Essay Writing: 8 Unique Ways to Use Symbolism in Your Essays
What comes to your mind when you see red roses growing in a garden amidst all the greenery of Essay Writing? Maybe you are thinking about the rose- its petals, stems, and thorns, or even about its stamen as a botanist might. But, maybe your mind suddenly wanders off elsewhere and begins thinking about romance, courtship, and Valentine’s Day. Now, why would you do this? The key reason is that throughout numerous generations, the symbolic meaning of a rose has evolved to incorporate amorous concepts.
Renowned authors have long favored the use of symbols as a literary device in the world of literature. The significance of symbolism can be observed in the earliest recorded forms of human storytelling- hieroglyphics and cave paintings- that are mainly symbols representing complex narratives or beliefs.
In today’s comprehensive blog post, we aim to walk you through the symbolism definition, when to use it, and comprehend how it can help you create more interesting and sophisticated stories.
Let’s dive straight in!
Symbolism: A Quick Overview
In the words of the top essay help stalwarts, symbolism is a remarkable literary device that uses symbols, whether people, words, locations or abstract ideas, to represent something beyond the literal meaning. It is an act of taking something concrete and associating it with a symbol to offer it a new or greater significance. Writers use symbolism to explain a concept or an idea to their readers in a poetic way without saying it outright.
Like, the color white represents purity, black stands for evil, roses denote romance, a dog symbolizes loyalty, and a butterfly symbolizes transformation.
Types of Symbolism In Literature
There are three different types of symbols that you could use throughout your essay writing. Let’s lay them out for you right here so that you can think of the best ways to present them in your papers-
These symbols are usually used in the same way and are thus understood and recognized by many easily. Hence, in Western culture, the cross represents Christianity, night and winter symbolize death, morning stands for purity and promise, the lion represents strength and authority, etc.
It is exactly the opposite of a conventional symbol. It is based on individual experience, but again there is no intrinsic relationship between the symbol and which it symbolizes.
For instance, if someone has a horrible experience in a certain place, they will learn to connect the place’s name with negative emotions. These symbols are rarely used in myths, fairy tales, or works of art in symbolic language as they are communicable unless the writer adds a lengthy comment to every symbol they use.
The universal symbol denotes an intrinsic relationship between the symbol and its representation. They are understood across time and culture as they link the external word to the internal and sensory one.
For instance, ‘the outskirt of a city’ is a universal symbol representing strangeness and desertion. Again, fire is a universal symbol of energy, grace and lightness in content strategy.
The Significance of Using Symbols
Most works of literature incorporate some form of symbolism to create a unique impact. Authors prefer to use symbolism for numerous reasons. Here are certain crucial reasons that illustrate symbolism’s significance in literature-
- It serves as a visual aid for readers to better comprehend complex ideas of concepts
- Enables the readers to follow the central theme of the book more easily
- Allows authors to present their ideas more creatively and artfully
- Adds emotional weight to the content
Ways To Use Symbolism In Your Essays
To Show Without Telling
A look at remarkable essay help tutorials will help you understand that one of the best ways to use symbolism is to show without telling where you can convey complex ideas without using a ton of words.
Like, in Harry Potter, the characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione could be understood as a symbolic definition for one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions in alignment. Harry could viewed as a symbol for action, Hermione for thought and Ron for emotions. When they work together, a person balanced and can succeed.
To Connect Themes
Symbols can also be used to add a visual element to complex themes. The novel ‘The Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding is packed with unique examples of symbolism as imagery.
Here a pig’s head represents pure evil, a conch shell symbolizes order and authority, and an island stands for the Garden of Eden.
To Add Emotion
Symbols can add emotional resonance to a story that can create a lasting impression on the reader. Like, in William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, the guilt-driven Lady Macbeth tortured by a spot of blood on her hands. It won’t simply wash clean after she kills King Duncan.
To Define Characters
Symbols can also used to express character attributes in your essay. Like, in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, the lightning bolt-shaped scar of Harry symbolizes the attempt on his life by Lord Voldemort and the love that saved him.
To Represent A Goal Or A Dream
Like, a character may want to own a house which is a fairly common goal. However, the house might represent a deeper concept of home that the character lacks.
To Explain How The Character Is Feeling
If you aim to describe how your character feels without saying it outright, you can use symbols to convey emotions more poetically.
Like, if you want to say about an unfortunate impending event, describe a storm on the horizon. This will create a story atmosphere.
To Hint At Darker Meanings
Using symbols for dark purposes could also be a risk worth taking. If you look at the Harry Potter series, Voldemort used as a negative character stand for power-hunger men who rule the world. It can be dark and scary, but it often gets the message across.
End On An Ambiguous Note To Interpret Symbolism
While writing your essay, you can even use symbolism as a tool to leave a scene for the readers to interpret. Rather than telling your readers about motivation or an action, you can hint at it with a symbol and let the readers draw their own conclusions.
For instance, if you do not aim to end the story with the death of a character, you can always describe a natural ending like winter or sunset.
Wrapping Up Essay Writing,
Crafting symbols requires patience, practice, and precision. Recognizing symbols takes considerable time, but it is worth the effort. Do not force symbolism in your essays. If it doesn’t come naturally, wait until your second or third draft.
Often, you may also find introducing symbolism inhibits your creative processes. But again, remember there is usually a payoff later. If you’ve never tried it, now is your chance!