Unpacking Symbolism in Literary Works


Added on  2019-09-23

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1Student’s Name:Professor’s Name:Course:Date:Symbolism The symbolism in literature is a widely used practice in the literature. Using symbol, the deepermeanings are expressed in writings (Chadwick 35). In these cases, the symbol is used in twoways. Firstly, it can be represented by a figure of speech in which a person, object or situationreflects different significance other than the literal one. The symbolism can also be representedby the actions of a character in literature. In this case, the actions or words of the character add adeeper meaning to the context. The stories “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and “TheLottery” are two such literary works where symbolism is used extensively. The discussionfocuses on analysing the symbolism used in these stories.In the story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, Ursula Le Guin, the child symbolizesthe injustice, selfishness and the inhumanity. It is reflected in the quote “But to praise despair isto condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else”.The conscience ofhuman being suffers at its expense (Benson 68). It is reflected in the quote “Sometimes also aman or woman much older falls silent for a day or two, and then leaves home”. As indicated inthe story, the child was kept in the dark to maintain the prosperity of the city. It is an act of
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2inhumanity and injustice. The story also indicates that most of the citizens accepted the treatmentto the child. It represents selfishness as the citizens have not considered the wellbeing of thechild for their interest. The act also indicates that individuals have not used their morality forbeing prosperous. However, the latter part of the story indicates that some of the citizens wereable to distinguish between right and wrong. So, they left the city instead of supporting the cruelact towards the child. It represents that every member of society knows moral behaviour.However, often they are unwilling to go against the social norms despite being aware of itsinappropriateness. On the contrary, there are so people who have the courage to speak the truth.“The Lottery” is another story where Shirley Jackson has represented irrational traditions of thesociety using the actions of the villagers. The lottery, black box and old man Warner are threesymbols in the story. The lottery in this story represents obsolete customs and irrational behaviour associated with it(Landau 18). The obsoleteness of the lottery is reflected in the quote”.The original paraphernaliafor the lottery had been lost long ago” which indicates it is no longer able to serve its primarypurpose. As stated in the story, the villagers arrange a lottery every year in June. The tradition isbeing followed every year unquestionably. The villagers do not know why they perform thesame ritual. The lottery box is broken but they do not replace it as the same box is being used forthe generations. The acts of the villagers are completely irrational as there is no specific reasonbehind their actions. The black box represents death (Landau 15). It is reflected in the quote “The black box grewshabbier each year” which reflects its poor condition. At the end of the story, the villagers areabout to kill one of them. The actions symbolize the impacts of practising any ritual
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