One of the most exciting things about consuming art, whether that art is a T.V. show, painting, or novel, is dissecting the layers of meaning within a given piece. There's the literal things which happen in the novel, and then there's the symbolic meaning—and the thing is, you probably already pick up on a lot of it without realizing. Artists rely on symbols to add depth and layers of meaning to their work, but this only works if the reader understands symbols to begin with. Luckily, in this article, we're going to cover the basics of symbolism: we'll talk about what symbolism is, discuss different types, talk about how to use it, and review some examples. Not only will this help you add meaning to your own work, but it'll help you better understand the media you come across—look for these symbols the next time you're watching T.V. or reading a book! What is symbolism? First things first: what is symbolism? A symbol imparts meaning beyond what is literally portrayed. For an easy example, think of a heart—not an anatomical heart, but a cutesy red Valentine's-day situation. When you see one of those, you immediately associate a bunch of other stuff with it—Valentine's Day, maybe, or the idea of love, or cute things, or sweet things. Or, you may say, you get angry, because you think all that stuff is stupid. But this doesn't mean that you're not getting the symbolism. If you weren't getting the symbolic meaning, you […]
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