The Functions of Symbolism in Literature Essay

The Functions of Symbolism in Literature In literature. about all authors like utilizing symbols to widen intending beyond the prosaic. A symbol is a figure of address in which an object. individual or state of affairs represent something in add-on to its actual significance. Many writers—in fact. most or all writers of fiction—make the symbolic usage of constructs and objects as rhetorical devices cardinal to the significance of their plants. Cisneros. O’Connor. and Poe. for illustration. used symbolism extensively. to propose different objects and stand for different constructs. They use different types of symbolism to vividly show the personalities of certain characters. the tone of narratives. and reveal certain backgrounds of society. If we read the book “House on Mango Street” on the surface degree. we will non be able to understand Esperanza’s desire and her personalities. She lives in a little. crooked. and dreary house. which represents the restricted options available to Esperanza as a hapless Hispanic adult female.

She has a dream house: “house all my ain. [ tungsten ] ith my porch and my pillow. my pretty violet petunias. Merely a house quiet as snow. a infinite for myself to travel. clean as paper before the verse form. ” ( Cisneros. Sandra ) This dream house reveals her hope for something better when she grows up. a hope to ever hold something better in the hereafter. In this manner. the house is symbolic of protection and stableness from the troubles of childhood. It gives Esperanza a topographic point to experience. to make. and keep on to dreams of a better hereafter for herself. This symbolism besides shows the hopeful tone of the book. Another of import symbol in this book is the four trees outside of Esperanza’s window. “Four scraggy trees with scraggy cervixs and pointy cubituss like mine. Four who do non belong here but are here. Four raggedy alibis planted by the metropolis. ” ( The House on Mango Street ) We can state from the book that she compares herself to them and admires them for turning while being anchored. She has strength and courage interior of her merely like the four trees have.

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Esperanza does non belong on Mango Street. as the trees do non belong in the metropolis ; the trees are surrounded by cement and Esperanza by poorness and low outlooks. Both she and the trees persevere despite their hapless life conditions and the obstructions in their waies. A brace of high heels symbolizes flight because for the first clip when her neighbour gives her and her friend Lucy a brace ; which is what Esperanza wants to make strongly is running and walking off to get away from life on Mango Street and discover who she genuinely is. Esperanza lives in a society dominated by work forces and. ni hao wo shi ni de wan ba dan qing sonf ni adult females are treated by 2nd category citizens. They are looked down by work forces whether they are fellows. friends’ male parents or hubbies. Places are a reminder for her as a kid of her desire to be attractive but her battle to besides be independent and equal. Symbolism plays an of import function in the book because there are many events in Esperanza’s life that are difficult to to the full explicate in words. but symbolism helps explicate them by comparing the event to something wholly different so what is go oning in the narrative.

Symbolisms are besides good liked by Flannery O’Connor in the fiction “A Good Man is Difficult to Find. ” The grandma is one of chief characters in this narrative. She portrayed as a “good” adult females on the surface. since she has faith in God and making right in her live. She is obstinate and represents old southern civilization. For case. “ [ T ] he old lady settled herself comfortably. taking her white cotton baseball mitts and seting them up with her bag on the shelf in forepart of the dorsum window. Her neckbands and turnups were white organdie trimmed with lacing and at her neckline she had pinned a violet spray of cloth violets incorporating a sachet. ” ( Flannery O’Connor ) The grandma besides wears a chapeau which has “a navy bluish straw crewman with a clump of white violets on the lip. ” The lone ground she wears the chapeau and frocks like that is demoing that she can be easy recognized by people as a lady if a auto accident happens. The grandma is pathetic and seems she does non care about the fact that she and her household are dead in this scenario ; the lone thing that affairs is her standing as a lady.

