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January 29, 2007

Symbol, what symbol?

Foster (Ch 12 and Interlude [p. 183]) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

Here's the problem with symbols: people expect them to mean something...So some symbols do have a relatively limited range of meanings, but in general a symbol can't be reduced to standing for only one thing.If they can,it's not symbolism, it's allegory
.

I used to struggle with symbolism. I couldn't understand how people were able to pick out exactly what a symbol stood for, especially since so many authors are no longer around to ask.Not only that, but most of the time I didn't even recognize that something WAS a symbol. I have gotten better at it over the years, but Foster made me feel MUCH better. I know what a symbol is, and I know what an allegory is, but I never considered that if a symbol has ONE meaning, then its an allegory. It makes complete sense.

Posted by CheraPupi at January 29, 2007 4:47 PM

Comments

I totally hear you here. I had a hard time figuring out how to pick out symbols in literature, and I never really got how people were able to do it. Foster's text is definitely a real eye-opener for me when it comes to interpreting symbolism.

Posted by: Bethany Bouchard at January 31, 2007 9:49 PM

I definitely understand your point. I struggled with symbols to. It's not that I couldn't pick out symbols through literature, it's just that what I thought what something meant was totally different to another's idea. So I always thought I was wrong, but now I can see after reading that there really is no right answer with symbols and they can have tons of different meanings.

Posted by: Margaret Jones at January 30, 2007 11:27 AM

I have also struggled with symbols in the past. For me, it was never so much seeing them, but seeing that one meaning that everyone around me agreed on. I was very happy when Foster pointed out that for it to be a symbol there have to be several ways to interpret it, and not even the teacher can say which is right.

Posted by: HallieGeary at January 29, 2007 7:05 PM

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