Introduction: Symbolism/Allusion/Archetypes: What Are They?

This is an instructable about three of the many terms you will often face in your English classes.

Step 1: Where Can I Find Definitions and Examples?

If you are ever confused about their meanings you can always search for their definitions on the web or in a dictionary or an encyclopedia. I often search for a teachers presentation on the subject on the web because they don't just define them, but the also provide many examples.

Step 2: Symbolism?

A symbol is something that represents ideas or qualities. That means that an author uses may use an object, but it can carry a different literal meaning. This new meaning carries a deeper and more significant.

For example:

Example #1 - Winter often stands for death and fall stands for near death.

Example #2 - In "The Joy Luck Club" the club didn't just represent a club where the mother's can relax and enjoy each others company it represented a new hope for them.

Example #3 - Red isn't just a color it also stands for love and romance.

Symbolism allows the writer to more meaning to their story and it gives theme to their story.


Literary Devices

Step 3: Allusion?

An allusion is an indirect reference to a person, place, or thing. It doesn't go into detail about the object it's just a comment by the writer, thinking that we would catch it and fully understand it already.

For example:

Example #1: "Don't be such a chicken!"

Example #2: "They were the Romeo and Juliet couple."

Example #3: "He is such a girl!"

Allusions serve as a way for writers to simplify their complex ideas and emotions. The readers can understand the writers emotions and ideas more clearly than if the writer had gone more into detail.


Literary Devices

Step 4: Archetypes?

Archetypes often represents the typical character, situation or an action that has a universal pattern of human nature. It was also known as a universal theme, setting and symbol.

For example:

Example #1: The Hero - A character who struggles against the forces of evil.

Example #2: The Mother Figure - A character that guides and directs a child, gives spiritual and emotional nourishment.

Example #3: The Scapegoat - A character who takes the blame for everything bad that had happened.

An archetype gives a literary work a universal acceptance as we recognize the characters and situations in real life. Writers attempt to convey realism in their work by connecting it to real life situations.


Literary Devices

Step 5: Remember

It's best if you memorize the definitions to these literary devices and take note of the examples. I hope that this was helpful and useful to anyone who reads this. I wish you the best of luck in your studies.