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Introduction to Symbolism

Introduction to
Lesson Targets:
Define the literary term symbolism
Recognize types of symbolism
Interpret Symbolism
What is Symbolism?
A symbol is an ordinary object, event, person, or animal
to which we have attached a special meaning.
We use a rectangle of dyed cloth to
symbolize a country.
What is Symbolism?
• We use a picture of a
skull and crossbones
to symbolize poison
or danger.
• We send red roses as a
symbol of love.
People through out history have endowed ordinary
objects with meanings far beyond their simple meaning.
A crown symbolizes
Five linked
What is Symbolism?
Think about :
• What does each of these symbols stand for?
• Write your response on the worksheet.
Types of Symbolism: Public Symbols
• Public symbols
• have been inherited, or
handed down over time
• are widely known
• show up in art and
Public Symbols
• For example: no one
really knows who first
thought of using a lion as
a symbol of power,
courage and domination
• Once these qualities were
associated with the
animal, images of lions
appeared on flags,
banners, coats of arms
and castle walls
• The lion became a public
symbol that shows up in
art and literature, even
• Can you think of some
examples of how lions are
used as a symbol of
courage and power?
Types of Symbolism: Personal Symbols
• Personal Symbols
• Only has meaning to
that one person
• Can be handed down
through generations
Examples of Symbolism
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Symbolism in Literature
• Writers use symbols to:
• suggest layers of meaning that a simple, literal
statement could never convey
• speak more powerfully to the reader’s emotions
and imagination
• make their stories rich and memorable
How do I know if it’s a symbol?
• Repeat appearance
• Seem to be connected with a character or event
• Author spend long time on description
Symbolism in The Giver
There are many symbols in The Giver, because the
story itself is largely symbolic. Three examples are
the apple, memories, and the sled.
Later this week you will work with a partner to infer
and interpret various symbols presented
throughout the novel.