Symbolism is to English Literature what Mirchi is to any Indian Curry. While mirchi adds mouth watering spice to an Indian curry, symbolism adds meaning and profound depth to alluring written masterpieces. Symbolism has affixed a whole separate dimension to the arts movement. Vivid perceptions, complex philosophies and eccentric ideologies have all been cryptically expressed through the clever use of symbolism. Provocative themes stressing on the cosmos, religion and humanity in general encompassed the bulk of neo-classicism visual arts. Symbolism gained prominence in the late 19th century (1880s to be precise), when french poets gave birth to idealistic verses in response to realism and naturalism. This gets us to the core of the subject, what really is symbolism. Popular artists and writers capitalize on metaphors and brilliant allusions which enhance the beauty of images and entities with clever figurative undertones. Let’s learn more on symbolism as we continue reading this informative article.
Symbolism In A Story
Symbolism is a very vital tool in the domain of prose writing. If you get your hands on a piece of prose scripted by a reputed and well versed author, you will be able to detect traces of subtle and symbolic allusions gently interlaced within what culminate into an ingenious and wholesome story. Do you remember John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize winning novel- ’The Grapes of Wrath’? Well if you did, you certainly must have noticed the prominent transcendental symbolism juxtaposed in various sentences throughout the book. Here’s an example:
"Joad reached forward and crushed the grasshopper’s hard skull-like head with his fingers, and he let it into the wind stream out the window".
Bearing in mind that this story revolves around the Great Depression I 1931, Steinbeck utilizes symbolism as he subtly interweaves insects and bugs into the story to denote famine and crop scarcity. You can marvel at several more fictional masterpieces oozing symbolism. Some of which are Macbeth by William Shakespeare, The Bible and Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.
Symbolism In Poetry
The beauty of poetry is often accredited to the ingenuity of its symbolism. For example, a lilies flower maybe used as an allusion to purity or virginity! Poetry contains the largest pool of symbolism vestiges. In the progression of one’s humble endeavor to infuse rhythm and rhymes in a well crafted poem, embellishment in the form of indirect allusions and scintillating metaphors swiftly materializes. Poems entail lesser prosaic descriptions and appealing ambiguity draped in a few powerful words. Here a few examples of symbolism in poetry.
Ah Sunflower - William Blake
Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveler’s journey is done;
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!
The Long Hill – Sara Teasdale
I must have passed the crest a while ago
And now I am going down--
Strange to have crossed the crest and not to know,
But the brambles were always catching the hem of my gown.
All the morning I thought how proud I should be
To stand there straight as a queen,
Wrapped in the wind and the sun with the world under me--
But the air was dull, there was little I could have seen.
It was nearly level along the beaten track
And the brambles caught in my gown--
But it's no use now to think of turning back,
The rest of the way will be only going down
The first poem hints at the circle of life - birth, death and rebirth. Blake exploits the image of the sunflower to represent mankind and their desire to live an eternal life. The second poem conveys the episode of a lonely soul approaching the end of her journey that is life.
Symbolism In Art
Symbolism in art portrays a true artist’s creativity, eccentricity and perspective. To amass a good understanding of what symbolism in art really is, you should have a good look at 'The Caress' by Khnopff. The image immediately imprinted on your retina will be a lady trapped inside a leopard’s body. She is shown caressing a young man. The symbolism here points to very latent and bellicose sentiments hiding underneath the façade of a benign female. As far as art goes, tree symbolism is greatly popular trend, which symbolizes the oneness and interdependency of cosmic life. Dragonfly symbolism deals with depictions of the subconscious self visually expounded by the wings of a dragonfly (signifying freedom and enthusiasm).
Now, you must have acquired a thorough grasp over the intricacies of symbolism in prose, poetry and art. Go impress your literary friends and teachers!