Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Hope

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:

Sun coming out behind a cloud
The warmth of sunshine
Rain on a dry landscape
The smell of rain or moisture in the air
New growth
Sighting seagulls at sea
Sighting land at sea
Babies/offspring in the animal kingdom
Yellow daffodils
Snowdrop flower
New Moon (Hunter's Moon)
The horizon

In Society:

Pink cancer ribbon
Random acts of kindness
Open doors
Schools, youth centers
Light bulbs/light sources
Statue of Liberty
Soup Kitchens
Pandora's Box
Church and cross
Experimental treatments/drug trials
Advances in science
The comforting arms of a loves one
Second chances
New beginnings (new job, new school, new look)
Moving into a new house or neighborhood

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Hope. Some are more powerful than others. Being given a vaccine for an illness or finding out one is a candidate for a new treatment is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, an open door may not foreshadow hope on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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Christina Lee said...

You always get me thinking!! Good Stuff!

Paul C said...

This is a very good list. For society I also suggest:
artistic graffiti, street name, architectural style, decour ...Enjoying your posts.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, I love this one, Angela. Hope is a GREAT topic. And daffodils are one of my favorite things on earth! :-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Thanks, Angela. What perfect timing!

KLM said...

This has nothing whatever to do with your above post. I just wanted to say -- after reading your comment on my blog -- holy freaking cow. I just simply cannot imagine going through that. And I don't think I could write about it either. Ever.

MissV said...

Nice list! I like these posts. Keeps me thinking!

Julie Musil said...

I feel hopeful just reading this post! Thanks, once again.

Karen Lange said...

Love this one! Hope is such an important and necessary thing.
Have a great weekend,

Julie Musil said...

Angela, a shout out to you on my blog!

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks, everyone. I hope this one is helpful, because I feel that all novels should always offer some hope as part of their make up. Without hope the reader's involvement and connection to the character's plight will never go as deep as it can, and ultimately hamper the novel's success.

Rainbows [even small ones] are what keeps the reader reading, because it keeps the character fighting, right? :)

Julie, thanks so much for the shout out! I really appreciate it when people spread the word about The Bookshelf Muse! You guys are all great about doing this too, and I can't thank you enough!

Have a great weekend!

Danyelle said...

You rock, Angela! I love all the examples you give--things I never would have thought of. Hope is one of my favorite things. :D

Jackee said...

I love these lists! They conjure up so many emotions in me and my brain starts racing thinking of places I could use them.

Thanks for sharing! It's a great reference (and point).


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