One chapter in Thomas C. Foster’s book How to Read Literature Like a Professor that were not only extremely challenging, but was also enlightening and surprisingly engaging was Chapter 12: “Is That a Symbol?” In this chapter, Foster states that “So some symbols do have a relatively limited range of meanings, but in general a symbol can’t be reduced to standing for only one thing” (Foster, 105). This conveys that, generally, symbols have different symbolic meanings even though some symbols may have a very limited range of meanings. Essentially, this means that symbols in literature often have different symbolic meanings. The idea mentioned above is upheld by Cormac McCarthy’s book All the Pretty Horses, as the horses in the book are symbolic
Zenobia Frome, wife of the titular character of Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, is not a pleasant woman. In a passionless marriage, Zeena attempts to maintain control over her husband even when not present, while Ethan explores a budding relationship between himself and their hired girl, Zeena's cousin, Mattie Silver. Wharton explores the consequences of an unhealthy relationship lacking in love and passion though the symbolism of the Fromes’ cat and the red glass pickle dish.
The Chicago World Fair stirred many emotions in this great time of industrialization, but not only was Chicago shining in the spotlight from the fair, it was also promoting something much more sinister, this dark enclosing spotlight shined directly on H.H Holmes. Burnham the leader of the World Fair and H. H Holmes the notorious serial killer, are the two main characters in this novel that Erik Larson uses the balance between light and dark between these two’s personalities. In the novel The Devil in the White City Erik Larson uses Imagery, paradox, and alliteration to show the balance between the light and dark in the ever growing city of Chicago.
J.D. Salinger fully utilizes the literary device of symbolism in characterizing Holden Caulfield in the novel, Catcher in the Rye. Whether through a red hunting hat symbolizing a desire for individuality or ducks representing an escape from life’s challenges, Salinger conveys Holden’s struggles deftly, his traits elegantly, and his character development insightfully.
Edith Wharton is an American author of the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. In her novella Ethan Frome, Wharton uses symbolism to develop the theme of her story. Ethan Frome takes place in Starkfield, Massachusetts in which there's little tolerance towards sinful deeds. Around the Frome house many objects take a symbolic meaning to the importance of the story. Therefore Wharton uses much symbolism and imagery in the story to explain to the readers what is going on emotionally inside the characters and what is going to happen.
Symbolism is like a spider web, every symbol is connected to another symbol and it never stops. Authors use symbolism in their writing because it communicates a deeper picture and helps connect the story more to the main idea. In the book, The Natural by Bernard Malamud, there is multiple symbolic meanings used throughout the book. Each of all the symbols connect back to the main idea and create a highly detailed story.
When reading a novel, readers do not often realize that many authors use the same types of characters and symbols. Applying a literary lens to a novels can help readers better understand why a novel was written. A literary theory is, “A term for analyzing, classifying, defining, interpreting, and evaluating literature” (Davidson). When observing a piece of literature with an Archetypal lens analysts can identify these patterns. According to Literary Devices, “In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action, or a situation that seems to represent universal patterns of human nature” (literarydevices). In the novel In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, the Archetypal Theory can be applied to characters and symbols in the
In the book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton multiple objects are used to represent big moments in the book and is heavily used. There are many objects that clearly relate to people and relationships between people. The first emblem that represents love between Mattie and Ethan is Mattie's red scarf and ribbon in her hair.The first symbol is the pickle dish representing Ethans and Zeena’s relationship. The final commodity is the cat which represents Zeena. Throughout the book ethan and Mattie have a growing relationship and their love is shown by Mattie's apparel.
In “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, he presents a character named R.P. McMurphy. Kesey parodies the biblical figure Christ with McMurphy with subtle references throughout the novel.However, even though he is compared to a Christ symbol that doesn’t mean he behaves like one. McMurphy is seen as a Christ symbol, not only because of references, but because of his gradual self-growth throughout the novel that allows him to embrace his “divinity” and help others.
Art is way of expression. People can use actions and art or express themselves in ways other than speaking. In the book Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, symbolism holds a big significance. The trees mentioned throughout the book symbolize Melinda’s changing “seasons” (her “growing” as a person). People, like trees, go through phases, they freeze in the winter, becoming nothing but lonely limbs without leaves covered with white slush. Melinda, in a lot of ways, starts out like that it the book. She becomes a shell of herself from before the party happened and because no one else was there, she is lonely and doesn't have anybody to go to and to make matters even worse, she’s covered by the reputation that she has formed. In the book, Laurie Halse Anderson uses symbolism to convey exactly what Melinda can't say.
Crane’s short story, The Monster, is about how Henry Johnson, the coachman, severely burns his body in the attempt to rescue the Dr. Trescott’s young son, but rather than receiving high acclaims within the town, he is ridiculed for his burnt face and disabilities.
This story makes clear one more times the idea that nature is ultimately indifferent to the human condition, possessing no consciousness that we can understand. The reality of nature’s lack of concern for human beings is becoming increasingly clear in The Open Boat, by Stephen Crane. The oiler’s death and lack of explanation surrounding it reinforce the randomness of nature’s tricks and symbolize the indifference of nature toward man. The death of oiler is ironic, because he is no more deserving of death than any other crew member, and in fact, he is less deserving because he has worked the hardest under the most physical strain. As Crane said, “The plan of the oiler and the correspondent was for one to row until he was no longer able… The oiler worked the oars until his head dropped forward and the overpowering sleep blinded him;” (10). He didn’t deserved to lose his life after such a hard work, but his death highlights the fact that nature is arbitrary in how it chooses its victims.
Stephen Crane’s poem, “Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War Is Kind” quite clearly speaks to the horror and grief of war, but does so in a roundabout way that comes across as sarcasm; in fact, it is exactly this heavy use of verbal irony that drives his message home to the reader. Verbal irony, put simply, is the use of words to deliberately convey the opposite of their direct or literal meanings. For example, the first stanza of Crane’s poem reads, “Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind. / Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky / And the affrighted steed ran on alone, / Do not weep. / War is kind” (Crane 1-5). Here, the speaker is addressing a woman who has lost her lover in battle. Crane’s claim that war is kind and that the woman should
"In these short stories, as in most of his work, Crane is a consummate ironist, employing a technique that most critics find consistently suggests the disparity between an individual 's perception of reality and reality as it actually exists." This quote is written by poetryfoundation.org and applies to Stephen Crane 's "The Blue Hotel" as the entire story exists in the irony of one of the few characters introduced, the Swede. Being a consummate ironist means Stephen Crane is very skilled in the forming of his irony 's which can make it sometimes difficult to recognize all of them throughout his works. Other ironic situations occur throughout the story which will be explained in detail.