Symbolism - Symbolism allows people to communicate beyond the limits of language. Humans use symbolism

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  • Symbolism:

  • Symbolism allows people to communicate beyond the limits of language.

    Humans use symbolism all the time. Words themselves are mere symbols for something else.

  • A symbol is often a person, place, or ordinary object that stands for something beyond itself. For some reason, we have attached extraordinary meaning and significance to it.

  • National, religious, and cultural symbols have standard interpretations as well as a personal significance for each individual.

    For example:

    The American flag symbolizes the United States of America.

  • The personal significance of the American flag, however, varies.

    For example:

    A U.S. army veteran cherishes its meaning.

    A terrorist, on the other hand, finds it despicable.

  • In Canada, a blue piece of paper with Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s picture on it symbolizes five dollars.

    A billionaire considers it chump change. A homeless person living on the streets considers it an elusive treasure.

  • Choose one of the symbols below. On your white board, write the standard interpretation of the symbol.

  • Now write your personal interpretation of the symbol AND a possible opposing interpretation from someone else’s point of view.

  • A literary symbol gains its meaning from the context of a literary work and often changes as the work develops.

    A scar on a child’s forehead could be symbolic in one novel, but mean nothing in another.

  • How do I find symbols?

    Strategy:

    • Look for references to concrete objects and analyze whether they have a standard interpretation or a personal significance to a character. Pay special attention to objects named in the title.

  • How do I find symbols?

    Strategy:

    • Pay special attention to objects or places accompanied by a lengthy description, repetition, or special placement in the plot.

  • In your groups, make a list of possible symbols in Night by Elie Wiesel.

    • Repeated appearance

    • Seems to be connected with a character or event

    • Author gives an extended description

  • To Review:

    • A symbol is often a person, place, or ordinary object that stands for something beyond itself.

    • A symbol can have a standard interpretation and/or a personal significance.

    • Symbols often make repeated appearances, have lengthy descriptions, and/or seem to be connected with a character or events.