Symbolism is a literary device where an author presents an object as having significance beyond its literal meaning. For example, doves are frequently symbols of peace, while the color black frequently represents death. Symbolism can take many different forms, and different writers use symbols in a myriad of ways. For example, nearly anytime a major character washes him or herself, such as in a river, it is generally symbolic of baptism or rebirth. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on symbolism that follows your guidelines.
Symbolism can appear in many different ways in literature, such as:
- Symbolism in the Setting
- Symbolism in the Characters
- Symbolism in the Texture
- Symbolism in the Theme
Symbolism allows a writer to add extra dimension to his writing. Sometimes a character or an event in a novel or story can be symbolic. Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick is full of complex symbolism. The Pequod, for example, is symbolic of death, as it described as painted black and literally becomes the coffin of the crew. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is another American novel full of symbolism. Rose of Sharon's pregnancy is symbolic of new life. However, when the baby is stillborn, the idea shifts towards the broken promise that the American Dream had become during the Great Depression.
Symbolism and Poetry
Symbolism is frequently expressed through metaphor or allegory. Poetry often employs symbolism throughout a work, and often the entire piece can be understood as symbolic. Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is entirely symbolic, dependent upon the notion of the two diverging roads in the woods being symbolic of choices one makes in life.