what is symbolism? understanding symbolism in literature

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What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

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What is a symbol? A symbol keeps its own meaning while also standing for something else. Example – a flag stands for its country

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Page 1: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What is Symbolism?Understanding Symbolism in

Literature

Page 2: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What is a symbol?

SYMBOL: a symbol stands for something else

A concrete noun that represents an abstract noun. A symbol may be a person, place, thing, or action. It may also stand for an idea, belief, feeling, or attitude.

Page 3: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What is a symbol?

A symbol keeps its own meaning while also standing for something else.

Example – a flag stands for its country

Page 4: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What Does The Picture Symbolize?

Christianity

Page 5: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What Does The Picture Symbolize?

peace

Page 6: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What Does The Picture Symbolize?

love

Page 7: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

What Does The Picture Symbolize?

marriage

Page 8: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

HOW DOES SYMBOLISM AFFECT READING COMPREHENSION?

When you read, learn to recognize patterns.

Patterns can show us hidden meanings in the

text. When an author repeats something, it’s a

big clue that it is essential to the meaning of the

story.

Page 9: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

HOW DOES SYMBOLISM AFFECT READING COMPREHENSION?

Symbols show what text cannot and guide

you to a more complete understanding of the

underlying point.

Page 10: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

How can you recognize a symbol in literature?

First, read the story and repeat if needed to

fully understand the plot. Distinguish

between plot and theme. Plot is the

sequence of events, and theme is the

message the author is trying to convey.

Page 11: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

How can you recognize a symbol in literature?

Second, summarize the plot in a single sentence.

Based on your sentence, think about possible

lessons (themes) you could learn from it. Look for

a moral to the story. Jot down as many as you can

think of.

Page 12: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

How can you recognize a symbol in literature?

Third, scan the story again. Note any nouns that

show up often. (tag them by highlighting,

underlining, or noting down on a separate sheet

of paper)

Page 13: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

How can you recognize a symbol in literature?

Fourth, see if any of the nouns you have found have

any obvious connotations. Can they represent

something else? (for example, “dark” could be

“evil”)

Page 14: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

How can you recognize a symbol in literature?

Fifth, see if any of the words have a relationship to

the themes you noted in step three. Can the words

represent something that is not only essential to

the plot, but to all human life?

Page 15: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

How can you recognize a symbol in literature?

Finally, read the story again, mentally

replacing your tagged words with the ideas or

concepts you believe they could represent.

Page 16: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

Symbols and Theme

When you read, look carefully for symbols. Ask

yourself if any of the words have a broader

meaning. Symbols can give you clues and help you

understand themes in the stories you read.

Page 17: What is Symbolism? Understanding Symbolism in Literature

Practice Looking for SymbolsEvery Time You Read

With practice, you will become skillful at identifying symbols in different texts.