Symbolism ~ A to Z Blogging Challenge


Caesura, symbolizes pause in music & poetry

We encounter a variety of symbols every day but rarely stop to think about them.

The flag, for one, is a symbol.

The pause sign on our remote control is a caesura, which calls for stoppage in music and poetry.

If we walk past a church, there is plenty of symbolism there, beginning with the cross.

Corporations such as FedEx use symbols — the arrow between the E and X.

Symbolism is used in literature through an object or reference to add deeper meaning. It can be subtle or obvious. An author may repeatedly use the same object/thought to convey deeper meaning or may use variations of the same object to create a mood or feeling.

Some examples:

Symbols referring to salvation: crosses, angels, clouds.

Symbols referring to death or endings: gravestones, candle blowing out.

Symbols representing moral standards or beliefs: places of worship, banyan trees.

Cultural symbols are specific to particular groups. A Mohawk or an anarchy symbol to indicate a punk rocker. And so on.

Personally, I love it when writers use symbols in their writing to allude to feelings, mood or attitude without directly stating it. Symbolism helps not overstate a point.

In Stranger or Friend, the reader will find Zoe in a church, attending a funeral. The light, the look of the church and people inside it, are all symbolic, there to evoke a feeling of desperation, a description. Same with the palindrome games mentioned, a clue of sorts, but giving too much away would be no fun.

~ As a side note, how are you doing with the Challenge? Symbolically or non-symbolically speaking? :)




9 responses to “Symbolism ~ A to Z Blogging Challenge

  1. Symbols do indeed add depth and interesting undercurrents to writing–and to our lives in general, as you say. Do you find sometimes when you’re writing that the symbols present themselves subtly at first, and that you may not even recognize what your subconscious has injected into the story until you’re reading your second or third draft?

    As for how the challenge is going, I’m still enjoying it, but I won’t be broken-hearted when April 30 rolls around! How about you?

    • Such an interesting question, Kern, and I’m so glad you asked. I suppose subconscious takes at times. Having considered symbolism in one form or other, it just pops up again. But I certainly do plan it as well, in a way in which I wouldn’t have to overstate a point. Then, the question becomes, how do I present an emotion or a description without too many words? Thank you. And, no, I won’t be broken-hearted come 4/30 either, though I’ll miss our frequent interactions.

  2. Hi Silvia, lovely post on symbols thank you. Symbols enrich our lives more than we know I reckon. A distinction is made between sign and symbol, i.e. that a sign tells us what we do know, eg stop street; a symbol is much deeper and each as you say has different meanings according to the culture or even the individual.
    Ha Ha! re the end of the challenge in sight! The signs are apparent but it doesn’t seem anywhere near ‘symbolically’ ..

  3. Great post it’s not something I think about much.

  4. Love your music symbol. I use them every day! Numbers are also symbols. My boys love them, and are so quick to remember and decipher them. I like the infinity symbol.

  5. Life is filled with symbols and or gestures I seem to have taken them for granted as I have not put much thought into the subject. Now, you will have me pondering … WHY????

    As for the Challenge, I think it DEFINITELY IS A CHALLENGE for me. My gears are grinding and black smoke may be following the burning smell. I hope I survive!! PUFF, PUFF!! ;-)

  6. Interesting post. I don’t think about symbols very often, but you’ve made me see the significance of doing so.


  7. I agree. I love it when I spot symbolism in a story. (I’m also sure I miss a lot of symbolism as well.) I think it adds depth, and sometimes it is something the mind picks up on well after reading it.

  8. I think I hit a wall today. But I’ll get past it. Probably on May 1st.

I welcome your thoughts.

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