Questions tagged [symbolism]

Questions concerning symbolic features in a work of literature. Both symbols and the things they represent can be either tangible or intangible. Not to be confused with the [motif] tag or [meaning] tag. This tag is not to be used for questions about Symbolism as a movement in (mainly French) literature, unless such questions are about the use of symbols. See the tag wiki for more information.

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What do the “mirror” and the “lake” represent in “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath?

In "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath, the speaker in the poem says, Now I am a lake. But, also at times implies that the speaker is a mirror. However, since an object can not both be a mirror and a lake, ...
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What does “Burning” symbolize in “Burning the Old Year”?

In Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye, Nye refers to "notes", "lists", and "letters" as things that can be burned. From reading this poem, I interpret the theme to be the short time for which ...
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What does “the sad height” represent in “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas?

In the final stanza of Dylan Thomas's Do not go gentle into that good night, he says, And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go ...
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Is Judaism represented in the Narnia books?

In C.S. Lewis's Narnia books, it's very clear that the Narnians are meant to represent Christianity, with Aslan symbolising Jesus (in fact, Aslan is literally Jesus in-universe), while the Calormenes ...
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Who do the inhabitants of Brobdingnag represent in Gulliver's Travels?

In his answer to this question, Riker established that the islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu were representing England and France and it was satirizing the holy wars between them. What was being ...
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Is there symbolism in Vronsky going bald in Anna Karenina?

As I am reading Anna Karinina I notice how as the story continues Vronsky is going bald. As characters meet him it is noted how he tries to hid his increasing baldness. For instance when Dolly goes ...
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What does Mrs. Jones represent in Animal Farm?

There are a few mentions of Mrs. Jones, primarily in reference to her table cloth. Does she represent something in and of herself? If so, what does Mrs. Jones represent in Animal Farm?
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What is the significance of the anisotropic highway and the skeleton of a fascist chained to a machine gun?

In the beginning of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's novel Hard to Be a God, the protagonist, Anton, goes down a country road, disobeying a "wrong way" sign, and finds a skeleton of a fascist chained to ...
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Why is black evil and white good?

This trope appears everywhere in literature - especially in fantasy. Everywhere you turn, black means bad and white means good. This is particularly true when applied to people, or the consequences of ...
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What is “This is Just to Say” about?

In "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, the speaker appears to deliver an apology for stealing the plums of the person at whom the poem is targeted. I have heard some people analyze this ...
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What does the “good night” symbolize in Dylan Thomas's “Do not go gentle into that good night”?

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas, he begins with "Do not go gentle into that good night". He also uses this as one of two alternating refrains. In this poem, what does the "good ...
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What does the physical Scarlet Letter represent?

I love The Scarlet Letter, but I surprised to find out that I did not even know what it was supposed to represent. Its significance seemed to change throughout the book. Is there one central symbol ...
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Was this character's death symbolic in Bridge to Terabithia?

As a child, reading Bridge to Terabithia, I was horrified when As an older reader now, I wonder whether her death was necessary to the development of Jessie. Was her death for a purpose, or was it ...
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What does Old Major in Animal Farm represent?

Old Major, the elder pig in Animal Farm, seems to have a different role than the younger ones. I believe he has a different view, but after he dies, the young pigs don't follow his legacy. What does ...
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In “Bullet the Blue Sky”, what is the symbolism of Jacob and the angel?

U2's song "Bullet the Blue Sky" was inspired by Bono's trip to El Salvadore in 1986, and America's role on the Salvadoran Civil War. As Bono said in an interview, And it upset me as a person who ...
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What is the bananafish? What does it represent?

In J.D. Salinger's A Perfect Day For Bananafish, Seymour, the main character, talks about a bananafish. He tells a little girl about the bananafish. The little girl says she sees the fish. What is ...
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Did the mechanical hound signify anything in Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is written with many recurring symbols. After reading the book, I never thought that the mechanical hound was one of them, though my friend told me otherwise. Did the ...
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Symbolism of “hot gammon” in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

I'm reading T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read for free online) and one particular line stuck out at me: Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, And they ...
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How does the golden bough in “Sailing to Byzantium” relate to the story in the Aeneid, if at all?

According to Wikipedia of W.B. Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats explores his thoughts and musings on how immortality, art, and the human spirit may ...
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Who or what does Benjamin the donkey represent in Animal Farm?

Benjamin is the old, irritable donkey who doesn't care who's in control, because he says that work will be the same either way. He is one of the few on the farm who can read, and who still remembers ...
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Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

It's well known that various characters represent real Soviet figures. Who does the cat, who is fond of shirking physical work but enjoys reaping the rewards, represent? Does the cat even have any ...
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What do the other farmers symbolize in Animal Farm?

I asked this question on the old literature site, it got migrated to the science fiction and fantasy site, and then was later closed as off-topic. I figured that I might as well ask the question here. ...
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Who does Mollie represent in Animal Farm?

It's well known that various characters represent real Soviet figures. Who does Mollie, the horse sympathetic to the humans, represent? Is she just a generic non-Soviet sympathizer or does she ...
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Symbolism of Albus Dumbledore's name in Harry Potter

What is the symbolism of the name Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter? 'Albus' means white 'Dumbledore' is a type of bee What is this representing?
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Why are Orcs associated with the colors red, yellow, and black in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, Sauron, and characters allied with Sauron, are frequently associated with the colors red, yellow, and black. For example, here is a description of the ...
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What is the symbolism of Atticus killing the mad dog?

So in To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus kills a mad dog. He does it with one shot. Is there some more symbolism to this or is it just an event?

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