symbols in english literature

symbols in english literature

The Significance of Symbols in English Literature

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
symbols in english literature
Our work is always; • #Top-Quality • #Plagiarism-free
Order Essay

1. Introduction to Symbolism in Literature

Using symbolism in English literature is old. The Bible and William Shakespeare’s plays are riddled with many forms of symbolism. The reality is that symbolism can help a person create a better piece and can be a crucial part of a dat person’s writing. Whether writing a poem or a passage of a novel, using symbolism can help convey the ideas better. The uses of symbolism in English literature have many meanings, such as creating periods in a novel, building metaphors used in the poems, showing description through persons, objects or anything, and even in everyday life, using symbols to describe cultures, traditions, and history in the whole world. It is forever interesting how authors can use a symbol and basically overload it with meanings. Then the audience or reader is confused, unsure, only has a hint, and even overreads the symbol to make it mean even less significant things.

Symbols can take on whole new meanings in many ways. A symbol can convey complex ideas better than words alone. Symbols are an important part of many works of literature. They give a deeper understanding of the author’s intent. Characters, setting, and objects can work as symbols. A character in a story can stand for something beyond themselves. The same can be said for setting. Objects can help produce a mood or feeling. English literature is often extraordinarily deep and filled with many symbols, themes, and abstract ideas. This paper will describe how symbolism is some part of almost every English piece of literature that was created.

2. Types of Symbols in English Literature

In literature, we may distinguish at least different kinds of symbols: the image, the metaphor, and allegory. English literature is an epitome of different kinds of symbols. English writers are renowned for their works around the world. They have paved the way to different ways of symbolic uses and used symbolism as a way in which to arrest the reader’s understanding and hold their attention. The poet himself is not concerned with its mere material presence in the poem as a verse-machine churning away. He shapes a pattern of words by adhering to the dictates of a central symbolic pattern, which he wants to translate and reveal to us. In this sense, then, a good poem is always a living expression of a complex and unified set of energies and patterns.

In English literature, different types of symbols are used with the aims of the authors or writers to give deeper intentions to their narrative works. Following are some commonly used types of symbols in English literature. There are many ways in which three levels of language may be used symbolically and many kinds of symbols. First, there are images: nonverbal symbols found in walls, clouds, flowers, trees, water, objects of nature, etc. Then, the words used to denote these images may also become verbal symbols of the objects they stand for. Words can also function as symbols when they stand for reality indirectly. Third, people can be taken as symbols for nations, classes, professions, etc.

3. The Function of Symbols in Enhancing Themes and Characters

Herman Melville introduced a double layer of symbolism in his famous story “Bartleby”; first, he used general Christian symbolism to present Bartleby as a Christ figure, and second, he gave specific interpretations to three major symbols – the building itself, the lawyer, and Bartleby – which further developed the narrative. Bolker stated that the Christian symbolism was indeed no more than a skin on the story and that the “true” meaning of the story lay in the symbols. Another and more important function of symbols, and one that is especially relevant to the area of biblical typology, derives from the symbol of Christ as God’s incarnation of Himself to the extent that Christ’s inception and birth related Him not only to the human world which He was entering but also reflected, through symbols, His relationship to the world of God. Part of the theory of correspondence is that symbols do reflect a fluid and shifting relationship with their entire range of referents.

The use of symbols in literature enables the writer to translate an experience or emotion into a concrete structure that is specific in its individual meaning, but which also conveys general significance. To a large degree, attempts to state precisely what symbols “mean” are futile, because meaning is a constantly shifting process of discovery and because symbols are, almost by definition, universal while at the same time being highly specific. However, even if a symbol’s interpretation is controversial, its ability to evoke meaning is often powerful. Symbols generally enhance a work’s themes and characters rather than dominating them. Typically, they transcend the action of the story and point beyond the plot to a higher or more important meaning, a meaning that has been often referred to as universal or mythic.

4. Notable Examples of Symbolism in English Literature

But there is another side to all this, and having fun and playing the puppets that we are must not blind us altogether to the fact that both symbols and symbolic meaning are difficult to recognize and verbalize. We are justified in feeling some awe and curiosity, then, in the presence of truly masterly symbols. When explaining them or undertaking their explication (explanation probably being a poor word in this context), we should really take the greatest care, on pain of you know what. It is this aspect of literary theory that I should like to examine in the discussion below. These complexities and problems, which go with the use and understanding of symbolism in literary works, require by themselves a special paragraph. For now, let me just mention the fact that these problems are innumerable, that they affect in varying degrees different languages, and that there are almost as many cases as there are individual symbols.

Bunyan, a 17th-century author, is a particularly interesting example of a writer who has filled his work (The Pilgrim’s Progress) with symbols, which he was quite happy to explain. He believed that without their meanings being spelled out, the success of his allegory would be endangered. For the rest, foxes, frogs, or, metonymically speaking, a red rag are quite obvious, yet they do not run the world. Still, we follow the fox and the frog in their peregrinations, so to speak, or we pick up the red rag with curiosity and pleasure. In fact, and to borrow Walter Savage Landor’s words from a different context, we might say that a little roguery and fraud or a red rag are more entertaining than the Ten Commandments. Hence the appeal of the game played by symbols.

Place Your Order
(275 Words)

Approximate Price: $15

Calculate the price of your order

275 Words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total Price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic Level
Number of Pages
Principle features
  • Free cover page and Reference List
  • Plagiarism-free Work
  • 24/7 support
  • Affordable Prices
  • Unlimited Editing
Upon-Request options
  • List of used sources
  • Anytime delivery
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Writer’s sample papers
  • Professional guidance
Paper formatting
  • Double spaced paging
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)
  • 275 words/page
  • Font 12 Arial/Times New Roman

•Unique Samples

We offer essay help by crafting highly customized papers for our customers. Our expert essay writers do not take content from their previous work and always strive to guarantee 100% original texts. Furthermore, they carry out extensive investigations and research on the topic. We never craft two identical papers as all our work is unique.

•All Types of Paper

Our capable essay writers can help you rewrite, update, proofread, and write any academic paper. Whether you need help writing a speech, research paper, thesis paper, personal statement, case study, or term paper, essay writing service is ready to help you.

•Strict Deadlines

You can order custom essay writing with the confidence that we will work round the clock to deliver your paper as soon as possible. If you have an urgent order, our custom essay writing company finishes them within a few hours (1 page) to ease your anxiety. Do not be anxious about short deadlines; remember to indicate your deadline when placing your order for a custom essay.

•Free Revisions and Preview

To establish that your online custom essay writer possesses the skill and style you require, ask them to give you a short preview of their work. When the writing expert begins writing your essay, you can use our chat feature to ask for an update or give an opinion on specific text sections.

A Remarkable Student Essay Writing Service

Our essay writing service is designed for students at all academic levels. Whether high school, undergraduate or graduate, or studying for your doctoral qualification or master’s degree, we make it a reality.