Post and Artwork by Sylvia Nica, Age 14, USA
Symbols. They may bring back memories of boring literature lectures, but they can be a great way to add meaning and depth to your writing.
Like clues scattered around you writing, symbols can hint to your reader the meaning of an event or alter the mood of your story. In Jane Eyre, when Mr. Rochester exclaimed his love for Jane, a tree nearby was “struck by lightning…and half of it had split away.” This was an exciting way the author symbolized the troubles that would come with their love. Symbols are even greatly present in TV shows; why do you think it’s always stormy and dark when a person dies?
So, let’s take a closer look at some of these weather symbols:
Rain. Stands for cleansing, renewing, or gloom. If a character was forgiven or is entering a new phase in their life, rain can be a perfect way to show this new beginning. Or maybe someone just died, and you want to emphasize the sadness.
Fog. Stands for confusion gloom, and suspicion. Say your character is lost in the woods, or is being whirled around in a state of puzzling events. Fog can be a great way to symbolize their confusion or puzzlement.
Rainbow. Stands for peace, hope, or divine intervention. Maybe a battle was just fought in your story. If so, rainbows can emphasize the new era of peace and hope of a better future.
While there are other weather symbols you can use in your writing, such as sun and snow, the ones above are common symbols many people will recognize.
So how do you add these weather symbols into your writing?
One way of incorporating these devices is to use a weather symbol to represent a certain event. An example of this is in The Chronicles of Narnia. When the children first stepped into Narnia, when it was still ruled by the witch, C.S. Lewis made it so that it was always snowing. And since snow can be a symbol of gloom or death, this was an effective way to show how evil the witch’s reign was. You could also use weather in a metaphorical sense, or use it to foreshadow an important event or happening, as what happened in Jane Eyre.
You want to be careful that you don’t get too heavy with symbolism, or else your story will feel muddled and heavy. And sometimes a reader may interpret something in your writing that you didn’t even mean to be a symbol. But by adding these examples and weaving them into your plot, symbols can help enrich your story and add meaning for the reader. It is through symbols that we can add depth to our writing, and leave our reader something to think about.
Sylvia is a writer who “draws inspiration from the world around her.”