Symbolism Entry: Knowledge

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:
An owl
A serpent
The human brain
Neurons firing

In Society:
A library
A book
A teacher/professor/tutor
Ink and paper
An alphabet
Words on a page
A diploma
Graduation cap
An exam
Albert Einstein
The Sciences
Greek philosophers
A match being lit
A light bulb coming on
A journey that never ends

SEE ALSO: A Quest For Knowledge (we loved knowledge so much we did it twice!)

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with knowledge. Some are more powerful than others. A library is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a diploma could stand for a number of different things and not foreshadow knowledge on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.


Charmaine Clancy said...

Interesting post. After watching episodes of 'Chuck', I've come to see gaming addicts as associated with smart nerds (as a high-school teacher I don't often see the connection in real life).

Matthew MacNish said...

I would never have thought of a match being lit, but that totally works!

Bish Denham said...

And then there's Athena...

Holly Ruggiero said...

An apple might work too, maybe? Apple for the teacher and all. What do you think?

Heather said...

There are some excellent ideas on knowledge in here, and just when I needed it! Thank you!

SP Sipal said...

Love your post and the brainstorming you're doing for symbolism. I like the lit match idea as well. Could add maybe a science lab or that type of equipment, like a beaker.

Susanne Drazic said...

- valdictorian?
- graduation cap?
- awards?
- spelling bee ribbon?

I'd never thought of a lit match being a symbol for knowledge. Interesting.

tracikenworth said...

Foreshadowing is a great device!!

Becca Puglisi said...

Thank you all so much for your additions!