Symbolic? Or Not?

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Question suggested by Barbara H:

My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very frustrated in college when teachers would insist discussing symbolism in a literary work when there didn’t seem to him to be any. He felt that writers often just wrote the story for the story’s sake and other people read symbolism into it.

It does seem like modern fiction just “tells the story” without much symbolism. Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

73 responses

  1. gee…this is too hard for me… I’ll pass for this week’s question.

    Happy BTT guys!!

  2. reviewsonbooks

    Oh I hated those classes! Happy Thursday 🙂

  3. reviewsonbooks

    woops. Please check out my response here

  4. I think I rambled a bit! I hope THIS makes sense.

  5. […] 23, 2009 at 3:29 am (Memes) BTT: Question suggested by Barbara H: My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very […]

  6. I really enjoyed answering this question 😉 It was a good one!

    I included a video clip from Back to School as part of my answer: Kurt Vonnegut Would Fail a Course on Vonnegut

  7. Hmmm this was quite a difficult one, but made me think…

  8. What a question for an English teacher.

    My response is here:

  9. Good morning, Thursday people! Not sure I really answered the question, but here’s my (slightly curmudgeonly) response:

  10. symbolism is alive and well… my, slight;y uni-ish response here

  11. […] 23, 2009 in BTT, books, internet, meme, poetry Today’s Booking Through Thursday question was suggested by Barbara […]

  12. You want an answer? SYMBOLISM IS IN EVERY BOOK. (Yelling over.)

    I went to town on this answer, check it out here.

  13. thebluestockingguide

    I loved this question! I wrote a long answer.


  14. Mine’s up here. BTT took a lot of thought this week! (Which I loved.)

  15. […] literature, meaning, reading, symbolism | No Comments  With this week’s question for Booking Through Thursday, I feel like I’m right back in the Susquehanna Building at the University of Maryland, […]

  16. So thought-provoking! I definitely felt like I was back in college. I love thinking about these sorts of things! The English major in me will never die 🙂

  17. This really got the juices flowing today! My answer’s here.

  18. I am really looking forward to reading the answers for today! Unfortunately it’s a busy week and it might take me a while to get to them, but I will.

    My thoughts are here:

  19. My post is up. Great question this week. Happy BTT everyone!

  20. I loved this question. BTT should have more questions like this! Here is what I came up with:

  21. Former English major, I got a little bit more out of this question than perhaps we expected. 😉

  22. I’m later than normal this week, but my answer is here.

  23. Wow – interesting and difficult question. Do I have a few hours or days to think about it. 🙂

    My post is up now here

    and has an interesting exercise to consider.

    I have to go to work today, so will be slowly making my way round to your posts over the next couple days.


    I think I’m one of the few high school students that actually likes symbolism!

  25. I’ve skipped the last couple BTTs but today’s posted.

  26. […] Check out more responses at Booking Through Thursday. […]

  27. Wow, this one was really challenging — but great! Here’s my response: Happy BTT, everyone!

  28. A bit late, but mine is up.

    ~ Popin

  29. This is probably the best and most thought-provoking BTT question ever for me.

    My answer is finally up after a whole morning’s worth of pondering.

    Happy BTT everyone. 🙂

  30. Here’s my a bit scatter-brained answer:

  31. Well, here’s my thoughts on this:

    I had to mull it over a bit before I could think of something short & snappy to contribute.

  32. […] April 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm | In Book Blather | No Comments My response to this week’s Booking Through Thursday question: My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very frustrated in college when […]

  33. I absolutely loved this question, especially because it’s one I’ve always rolled around in my head. I hope to come back and revisit it with a better answer in the future!

  34. Finally… Been fighting with my new “Tweet This” plug-in all afternoon…

  35. A bit late today (it’s noon on a Friday now here), but here is mine. Cheers! 😀

  36. […] Booking Through Thursday is today’s meme. As I love to read and such […]

  37. Took me a couple of days to collect my thoughts – great question!

  38. Very interest question; I enjoyed answering it. Here is the link (I know, I’m posting it late):

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