In Figurative Language

Symbolism is the practice using an object, image or a word to represent an abstract idea.  Symbolism is used not only in the English language, but also in art, theater, dance and other forms of cultural expression. Symbols are signs which are widely or even universally accepted to represent something else, for example, in Western culture black is used to represent death or evil.

the use of symbols to express or represent ideas or qualities in literature, art, etc.
“The story was filled with religious symbolism.”
the particular idea or quality that is expressed by a symbol.
“What is the symbolism of the lion in the picture?” [=what does the lion symbolize in the picture?]”
– Merriam Webster – definition of symbolism

“Chocolate symbolizes, as does no other food, luxury, comfort, sensuality, gratification, and love.”
― Karl Petzke

An action, person, place, word, or object can all have a symbolic meaning. This enables the writer to strike a more nuanced tone rather than spell out the meaning.  Symbolism enables the writer to employ his unique literary skills and imagination to convey meaning and feelings, atmosphere with a greater effect.

examples of symbolism

Symbols are signs which are universally accepted to represent something else, for example, colors are often used as symbols:
Black is associated symbolically with death or evil.
White represents innocence or purity.
Red heralds danger

We use symbolism in everyday language.
He is a rock. A rock symbolizes strength.  He is strong

We also use symbolism in signs
The peace sign – means peace not war
Yin and yang  – balance
Smiley face  – happy
A heart – love

Symbolism is often used by artists to make the meaning of their work more interesting through the employment of this device makes the work more interesting, challenging and altogether richer to the reader.  And that’s what any avid reader loves!

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