Questions tagged [symbolism]

For questions concerning symbolic features in a work of literature.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Social discrimination commentary in the Kite Runner

I have just recently got in touch with such an inspiring book called The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I was quite astonished by how the idea of racism and religious discrimination is stressed ...
1
vote
2answers
47 views

The meaning of the poem “Crucified” by Kahlil Gibran

I am a high school student, and my assignment was to find intertextuality of the crucifixion of Christ and write a reflection about it. I was surfing on the web, and found a poem called "Crucified" ...
3
votes
0answers
21 views

What does this paragraph of “An Equal Music” by Vikram Seth mean?

I'm (re-)reading "An Equal Music" by Vikram Seth and encountered the following paragraph which I do not understand. For context, the book is written in first person perspective (although that isn't ...
5
votes
0answers
52 views

How do Pupp's remarks connect with Krazy's in Krazy Kat, 25 July 1936?

This question is about the same Krazy Kat strip (25 July 1936) as in Krazy language in Krazy Kat, 25 July 1936, in which Krazy is making a lot of classical references and Pupp is responding: Krazy: ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

What is the effect of the stage directions in scene 6 of The Glass Menagerie?

In Scene 6, page 50 line 27, there's the following stage direction: Low drums sound when the doorbell rings and Laura is required to open the door to let Jim and Tom in. What is the effect of this ...
4
votes
1answer
318 views

The significance of Lucky's speech in 'Waiting for Godot'

In Samuel Beckett's play 'Waiting for Godot', Lucky is the slave of a character called Pozzo. Unlike the other characters in the play who talk compulsively,Lucky utters just two sentences in the play, ...
9
votes
1answer
159 views

How can “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” be read as a commentary on Scotland?

In the Wikipedia page for Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, one of the mentioned interpretations of the story is as a symbolic representation of Scottish nationalism vs union with ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

What is the significance of the traveler carrying writing materials in Ivanhoe?

The Jew's dress, which appeared to have suffered considerably from the storm, was a plain russet cloak of many folds, covering a dark purple tunic. He had large boots lined with fur, and a belt around ...
2
votes
1answer
541 views

Why is Hemingway's generation a ‘lost generation’?

I recently began reading Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast. In it, Hemingway and his contemporary Americans are described as a ‘lost generation’: It was when we had come back from Canada and ...
7
votes
1answer
284 views

What is the significance of “half past two” in Wolfgang Borchert's The Clock and The Bread?

In both The Clock and The Bread by Wolfgang Borchert there is a mention of the events happening at "half past two" in the morning. I have been unable to find a historical event of World War Two that ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Who is the falcon, and who the falconer?

In Yeats' greatest of poems, he writes that "the falcon cannot hear the falconer." Who is the falcon and who is the falconer? Why might Yeats have chosen this metaphor? The Second Coming ...
3
votes
1answer
227 views

Who is “Sylvia” in Steinbeck's “The Pastures of Heaven”?

This short passage is quoted from chapter II of J. Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven: George cared for his house and kept a flower garden in front of it. The upper story of the house had never ...
0
votes
0answers
101 views

Is there any significance to the format of Aziz's name?

One of the main protagonists in the outer frame story of Elif Shafak's The Forty Rules of Love is a man named Aziz Z. Zahara. This name immediately struck me because of its interesting relationship ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

How to distinguish between imagery and symbolism?

I know that symbolism and imagery are the two powerful devices of modern literature, especially of poetry but a problem arises when I try to have a clear understanding of these devices. When a word or ...
2
votes
1answer
216 views

What is the effect of using “silver” to describe the “horn” in “Madman's Song” by Elinor Wylie?

Here is the poem "Madman's Song" by Elinor Wylie (from The Prose and Poetry of Elinor Wylie , by William Rose Benét): Better to see your cheek grown hollow, Better to see your temple worn, ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Symbolism in “The Jewel of the Secret Treasury”?

The poem "The Jewel of the Secret Treasury" by the famous Persian poet Hafez reads very much like a love poem, but I'm failing to pick up on the precise details of the metaphor: The jewel of the ...
6
votes
0answers
155 views

Religious symbolism of the Telmarines?

