Three Literary Elements: Symbolism

Staci Troilo has an absolutely wonderful post on Story Empire today. It really struck a chord with me, since The Wizard of Oz is my all time favorite movie, and when dealing with the use of symbolism in writing, Staci could not have picked a better example. Hope you’ll check out the post so you can see what I mean. And then, if you would, share it far and wide so others will see a classic example of symbolism at work. Thanks, and thanks to Staci for one of my favorite posts of of the year.

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers.  SymbolismToday is a two-fer. I’m writing the last of my posts on literary elements, and I’m also writing my last post of the year. And what a year it’s been, huh? Say what you want about 2020, it’s definitely one we’ll never forget. (And one I’m happy to put behind me.)

Okay, literary elements. We’ve already covered theme and subject. Please click on the links if you missed those posts or want a quick refresher. This installment will discuss symbolism and how it relates to the other two elements.

Unlike theme and subject, symbolism is pretty widely understood by authors. It’s the use of something—usually a repeated use—that comes to represent something more than its literal definition.

Some common, recognizable symbols:

  • dove = peace
  • heart = love
  • owl = wisdom
  • water = purity
  • fire = passion
  • white = good
  • black = evil
  • green = envy
  • blue…

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