Writers use many literary devices to add layers of meaning to their writing. One way they do this is by using symbolism.
Symbolism is when writers use animals, elements, things, places, or colors to represent other things. The symbols they use are usually well known in literature or culture. When you understand the symbol being used, you connect its meaning to the story you are reading and understand the story on a deeper level.
Another way to understand symbolism is to think about how the media, movies, and television, and music videos use symbols to immediately make us think of or connect with other things. For example:
In westerns, who wears the white hat?
In westerns, who wears the black hat?
See you do know about symbols! Often colors are used represent various characteristics or emotions.
Writers use symbolic colors in their work in many ways. Sometimes color can be used to describe clothing of characters or in the setting of a story. If you are looking for them, these symbols tell you more about the characters and the story.
Colors are not the only things that are used as literary symbols. Often nature provides writers with symbols.
The elements that surround us are also well known symbols in literature.
Although there are many other symbols that writers use, one last set must be addressed: animals. States and countries choose animals to represent traits they want associated with them. Nursery rhymes and cartoons use animals as characters and those characters can often be interpreted symbolically.
Think about what you know about these animals and think what they might symbolize.
How did you do? Hopefully you were able to connect these animals the qualities they represent.
Most symbols in literature connect to things you are familiar with in life. Being aware that writers use them, means that you can spot them in the stories you read and make connections to the meanings these symbols have. This helps you to understand the story on a much deeper level.
Remember, symbolism is when writers use animals, elements, things, places, or colors to represent other things. Watch for them when you read and try to use symbols when you write.
Click on the lighthouse to practice!