I have ranted in the past about all the English classes in high school where symbolism was such a big deal. Here.
Here are some of the more ridiculous examples I remember from high school English:
- Holden Caulfield's hat was a symbol for his hunt for...what was he hunting for again?
- Oh, yeah. And "Holden" could symbolize his efforts to "hold on." (Hold on to what? Being a brat?)
- Ethan Frome and the sled being a need to escape. I thought that one was quite obvious, actually.
Symbolism is defined as the practice of representing things by symbols or by investing things with a symbolic meaning or character.
|James McAvoy and Keira Knightley in Atonement|
The broken vase in the beginning of Atonement. The moors in Wuthering Heights. Lady Mary's stuffed dog in the second season of Downton Abbey. Harry Potter's scar. They all represent something about the characters or the plot that is deeper than it initially appears.
I find that symbolism can be read far too much into. Sometimes it's blue because the author typed "blue" and it doesn't mean anything more than that. If the symbol is not chosen well, it comes across as forced and doesn't work. Or perhaps it's not associated well with what it is meant to represent or it's not clear.