The religious symbolism in C.S. Lewis's Narnia books is well known and, in many cases, very clear: Aslan is Jesus, the Calormenes are a very stereotypical portrayal of Muslims, the Dwarfs may ...
1
vote
1answer
375 views

Bright Lights, Big City: Why is the story Coma Baby included in the novel?

In Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, in which way does the story of the Coma Baby symbolises the life of the main character? Why has the author included it?
1
vote
0answers
34 views

What role or symbolic purpose do polar bears serve in The North Water?

The North Water by Ian McGuire is a modern novel in the tradition of historical realism, set in the high arctic. It is a violent, masculine novel with a clear debt to the work of Cormac McCarthy which ...
2
votes
1answer
230 views

What does flying represent in “O Daedalus, Fly Away Home”?

In "O Daedalus, Fly Away Home", Robert Hayden makes reference to flying back to Africa. In the second to last stanza, he says: My gran. he flew back to Africa, just spread his arms and flew ...
1
vote
0answers
17 views

How does Dee Raain use the Mirrors to highlight negative human traits in the poem “Mirror of Truth”?

The poem "Mirror of Truth" by Dee Raain is as follows: What is seen in the mirror is nothing more than a person with lies and hate. With sadness and traits Of discrimination and disgrace. ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“I've seen your flag on the marble arch”

From Leonard Cohen's "Halleluj'ah": Baby, I've been here before -- I know this room, I've walked this floor: I used to live alone before I knew you. I've seen your flag on the ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

How do the letters S, U, F, I symbolise the stages of Aziz's life?

In Elif Şafak's novel The Forty Rules of Love, in Aziz's correspondence with Ella, he tells her his life story, completing the final part when he meets her in person. Each part of his life he refers ...
3
votes
0answers
182 views

Why are the chapters in The Bastard of Istanbul named after ingredients of ashure?

The Bastard of Istanbul is a novel by Elif Şafak which explores Turkish and Armenian culture and history; you can read a summary and 9-page excerpt online. One of the questions from the "reading guide"...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Is there any significance to the choice of similes for poetry in “Some Like Poetry”?

The poem "Some Like Poetry" by Polish writer Wislawa Szymborska is a musing lament about the unpopularity of poetry among the general population. The middle verse consists of a series of similes which ...
11
votes
1answer
664 views

Origin of symbolic interpretation of Prospero's breaking of his staff?

At the end of The Tempest, which is generally believed to be the last plays that Shakesepare wrote alone, Prospero breaks his staff and drowns his book. This has often been read as Shakespeare telling ...
5
votes
1answer
490 views

Pissing in a sink in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

In Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, at some point one of the main characters - Thomas, that is a Czech doctor - in the house of one of his lovers decides to piss in the sink. The ...
4
votes
0answers
50 views

How is black being portrayed in “Black, Their Regalia” by Darcie Little Badger?

Black features fairly prominently in "Black, Their Regalia" by Darcie Little Badger - it's in the title, and black is fairly prominent throughout the story. The Apparently Siblings play neoclassical ...
7
votes
1answer
883 views

What is the symbolism of the Western Wind (or Zephyr)?

I was reading some poetry and I stumbled upon the four-line 'Western Wind' by Anonymous, written in the 16th century: Western wind when wilt thou blow the small rain down can rain Christ if my ...
4
votes
0answers
67 views

Is Dorothea's nickname metaphorical?

In Middlemarch by George Eliot Dorothea Brook's nickname is Dodo. Or actually to be exact her sister, Celia Brook's nickname for her is Dodo. Is this an allusion to Dorothea's almost extinct kind? ...
4
votes
1answer
582 views

What is Nick Bostrom's 'Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant' an analogy of?

Available, freely, online, is Nick Bostrom's The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant (2005), an essay or short story about a fictional dragon's tyranny and effect on/cost to society. CGP Grey adapted it into ...
12
votes
1answer
310 views

What's the significance of Faust's meeting being on Easter Day?

In Goethe's Faust, the eponymous (anti?)hero meets the demon Mephistopheles on what seems to be Easter Sunday, during local celebrations of Easter. Given the religious themes in the story, this surely ...
7
votes
0answers
598 views

What does “in the Ring” mean in Because I could not stop for Death?

