Symbolism and Motif - Ms. Davis's Webpage!

Symbolism and Motif - Ms. Davis's Webpage!

Symbolism and Motifs Devices of the Day What is a symbol? Simply speaking, a SYMBOL is a word or object that stands for another word or object. A SYMBOL contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other concepts than those that are visible in the literal

sense. Lets look at an example of a symbol in literature: One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien J.R.R. Tolkiens famous fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings, is a heros quest in which the hobbit Frodo Baggins must destroy an all-powerful ring.

This object is imbued with magic through its creation, and is a symbol for ultimate power. The ultimate power also becomes equated with evil. The ring simply being in Frodos presence begins to turn Frodo toward desire of power, and thus evil. However, Frodos ability to combat the power of the ring shows that he possesses a great inner source of goodness. Identifying a symbol Were going to listen to Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. As you listen to the lyrics, try to figure out what the CAR represents.

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman You got a fast car Is it fast enough so we can fly away? We gotta make a decision Leave tonight or live and die this way Think-Pair-share What do you think the CAR represents in the song? Turn to a partner and explain what you think. Use the lyrics as evidence.

More examples of symbolism In Elie Wiesels novel Night, night is used throughout the book to represent death, darkness, and loss of faith. In the movie The Wizard of Oz, the storm symbolizes high emotions and occurred when those emotions were present. In the movie trilogy Star Wars, Luke was dressed in light colors and Darth Vader was dressed in black, showing good vs evil In Lorraine Hansberrys play A Raisin in the Sun, a plant on the windowsill symbolizes

needs and hope, like a plant needs the sun to grow, we have needs. In Hansel and Gretel, bread symbolizes comfort and bread crumbs symbolize the way home. In Harry Potter, Harrys scar is like a badge of honor because he survived a battle. It also stands for emotional sensitivity, since it hurts when someone directs hate towards him. Whats a motif? In a literary piece, a motif is a recurrent image, idea, or a symbol that develops or explains a theme.

Whats the difference between a motif and a symbol? Symbols are images, ideas, sounds or words that represent something else and help to understand an idea or a thing. Motifs, on the other hand, are images, ideas, sounds or words that help to explain the central idea of a literary work. Moreover, a symbol may appear once or twice in a literary work, whereas a motif is a recurring element. Omens An example of a motif

in Julius Caesar Until Caesars death, each time an omen or nightmare is reported, the audience is reminded of Caesars impending demise. Whether or not individuals can affect their destinies, characters repeatedly fail to interpret the omens

correctly. In a larger sense, the omens in Julius Caesar imply the dangers of failing to accurately perceive and analyze the details of ones world. Motif Example The central idea of the co-existence of good and evil in Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird is supported by

several motifs. Lee strengthens the atmosphere by a motif of Gothic details i.e. recurrent images of gloomy and haunted settings, supernatural events, full moon etc. Another motif in the narrative is the small town life of Maycomb, which depicts goodness and pleasantness in life. Activity Illustrate a symbol (from the text) Describe what the symbol represents in your own words. Give evidence from the text. (This means you need a quote!)

Explain the importance of the symbol. Why did the author include this?

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