Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Teamwork

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

Trees growing at the edge of a river
Animals grooming each other
Animals hunting in a pack
A flock of birds flying overhead
A school of fish
Birds taking turns warming a nest
Geese patrolling and herding their young in parks
A sheepdog trotting alongside a man on a horse
Birds swooping together to drive off a predator
Mated birds bringing mud and sticks to a nest
Animals scavenging for food in pairs or groups
Beavers building a dam
squirrels scavenging
branches of trees twined together
animals fending off attacks to protect young

In Society:

A stack of boxes
children building a snowman
Taking turns
Construction Workers
Helping someone across the street
Pushing someone in a wheelchair
Sporting events
Coworkers eating lunch together
The scene of an accident
A fire truck or firemen
City Hall
People hanging a sign or banner
Crossing guard
Student patrols
Meetings in session
Support staff at a race or fundraiser
Garbage cans
Cashiers and bag boys
Employees restocking shelves
Pizza delivery guy
A board room
A help desk
Custodian staff
Research partners in a library
Police at a crime scene
A movie shoot
TV station/set
Radio shows
Compost heap or bin
Relay race
Moving company

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Teamwork . Some are more powerful than others. Fire, ambulance and police crews working together at the scene of the accident is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, beavers building a dam may not foreshadow teamwork on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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Karen Lange said...

We really do have the world at our fingertips as inspiration to write, don't we? Thanks for sharing this.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I find this post fascinating, Angela. I would never have thought of teamwork this way - brilliant! :-)

C.R. Evers said...

cute picture, and another great list! You go! :0)

Danyelle said...

Very nice! This is something I hadn't thought of before. :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Yay for teamwork!!

I'm writing a whole book around the subject right now. :)

Conda V. Douglas said...

Useful, useful post, thanks!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

I really enjoyed the nature examples. I also do leadership consulting work so I am always looking for teamwork examples. THanks!


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