Symbol is a literary device where an object, action, or event represents a larger concept, idea or emotion. A symbol can be a concrete object, like a rose, or an abstract concept, like freedom, and it carries a deeper meaning beyond its literal interpretation. Symbols are used in literature to create layers of meaning and to convey themes, ideas, or messages to the reader in a more subtle way. Through the use of symbols, writers can give their greater emotional impact and engage readers on a deeper level, allowing for a more immersive and memorable reading experience.
Examples of symbol:
The white whale in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” represents obsession and the destructive nature of revenge.
The mockingbird in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” symbolizes innocence and the unjust persecution of those who are different.
The scarlet letter “A” in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” represents sin, guilt, and the hypocrisy of the Puritan society.
The green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” symbolizes hope, dreams, and the unattainable ideal.
The apple in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” symbolizes temptation and the fall of man.
The conch shell in William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” represents order and democracy, but it also becomes a symbol of the boys’ descent into savagery.
The rose in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” symbolizes both beauty and decay, reflecting the themes of the story.
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How could I differentiate between a Metaphor and a Symbol?