This reveals grandma’s selfishness and pushful nature. The chapeau is a symbol of her moral strong belief. When the grandma does go involved in a auto accident ; the chapeau falls apart. After she is thrown from the auto and the household is confronting the Misfit. the lip of the chapeau falls off. She drops the broken chapeau as her self-conception as a lady dissolves. Not merely does O’Connor uses symbolisms to reflect the character’s personalities. but besides to uncover the story’s tone and the societal background behind that clip. The story’s primary action involves a household auto trip on which they encounter an at large felon and his pack. If the grandma had non insisted they detour to see the old house. which she realized excessively late was in Tennessee. non in the portion of Georgia where they were. the household would hold escaped the catastrophe. The old plantation is a symbol of grandmother’s yesteryear in which she believes people were more nice and better than they are today.

The realisation that the plantation is non where the grandma thought symbolizes that the yesteryear is frequently distorted. These symbols show that the tone of this fiction is dry. The fact that the household had strayed from the chief way to an unimportant side route. where they were killed. typify how people frequently stray from Jesus and follows the incorrect way spiritually. Even the town’s name “Toombsboro” is a symbol of decease. On the manner to the old plantation. there were clouds in the sky. the clouds represent the grandmother’s superficial religion. In instance of her decease. she dressed herself with the violet spray of flowers. It was as if she is taking decease lightly ; nevertheless. when she knew she was traveling to decease. the grandma started to urgently prophesy the Gospel to the Misfit. The sky is unclouded and clear at the terminal of the fiction. The Misfit commented. “Ain’t a cloud in the sky. ” “Don’t see no Sun but don’t see no cloud neither. ” ( A good adult male is difficult to happen )

The clouds had faded off and the sky was empty. merely like the grandmother’s religion was empty. Those symbols represent people’s deficiency of religion station World War II. Lastly. I want to discourse the symbols used in “The Black Cat” written by Edgar Allan Poe. In this narrative. the storyteller is portrayed as a adult male who loves animate beings. has a warm bosom. and is content with his matrimony. Throughout the narrative he becomes moodier. more cranky. and inconsiderate to those around him. The chief cause for his alteration is chiefly due to alcohol ingestion. The first cat is one of the most of import symbols of this narrative. It is symbolic of the narrator’s evil bosom. The first black cat was named Pluto. which is taken from Grecian mythology. The name Pluto is another name for the Roman God of the Underworld or Godhead of the dead. One dark the storyteller came home rather drunk and frightened the cat. In return the cat wounded the narrator’s manus.

After making so. the storyteller removed one of the cats’ eyes. In making so. he thought the cat would non acquire clear perceptual experience of his immorality and violent bosom. Suddenly. one forenoon the storyteller hung the cat. This is symbolic of the storyteller non being able to accept love. It besides reflects the hideous tone of the fiction. Equally good as being named Pluto. the archetypical symbol associated with the first cat is its colour. black. This colour is associated with a good known superstitious notion that black represents evil and darkness. The first black cat was victim of the narrator’s immorality and violent bosom. The 2nd black cat is symbolic of the narrator’s guilt. It resembled the first cat in most facets. The determination of the 2nd cat serves as a reminder of the dark in which the storyteller about about as if they were bound together by an unseeable rope. This is symbolic of the narrator’s guilt stalking him from the twenty-four hours he hung Pluto. What is more challenging about the 2nd black cat is that it had a noticeable white topographic point covering its whole thorax. which at times would alter form.

The archetypical symbol of the colour. white. undertakings neutrality. It besides represents America remaining impersonal while the other parts of the universe were full of wars and decease. Peoples in the wars are ambitious and cruel is another social backgrounds and that the narrative wants to demo. Cisneros. O’Connor. and Poe’s simple. yet profound literary plants continue to daze readers today. They symbolize the things we are familiar with in life to assist us understand the narratives on a much deeper degree. “House on Mango Street. ” “A Good Man is difficult to happen. ” and “The Black Cat” are fantastic illustrations that use symbolism as an built-in constituent of fiction to enrich the narrative by drawing the messages to the degree of unconscious and ground tackle. put the tones. heighten the narratives and characters.

Plants cited

Cisneros. Sandra. “Four Skinny Trees. ” House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage. 1991. Print Kennedy. X. J. . “A Good Man is Difficult to Find. ” Literature: an debut to fiction. poesy. play. and composing. Synergistic erectile dysfunction. . 11th erectile dysfunction. New York: Longman. 2010. Print.


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