Thursday, April 23, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Symbolic? Or Not?

Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

Oh gosh symbolism. I've always been very bad at finding symbolic meaning in writing. Especially poems, I could read a poem 100 times and probably still not get what the poet was trying to say! So really, I have no idea if symbolism is an older literary device or if it's still alive and kicking. I guess I could see how that is the case, but I really have no reasoning the back it. I have no idea if my English teachers were right, but they sure saw more than me!

Are you better at spotting symbolism than I am?

11 comments:

  1. I love symbolism in literature. It thrills me to find it. And the cool thing is, even if the author didn't intend symbolism, if you find it, it still counts.

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  2. I'm the same way. I don't like poetry for that reason. Symbolism is just lost on me. :(

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  3. I think that symbolism depends on how you percieve it. It's so much like a DBQ...

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  4. I was never good with Symbolism either. I do like poetry though.

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  5. I'm not good with symbolism in poetry, but after 4 years as an English major I'm pretty good with it. I don't look for it much when I'm not supposed to be for writing a paper. I can see so many plot devices though. Even in movies. I had a professor once say that whenever a horse appears (especially when a woman is riding it), it symbolizes sex. So I can't help but think that whenever a horse is in a novel or movie. And in Emma, when Churchill gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Yeah, the professor said that it might as well have been a horse! lol

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  6. I like symbolism in literature, but I like it much more if the author intended it to symbolize something. If I find something could be symbolic of something else, but the author didn't intend it to, it really doesn't have any weight on the direction of the story or the motivation of the characters and, to me, it isn't as good as if the author meant it. It can be interesting, but its not the same.

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  7. In the only actual college-level English course I ever took, I failed to spot the sexual symbolism in Wordsworth's poem "Nutting." What a naive poof I was.

    I think I'm better at symbolism now. But as a writer I try never to let it overcome story.

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  8. Sometimes I get the symbolism, sometimes not. I try not to stress over it.

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  9. I am terrible at understanding poetry, that is why I stick with novels!

    http://barneysbookblog.blogspot.com

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  10. Haha, Beth, I never get sexual symbolisms! The horse one I mentioned above is the only one just because it's so odd. I don't even get that people are having sex unless it's expressly stated. So many 19th and even early 20th century novels skim over it and mention it in an unobvious way so I miss it and then feel so silly when someone points it out to me.

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  11. I think reading poetry and trying to find the symbolism is kind of a poor way to read poetry. I mean, if you enjoy that sort of thing, that's fine, but I find it more rewarding to just picture the imagery, and however it makes me feel, that's what the poem is about.

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