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Symbolism and Allegory

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Title: Elements of Literature: Character Author: Amber Last modified by: lauren.whitaker Created Date: 10/26/2004 1:31:09 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Symbolism and Allegory


1
Symbolism and Allegory
Feature Menu
Symbol Identifying Symbols Allegory Practice
2
Symbol
A symbol is a person, place, thing, or event that
stands both for itself and for something beyond
itself. Symbols may be
  • personal
  • public
  • literary

3
Symbol
Personal symbols have special meaning for an
individual.
4
Symbol
Public symbols are widely recognized throughout a
culture and sometimes even universally.
Note
5
Symbol
Literary symbols are created when writers assign
a special, symbolic meaning to something. They
appear in works of fiction, poetry, and drama.
Color symbolism
6
Symbol
Symbols, whether public or literary, work by
association.
apple on a desk
late night knock
red rose
7
Symbol
Authors can make use of well-known symbols,
create their own symbols, or combine elements of
both public and literary symbols.
Public Symbol
white
Private Symbol
whale
Literary Symbol
Moby Dick


End of Section
8
Identifying Symbols
Not all literary works contain symbols. How do
readers know when something is symbolic in a
story and when it is not?
Characteristics of Symbols
Are often visual
Often reappear throughout the work
Are a form of figurative language and stand for something essentially different from themselves
Usually relate to the works theme
9
Identifying Symbols
Quick Check
What might the clock symbolize?
. . . there stood against the western wall a
gigantic clock of ebony. . . . and when the
minute hand had made the circuit of the face, and
the hour was to be stricken, there came from the
brazen lungs of the clock a sound . . . of so
peculiar a note and emphasis that . . . while the
chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed
that the giddiest dancer grew pale, and the
more aged and sedate passed their hands over
their brows . . . . from The Masque of the Red
Death by Edgar Allan Poe
End of Section
10
Identifying Symbols
Quick Check
What might the clock symbolize?
. . . there stood against the western wall a
gigantic clock of ebony. . . . and when the
minute hand had made the circuit of the face, and
the hour was to be stricken, there came from the
brazen lungs of the clock a sound . . . of so
peculiar a note and emphasis that . . . while the
chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed
that the giddiest dancer grew pale, and the
more aged and sedate passed their hands over
their brows . . . . from The Masque of the Red
Death by Edgar Allan Poe
The clock is probably a symbol of the passing of
time and the coming of death.
11
Allegory
An allegory is a narrative in which characters
and settings stand for abstract ideas or moral
qualities.
  • In an allegory, the entire story is a symbol for
    something in human life.
  • Sometimes allegorical characters are named for
    the abstract quality they represent, such as Good
    Deeds or Pride.

12
Allegory
One type of allegory is the fable. Fables
  • are brief stories that teach a practical lesson
    about life
  • are set in fantasy worlds where animals speak and
    think
  • often have animal characters that symbolize vices
    and virtues

13
Allegory
Another kind of allegory is the parable. Parables
  • are brief stories that teach a lesson about moral
    behavior or ethics
  • are set in the ordinary, everyday world
  • feature humans as characters

14
Allegory
Quick Check
Is this excerpt from a fable or a parable? How
can you tell?
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to
Jericho and fell among thieves, which stripped
him of his raiment and wounded him and departed,
leaving him half dead. And by chance there came
down a certain priest that way, and when he saw
him, he passed by on the other side. And
likewise a Levite . . . passed by on the on the
other side. But a certain Samaritan . . . had
compassion on him and went to him and bound up
his wounds . . . Which now of these three . . .
was neighbor unto him that fell among
thieves? from the King James Bible, Luke 103036
End of Section
15
Allegory
Quick Check
Is this excerpt from a fable or a parable? How
can you tell?
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to
Jericho and fell among thieves, which stripped
him of his raiment and wounded him and departed,
leaving him half dead. And by chance there came
down a certain priest that way, and when he saw
him, he passed by on the other side. And
likewise a Levite . . . passed by on the on the
other side. But a certain Samaritan . . . had
compassion on him and went to him and bound up
his wounds . . . Which now of these three . . .
was neighbor unto him that fell among
thieves? from the King James Bible, Luke 103036
Parable. Its set in the everyday world, has
human characters, and teaches a lesson about
ethics.
16
Practice
How many symbols can you find in
public life? Try identifying what the following
things stand for. 1. dove with an olive branch 2.
blindfolded woman holding a pair of scales 3.
yellow rose 4. yellow ribbon tied around a
tree 5. dragon (dragons stand for different
things in the East and the West) 6. pink ribbon
on a lapel
End of Section
17
The End
18
Symbol
Note Different cultures may attach different
meanings to some symbols.
  • For example, the symbolic meanings of colors are
    not universal.

19
Symbol
Color Symbolism Sometimes authors use colors as
literary symbols. What do these colors usually
mean in western literature?
white
blue
red
green
purple
black
20
Identifying Symbols
  • Figurative Language
  • describes one thing in terms of another
  • is meant to be understood both on a literal level
    and a metaphorical level
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