43 votes
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Does Snape talk in code?

We don't know, but there's a lot of evidence supporting it. The Language of flowers, or floriography, goes back much further than Victorian times. It was used or alluded to in Shakespeare's plays (...
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31 votes
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What is the symbolism of Atticus killing the mad dog?

This scene is meant to reveal more about Atticus to Scout. When he kills the mad dog--and does so expertly, with one shot--it shows Scout that there is more to him than a lawyer and a father. He ...
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  • 4,179
30 votes
Accepted

How can you come out dry from the Sea of Knowledge?

TL;DR: water symbolises knowledge, and all the other correspondences flow1 from there. If the sea is called the Sea of Knowledge, then what is its symbolic significance? Assuming that what's in the ...
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  • 63.5k
24 votes

What's the significance of "Oranges and Lemons" in 1984?

Oranges and Lemons is not just a nursery rhyme, it is also a children's dance or game. Two children place their hands together to form an arch - an arch of sanctuary. The other children pass under ...
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  • 2,068
24 votes
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227 days in Life of Pi, coincidence or symbolical?

Probably symbolic. I found this interview with Yann Martel, from which two of his answers in particular jumped out at me: I chose the name Pi because it's an irrational number (one with no ...
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  • 63.5k
23 votes
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Why were these animals used to represent the different countries in Maus?

First of all, let me just point out two things which it may be useful to bear in mind when considering how seriously to take this answer: whether I'm overanalysing or underanalysing here. Firstly, ...
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22 votes
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What's the significance of "Oranges and Lemons" in 1984?

This is really more of an extended comment, than an answer. But my feeling about that rhyme is that part of the reason why Orwell used it in the story, was as another example of Winston being "...
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22 votes
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Is there any textual evidence that this death in Deathly Hallows symbolized the end of childhood?

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. (Emphasis mine on all quotes below) Why was Hedwig killed anyway? Other than the twitter link provided in the question, Rowling gave a fuller explanation in an interview (full ...
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21 votes

Is Judaism represented in the Narnia books?

Note: This does not in ANY WAY represent my own religious views. It's possible that C.S. Lewis meant for the Dwarfs to represent the Jews. At the end of The Last Battle, the Dwarfs refused to be '...
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20 votes

What is the symbolism of Atticus killing the mad dog?

It foreshadows the death of Ewell in a way: When the dog, who has been around for a long time, becomes a real threat to the children, the shooting skills of Atticus, which haven't been seen for many ...
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  • 6,644
19 votes

What's the significance of "Oranges and Lemons" in 1984?

The song represents the successful eradication of shared English culture by The Party. It's a nursery rhyme the majority of British people would be familiar with, but in 1984 characters can only ...
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  • 14.6k
19 votes

Does Snape talk in code?

As stated in this same question on Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, J. K. Rowling has never said anything stating whether or not this was intentional. We only have speculation to go on, ...
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18 votes
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What is the "Neon god" in "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel?

The "neon god" is obviously the sign pictured earlier in the song. But why is it a god? The sign is a god because people made it a god ("the neon god they made"). In praying and bowing to the sign, ...
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  • 4,179
17 votes

Symbolism of Albus Dumbledore's name in Harry Potter

Albus As you state, Albus translates to "white", which was a nod to alchemy: Colours also played their part in the naming of Hagrid and Dumbledore, whose first names are Rubeus (red) and ...
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  • 3,696
17 votes

Does Snape talk in code?

On a Pottermore article ("Lily, Petunia, and the Language of Flowers") this is written: If his first words to Harry are anything to go by, the language of flowers suggests that Snape deeply regrets ...
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  • 4,179
16 votes

Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

Yes. In the words of Jesse McDevitt-Irwin: suggests that she could represent the educated of Russia, more specifically, the educated who did not believe that communism was the correct path. She also ...
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14 votes

What is the symbolism of the conch in Lord of the Flies?

The conch symbolizes leadership and civilization throughout the story. In the beginning, Ralph uses it as an extension of his power. For example from the first chapter after he is elected. Ralph ...
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14 votes

Was Rand al'Thor supposed to be a symbol for Jesus?

From an interview here: Q: How much of Jesus Christ is there in Rand? We have the wounded palms, side wound, crown of swords... How representational of Jesus Christ is Rand? ROBERT JORDAN: ...
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  • 4,179
13 votes

Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

The cat does have significance, but it's hard to say who exactly she represents. She skulks around and doesn't do any work, votes for both sides, and makes people satisfied enough that she never ...
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  • 4,179
13 votes
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What does the raven symbolize (besides death)?

I don't believe the Raven symbolizes death at all, but rather life, in grief of having to live after a loved one is dead. As Poe himself put it in his essay Philosophy of Composition: The reader ...
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13 votes
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What does a dog barking at a crow signify?

It doesn't appear to be symbolic at all; a dog barking at a crow is merely an annoying sound that she would rather listen to. Crows are notorious for teasing other animals. I mean... look at this! ...
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13 votes
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Why is Sergeant Shadwell obsessed with nipples?

Sergeant Shadwell is looking for one of the traditional signs of witchcraft. That is, the answer to the question, “Is there actually a traditional connection between witchcraft and nipples” is yes. ...
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  • 678
13 votes
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Why might Robert Frost specify a ' long two-pointed ladder' in the poem 'After Apple Picking'?

Why a 'long two-pointed' ladder, though? Are there ladders with more or fewer points? I've spent some time pondering this aspect of your question. Ladders are not generally pointed at all, but ...
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  • 15.7k
12 votes
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Symbolism of Albus Dumbledore's name in Harry Potter

The last name is actually not that fancy. As this old interview with Rowling states: How did you decide what to name your characters and places? I collect unusual names. I have notebooks full of them....
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  • 991
12 votes
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What is the symbolism of the final rise of the Kraken?

This interpretation is largely based on discussions I had with one of my professors and classmates about The Kraken and Tennyson’s use of symbolism in general. We believe that The Kraken, like other ...
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  • 5,674
12 votes

What did "Moloch" represent in Allen Ginsberg´s poem "Howl"?

The first and second parts of Howl are, in a way, a question and an answer. One cannot read the terrible things that happened to real people and not think, "Why were these brilliant thinkers ...
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