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Essay on Symbolism in Ethan From and House of The Spirits

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Symbolism is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as a representation of a concept through symbols or underlying meanings of objects or qualities, sometimes abstract, other times more literal. Often times in literature an author or poet employs the concept and use of symbolism where one object is used to refer to something else in order to create an emphasis or convey a point without slamming it in the face of the reader. It’s a person’s individual perception or system of belief that brings them to the true meaning of a specific symbol as it applies to their lives. Sometimes an entire piece of work is an extended metaphor for an idea the author is trying to convey such as in Animal Farm. However, the importance of this literary device is undisputed, in any work. Writers insert symbols into their writing to allude to a feeling, mood, attitude or ideology, without directly stating the perspective or mood intended. The authors of Ethan Frome and The House of Spirits use symbolism to convey both emotions such as anxiety and foreboding, and other things such as the ideas of what a woman should be, morality, and representations of revolutionary ideology.
In Ethan Frome, the speaker Ethan himself is presented as sort of a tragic hero who lives with a love he will never have. His life is surrounded by a grayness that he is powerless to change because of his obligations, first to his parents, then his wife, then to Mattie. The entire story is about a man who never chased his dreams or indulged in his passions for once, nothing in his life goes the way it ought to. Everything in Ethan’s life from the weather, to the people around him, to Ethan's personal responsibilities and his astounding lack of drive keeps him from realizing his dreams. Ho...


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...es that linked the living quarters so that people could communicate during the siesta." (Allende 53) These changes are made according to Clara's inspiration and the instructions she receives from the spiritual world. And while these changes may often sound chaotic, they create a world of peace and "complete freedom" for the female characters in the novel.
Both Isabel Allende and Edith Wharton use symbolism to convey subtle ideas about the mentality of the main characters and also the issues that greatly affect them. Without the use of symbolism, much of the meaning would be completely lost to the reader. In both of these novels, the author’s use of symbolism added a new dimension to the thought process as the reader continues these novels. The motifs of rebirth, of death, and of repression were expressed through the symbolic acts of the characters in both novels.



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