Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Purity

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:

Swans
Sunrise
A full moon
A crystal clear sky
Mountain-fed streams
A white rabbit
Snow
Unaltered soil (by pollution or chemicals)
New green shoots
Tree blossoms
White roses
Daisy
Lotus
Doves
Unicorns (in fantasy)
Lambs
Pearls
Diamonds
White lily
Dew
Rain

In Society:

Virgins
The church
The soul or spirit
The act of cleansing (bathing, showering, steam bath)
White underclothes (bra, panties)
Holy water
Monasteries or convents
Clean white linens
White wedding dress
Newborns
Light
A chaste kiss on the cheek
Blushing with eyes downcast
Pale skin
Wedding bands
A lack of make up, tattoos, piercings
A purity ring
Abstinence
A smiling child
Cherubs
A child's laughter
The color white
Celibacy
Baptism
Milk

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Purity. Some are more powerful than others. A flock of white doves is a strong symbol and likely will not require reinforcement. However, the clear, joyful ring of a child's laughter may not foreshadow purity on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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5 comments:

Danyelle said...

Awesome! I hadn't thought about some of these, like pearls for instance, but now that you mention them, they make a lot of sense. :D Great entry!

Paul C said...

As buds are bursting all around, this is a timely post. I am reminded of Dylan Thomas' 'Fern Hill' in which he uses the colours green and white for purity and innocence as well as several other images you have listed.

Karen Lange said...

Love this! Thanks, as always, for sharing these goodies.
Have a good weekend,
Karen

Bish Denham said...

Star light...I think star light could fit on this list. Which is beautiful by the way. It's odd how a list of words can evote a mood.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Dew--excellent as are the others. You came up with "purity in the round" with this post!

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