water
Cleansing
Sadness
Tears
FOG
Prevents clear vision or thinking
Represents isolation
Feeling lost
Wind and Storms
Violent
human
emotion
Sunshine
Rainbow
warmth
Happiness
Pathways
between
Heaven
&
Earth
Abundance
Animals
Dove
Peace
Purity
Simplicity
Owl
Wisdom
&
Knowledge
Lion
Power
Pride
Strength
Fox
Serpent
Raven
Sly
Sneaky
Temptation
Devil
Evil
Death
Destruction
Bad Omen
& Mist
Nature
Body Parts
Forest
Lilies
Violets
Roses
Garden
Rivers
Weeds
Flowers
Flow of life
from birth to death
Youth
Romance
Love
Shrinking
Shyness
Youth
Beauty
Gentleness
Place of
evil or mystery
Evil
Outcasts
Beauty &
Temptation
Tranquillity
Peace
Haven
Paradise
Blood
Vitality
Life
Family
Death
Eyes
Windows to the soul
Barometer of emotions
Bones
Death
Framework
Structure
Strength
Here are some examples
of symbolism
in literature
Full transcript