Symbolism Imagery And Storytelling English Literature Essay
Rather than stating the true meaning of their works, poets generally use symbolism to detail the story. Symbols are used often to portray a literal meaning. Symbols can be people, objects, or even places. Examples of a poem and two short stories that use symbolism; each written by a different poet to which I will compare, "I Stop Writing the Poem," aÂ poemÂ by Tess Gallagher, "The Lesson", a short story by Toni Cade Bambara and "The Story of an Hour," aÂ short storyÂ by Kate Chopin. Each literary work has an element of symbolism, as the method used for storytelling.
"The Lesson," by Toni Cade Bambara, considered a wonderful work of fiction due to its use of theme, and symbolism. The key elements of symbolism and theme provide depth while enhancing the reader’s understanding. "The Lesson" shows one woman’s attempt to show a group of poor black kids the inequalities between the community they live, in comparison to how kids live in other communities.
The main character Sylvia, who in first person narrates the story; a young African American girl, based on her comment "we kinda hated her too, hated the way we did the winos who cluttered up our parks and pissed on our hand ball walls" (Bambara), judgmental about the world around her. Sylvia uses her experience at the toy store to become more self-aware, she learns a lot about herself, never letting on to Miss Moore or the other kids; she instead keeps it in to propel herself.Â The title, "The Lesson" is just one example of the various symbols used within this story.
Miss. Moore, a college educated teacher that lives in their neighborhood, has made it her responsibility to teach the children by teaching them real world experiences, takes them on a trip to F.A.O. Schwarz, with the purpose of teaching the children the lesson of money and how it is valued in different communities. Throughout the trip, Miss. Moore constantly talks to the kids about money. "And Miss Moore asking us do we know what money is, like we bunch of retards" (Bambara), Miss Moore is actually trying to teach the kids a lesson.
The kids are shocked to see the cost of the toys. To them, $400 is unfathomable, Sylvia, astonished by the price, cannot understand why someone would pay that much when "my sailboat cost me about fifty cents" (Bambara). Miss Moore’s lesson is to teach the children how some people spend money showing the social and economic inequality faced by the children.
Symbolism can also be found in the description Bambara uses to describe Miss. Moore, her name; Miss. Moore, college educated, independent woman, and no mention of a boyfriend or husband. Her last name is a symbol, Moore; she wants more from the kids in the community she feels that they deserve more. Her hope is to help the children envision a world outside of the impoverished community in which they live. The Catholic Church and F.A.O. Schwartz represent the life of extravagance experienced by the wealthy, a life to which they were not blessed. The sailboat is used a symbol of freedom and the journey that lies ahead.
In the short story "The Story of an Hour," by Kate Chopin it’s centered on a young married woman, Louise Mallard’s, reaction to the news of her husband’s death in a train accident. Chopin’s use of symbolism throughout theÂ storyÂ helps showÂ the degree of the emotional journey Mrs. Mallard experiences the hour after hearing of her husband’s death; and herÂ husband walking through the door.
The first line informs us that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble "(Chopin). The heart traditionally symbolizes the emotional core. Mrs. Mallard’s heart problems symbolize her emotional problems within her marriage. The heartÂ of the family, marriage is the essential foundation of the family. Mrs. Mallard could represent women of her time period who were unable to find happiness in marriage because their freedoms within marriage are restricted.
Mrs. Mallard described as young and having "a fair, calm face" symbolizes beauty and innocence like a child. Her husband, Brently Mallard, repressed his wife, now through his seemingly tragic death she will now be free of his rule and able to live a life of happiness a life she didn’t have with him when she explains "And yet she had loved him-sometimes. Often she had not." (Chopin) and in the statement "There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence" (Chopin).
There are several other symbols within this story. The armchair described as "comfortable" and "roomy.", in which Mrs. Mallard sits after secluding herself in her room after hearing of her husbands’ death. The chairs’ location is a symbol, it is facing an open window, symbolizing open to change, the window is open meaning it’s warm outside this could suggest life, where the cold of winter symbolizes death. "Comfortable,"" roomy," and "sank" symbolize a feeling of being embraced; a feeling of love and warmth.Â
` Through the open window Mrs. Mallard sees the tops of trees that "were all quiver with the new spring life" (Chopin) symbolizing new life to come. There were also "patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window"(Chopin). Light was breaking through what had been cover. Mrs. Mallard had previously longed for her life to end, feeling there would be nothing but restrictions. Now the end seems full of hope. Chopin is using the death of Mrs. Mallards’ husband and the new joyous life she can have now that she is free of her husband.
"I Stop Writing the Poem" by Tess Gallagher, a poem where the use of tone and symbolism through the use of one object, a shirt, as it tells the story of a woman who mourns the death of her husband. "To fold the clothes. No matter who lives or who dies, I’m still a woman. I’ll always have plenty to do. I bring the arms of his shirt together. Nothing can stop our tenderness. I’ll get back to the poem. I’ll get back to being a woman. But for now there’s a shirt, a giant shirt in my hands, and somewhere a small girl standing next to her mother watching to see how it’s done."
Her husband has died and she has to go on with her life. Folding the clothes is a symbol for living, doing the everyday mundane things. "No matter who lives or who dies, I’m still a woman." The loss of a husband, a child or a mother, of if they are all living, she still has to do the laundry, and take care of the family. Bringing the arms of his shirt together is a symbol of embracing her husband. This can be affirmed in the next line "nothing can stop our tenderness." The giant shirt in her hands is a symbol of the life she must now live without her husband, having to take care of the family on her own.
"Somewhere there is a small girl standing next to her mother watching to see how it’s done" this is a symbol of other women, her daughters, her nieces, friends that will see her strong and handling her life and family as she always has. This will teach other women and girls to be strong even in sadness, you are still a woman and we must carry on; there will be time to write the poem she writes to her husband.
In summaryÂ Â "I Stop Writing the Poem," aÂ poemÂ by Tess Gallagher, "The Lesson", a short story by Toni Cade Bambara and "The Story of an Hour," aÂ short storyÂ by Kate Chopin each literary works having been written by three different poets, each have a similar element of symbolism, as the method used for storytelling. Some utilize many forms of symbolism to provide the reader with detail and meaning as they read the literary pieces; providing depth and enhancing the readers imagination as they visualize and interpret the piece.