The book How to Read Literature Like a Professor teaches you many common symbols in literature. In this blog post, I will cover what symbols are and in what ways they can be used.
Symbols in literature is a way the author of a book can add a deeper meaning to their works. Instead of taking everything at face value, some things could have a second deeper meaning that conveys a person, an idea, another book. A symbol could mean almost anything. Some symbols have many different interpretations while others have few. In literature, the same few, common symbols are used all the time. This is because they are familiar to readers because they have been used so many times before.
Sometimes writers use make up their own symbols. It is then the reader’s job to figure out what the writer means with the symbol. This can be done using previous experiences with the symbol and asking questions about the symbol.
But not everything is a symbol. Sometimes something should just be taken at face value. Sometimes it’s easy to differentiate which are symbols and which aren’t, but sometimes it’s difficult. Even though it might be fairly certain that something is a symbol, the only person who knows the real answer is the book’s author.
The best symbol of all is irony. In essence, irony is a commonly used symbol that is flipped on its head. What irony does is that it takes the reader’s expectations for that symbol and does the opposite of what the reader expects the symbol to mean.
This is blog post is just a brief overview of what symbols are and how they are used. If you want to know some more about the symbols that are commonly used in literature, then you can get the book here: How to Read Literature Like a Professor