3rd stanza: We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – I've heard of attempts justifying an ...
7
votes
1answer
111 views

What is the symbolism of Eustace's arm ring?

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace put a cursed arm ring on, which resulted in him becoming a dragon. Does the arm-ring itself have any special symbolism (e.g. he was entrapped by his own ...
8
votes
0answers
303 views

What is the deeper meaning of Blake's “The Lily”?

The poem "The Lily" by William Blake must be one of the shortest of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience collection, only four lines long: The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep ...
7
votes
1answer
443 views

Why is the robin “sobbing”?

Blake's "The Blossom", part of his Songs of Innocence which you can read online, is a very short poem about a sparrow and a robin. The part about the robin reads as follows: Pretty, pretty robin! ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the meaning of Blake's poem “The Sick Rose”?

William Blake's very short poem "The Sick Rose", from his Songs of Innocence and of Experience, runs as follows: O rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm, That flies in the night, In ...
9
votes
2answers
232 views

What is the symbolism of Ransom's heel wound?

In Perelandra, the second book of CS Lewis's planets trilogy, the protagonist Ransom is wounded in the heel by the Un-Man/Weston. We learn in the third book, That Hideous Strength, that the wound ...
-3
votes
1answer
182 views

What is the poetic technique used in “I know why the caged bird sings”?

In this poem, when comparing the caged bird to suppressed black people in America, is the poet using metaphor or symbol?
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Symbolism in The House on the Borderland?

I just read William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland. Is the implication that the man's relationship with his live-in sister inclines to incest? Are the swine intended as symbols of lust (as ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is Sergeant Shadwell obsessed with nipples?

One of the many recurring gags in Good Omens is Sergeant Shadwell's obsession with nipples. For example: One of the first questions he asks Newt when recruiting him to the Witchfinder Army is how ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Could the War of the Worlds be considered a proto Cosmic Horror story?

After reading the War of the Worlds, I have noticed that H.G. Wells has presented several themes that would not be alien to something that Lovecraft would compose. There's a deep anti-anthropocentric ...
6
votes
1answer
185 views

Seeing the world through green-tinted glasses

people thus situated, who have warm imaginations, generally amuse themselves by conjuring up an idol of perfection to which they attach all kinds of merit, probable or improbable. They invest the ...
2
votes
0answers
29 views

Is there a direct parallel to actual social prejudices for each color in “The War Between the Classes”?

In The War Between the Classes, the class sets up four levels of classes: Blue, the highest class; Dark Green, the lower high class; Light Green, the higher low class; and Orange, the lowest of the ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

What does Pudd'nhead Wilson's joke about half a dog mean?

In Pudd'nhead Wilson, by Mark Twain, the character David Wilson makes a remark that results in the townspeople writing him off as a "pudd'nhead". He had just made the acquaintance of a group of ...
5
votes
0answers
71 views

Is “The American Claimant” a veiled take on “The Indian Question”?

Mark Twain's 1892 novel The American Claimant was written very soon after the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890), which was basically revenge for the 1876 Battle of Greasy Grass ("Little Big Horn"). This ...
3
votes
1answer
759 views

Benvolio and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet

What do the characters of Benvolio and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet symbolize, if anything? Mercutio's character mainly provides jokes, and then, in his hot-headedness, is slain by Tybalt. Benvolio ...
3
votes
0answers
266 views

What does the six-legged dog in Charles Simic's poem “Country Fair” represent?

The poem "Country Fair" by Charles Simic centers around a dog with six legs. I'm sure the dog is supposed to symbolize something important that the speaker feels the presupposed audience is ...
6
votes
1answer
52 views

Why does Susan say her “eyes are hard” when suffering an emotional breakdown in the Waves (Virginia Woolf)?

"I love," said Susan, "and I hate. I desire one thing only. My eyes are hard. Jinny's eyes break into a thousand lights. Rhoda's are like those pale flowers to which moths come in the evening. [...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Is the Whisperer or the Emergency symbolic?

In The Mysterious Benedict Society series, the Whisperer is a machine that transmits thoughts and implants messages in people's brains, usually harmful. And the Emergency is the tense, stressful ...