Saturday, March 12, 2011

Playing the Symbols

“Sing then the core of dark and absolute oblivion where the soul at last is lost in utter peace.” - D. H. Lawrence
I have been reading several blogs on symbolism used in novels.  I love matching novels to the symbols and I admit I burn a fair dreggy flame when I weave them myself.
Has anyone noticed my self portrait above?  What's that mean?

What about my blue apples?
Fahrenheit 451 - Hunger Games series
What do they have in common?
18 symbols I have found so far.
Yes my jaw dropped too when my daughter found the first couple.
The big one of course- fire
In 451 - fire is the symbol for destruction but also hope (as little Clarisse's candle)
In Hunger - Katniss is the girl on fire - symbol of both hope and destruction.
Also, the other biggie is that whole Bird as the symbol of freedom and rebellion.
 Now those are pretty big and obvious - here are a few more
451 - 10 lane highway - a world moving to fast
Hunger - the trains that go to the capital so fast
(society marching to it's own doom ever faster)
(Clarisse -Katniss- A double S is a symbol for a government that has lost it's humanity...think of The SS
(If you don't know what 451 is - it is the temperature that paper flashes -symbol of book burners and those who demand politically correct reading material)
small child - innocent but filled with hunger to learn and think - little Rue in Hunger - little Clarisse in 451 (they both die)
 I won't name every one, it would be too long. Once again there are 18 so far.  Think I am kidding?  What was Katniss' squad number in Mockingjay........  four fifty one
No the stories are nothing alike - but the symbols are.
I am going to sit down and do a reference style post on the parallels as a separate post. 
Another symbol used in Hunger games is the smell of the rose being evil - not pleasant - horror
Others have done it too - Vonnegut and King to name two off the top of my head.
I love this because we usually think of roses as symbols of love - beauty.
Don't forget they are the symbol of death too -( Watching you from top the coffins of those you love.)
Thorns are pain topped with beauty called a rose - pain hidden in beauty.
Think of these symbols and ask yourself if you really get the whole story behind them?
 broken pillar
glass of wine
If you understand the symbols - a story told in seven symbols.
In my story fire is a theme too - (hope and destruction yes - but creation also) 
Fire is love that can't be controlled - even if it means you sacrifice yourself - even in your own destruction, you love.   A love so pure it burns. Love beyond all pain - only light. 
 Smoke is the search for love and god and your own can smell it from far away good or bad. Light symbolises - joy - sensation - happy - kindness - and knowing your path is true. 
The red bud tree in the cemetery - life even in death - love past boundary.
Cheerleader - working so hard to conform yet finding value even in that pursuit.
Vampire - life with a price - lived as a slave to things you must do to survive
Djinn - the smokeless fire of god - they are the soul of man on his journey
Most of us know a song that speaks about a ring of fire - you know the one.  What is the first word of that song? Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring.  I fell for you, like a child.  It is a love song - not a song of hell, but one of true love.
Now tell me what symbols you are weaving into your words.  How do you use them?
What is the main symbol of your current work in progress? 

 Take a stab at telling the story above?


  1. Sometimes I write symbols into the story without really thinking about it. Have you ever written a story and then found a symbol there you didn't know you placed in there?

  2. thank you for your honest and kind comment.

    symbols are everything we have. they make reality.

  3. I'm playing around with a leaking bucket as a symbol in my MG novel :-)

    By the way, I so loved your recent post on reading to our children, "Never Fight Bedtime Again," that I linked to it in my latest post. It's one of the best pieces I've read on the subject lately, and I thought others should read it, too!