Sadie J. Testa-Secca and Anna Moye
There are many things authors tend to include in their writing: descriptive language, developed characters, and theme. But there is another thing that can take a piece of writing from good to fantastic: symbolism! Symbolism can add many layers to a story, and help develop the theme of a work.
The first, and most convenient form of symbolism is weather. Different weather events represent different things. For example, sunny weather symbolizes happiness, clarity and rebirth. Snow represents concealment and death. Rain symbolizes depression, despair, rebirth and cleansing. Fog represents confusion. These can be very easy to added to a scene to add depth to your pieces and develop the themes you are trying to achieve.
In a similar vein to weather, seasons are symbols, too. Spring represents growth and (re)birth (which can sometimes be cliché), summer shows maturity and adventure, autumn symbolizes decline and decay, and winter symbolizes death and dormancy. However, when looking at the seasons via holidays, the Christmas season represents positive change and rebirth, the Easter season symbolizes enlightenment and, of course, rebirth, and the Thanksgiving seasons represents gratefulness, plenty, and the last big celebration before winter. Either way, the season in which your piece is set can add symbolism to the meaning of your work.
Besides weather and season, colors can also have symbolic meaning. They can be slipped into descriptions, adding more to the piece than meets the eye. As a symbol, color can be used in many ways. A hue with meaning could used for your character’s: hair, nail polish, shoes, accessories/jewelry, car, furniture, etc. It can also be used to enhance your setting through the color of: buildings, lighting, plants, rocks, etc. This is only one of the ways you can add symbolism to your piece.
Finally, the use of animals is a good way to add figurative representation to your work. Many animals have different associations; a lion can symbolize strength, courage, and royalty, a lamb can represent sacrifice, childhood and innocence, and a snake can show royalty, evil and deceit.
Clearly, just a few minor additions to your piece can take it to a whole new level, thanks to symbolism!