Is that a Symbol? (Foster 97).
Since re-reading this chapter I again am inclined to share my opinions about the topic of symbolism. It seems that many people go into a work looking for very specific symbols and they have to mean a certain thing. However I think it is important to do what foster says and ask yourself what does it mean to me?
Although the author might include specific symbols in a work that are supposed to hold a particular meaning but if the reader doesnt get those meanings then it doesnt matter. What matters at that point is what the reader did get out of the work. If an apple is in a work and supposed to represent the fruit from eden - but a person who grew up around an apple orchard will probably see a different meaning first, something personal that others may not get.
That is the beauty to literature. While there are some right answers there are probably just as many answers that are right to the person who is reading the literature.