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?
Ah, symbolism, the bane of my English class existence. When I was in high school, a favourite English teacher of mine used to drive us crazy by asking the same question after each passage we'd read: "So what?"
Meaning, so what does this mean? What do you get from this part of the story? What else can you see in here?
Like I said, it would drive some of us crazy. Especially if the answers were never very clear.
While I was never one of those people who couldn't 'get' symbolism, I wasn't the quickest on the uptake. So I normally wouldn't pick up on it until after my teacher would explain it. However, over the years I've gotten a little better at it through self-study. I read The Odyssey as an adult and found the symbolism much easier to pick up than I would have as a child. I guess that really only comes through experience, though. If you read enough books, you start reading in between the lines yourself.
I still hate those individuals who seem to find symbolism in every book and don't hesitate to point it out. That's probably why I've never joined a proper book club. Eventually I'd want to throw the book at someone if I had to deal with that nonstop.
The last book I finished was The Reader by Bernard Schlink and I'm trying to think of what symbolism I can garner from that story.
Nope, nothing comes to mind.
Okay, so maybe I haven't gotten any better at identifying literary symbols over the years. Or perhaps the question posed is rightbooks these days are less likely to carry symbols, but somehow I doubt that. There are plenty of books written each year that you can read further into if you stop and look past the main plot.