He could have made his audience feel something with his writing, but English class had taught him that writing isn’t meant to be felt: it’s meant to be studied. … More On Symbolism, Part 5: The Dangers of English Class Symbolism
So from that quick class analysis, we learned that… Shakespeare was Christian. Seriously, we did not go any farther on this topic other than to say that the handkerchief symbolized the Garden of Eden. That’s it. Nothing more. No questioning the human subliminal or why it’s the “forbidden fruit” and not the “forbidden meat.” We identified the alleged symbol (since it’s Shakespeare, I give it 50/50 chance of being intentional), and then we moved on to look for the next. … More On Symbolism, Part 4: Digging Deeper
One of the biggest downsides to how symbolism is taught in English class is that it gives students the wrong idea of what symbolism is. By graduation, students are split into two camps: one camp where all symbolism is a myth made up by academics and another camp where the blue-curtain brand of symbolism is sacred.
Symbolism is a real thing, but its name has been so warped by public English classrooms that I’m more tempted to call it something like “associative meaning,” “connotation,” or “object emotion.” But the most basic definition of a symbol is something that has meaning beyond what it is in a literal sense. The key here is that the meaning has to be understood in order to be an effective symbol, even if that understanding is subconscious.
In other words: people don’t need to be taught how to find symbolism. If it’s an effective symbol, then the intended audience should register on some level that the symbol is important. Symbolism analysis, then, should focus on articulating the feelings that one already experiences when coming across a symbol, not digging to find made-up symbols. … More On Symbolism, Part 2: What is a Symbol?
In early middle school, we began annotating for metaphors, imagery, similes, and character development in our books. Once we’d reached the 8th grade, it was time to stop identifying the elements of a story and start identifying symbolism. We began by picking apart The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Did you know that Santiago was a Christ figure? Or that the fish was also a Christ figure? No, you never noticed that? There’s a reason for that: that religious symbolism likely isn’t really there. At best, most of the symbols we analyzed for the next five years were analogous to conspiracy theories. At worst, they were completely imaginary.
I remember complaining to my parents about how much I hated the The Old Man and the Sea, and they were shocked. They’d loved it! They asked me what I didn’t like about it, and I told them simply, “The religious symbolism. It’s too pedantic.”
They looked at me with utter confusion. “I don’t remember any religious symbolism. That doesn’t sound like Hemingway.” … More On Symbolism, Part I: What I Learned in English Class
In my view, whether or not someone likes this game is entirely dependent on how they view Chloe Price by the end of it. Chloe has a strong personality, which will polarize people: either they will be fond of her at the end, or hate her at the end, with hardly any in between. This makes the game fuck up people who learn to love her (like me). I do want to mention, however, that I hated Chloe at first. More on that in the spoilers section… … More Life is Strange by Dontnod Entertainment (2015)
I’m not sure whether to call this “Girl Power: the Novel” or “PTSD: the Novel.”
The Alice Network is a historical fiction novel telling the combined stories of Charlie Sinclair and Evelyn Gardener, who both lost a close, spirited friend to the cruelties of the two world wars. They team up in search of Charlie’s missing cousin, Rose, and in the end discover that their experiences were quite similar, embrace independence, and finally hunt down the person who wronged them both.
Now, I don’t think you should read this book. … More The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (2017)
The Academy Award winning thriller written and directed by Jordan Peele (from Key & Peele). Did it deserve to win best original screenplay? Heck yes. Should you see it? Maybe. Entertainment: 4/5 Intellect: 3/5 +1 for originality/genre-breaking Overall: 8/10 4 STARS It will be difficult to go into the film’s rankings without some spoilers, but … More Get Out by Jordan Peele (2017)
A film that approximately 1 in 7 Japanese citizens has seen, Your Name is the single highest grossing anime film of all time. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely. Entertainment: 5/5 Intellect: 3/5 +1 for originality/genre-breaking Overall: 9/10 5 STARS Now, Your Name relies heavily on plot twists. So I’ll be lumping all my spoilers into one little … More Your Name by Makoto Shinkai (2016)
Originally published 8/20/2016. Minor grammatical edits. Lead image via Pexels. Scifi Question: “Would we be at the mercy of any aliens advanced enough to travel to earth? Could aliens invade successfully?” I know most of my insomnia posts aren’t about random science fiction questions, but I would just like to set the record straight on … More 6 Real Problems with an Alien Invasion
Originally posted 1/3/2016. Lead images from Amazon. 5 STARS and 3 STARS (respectively) So the full titles of the books are: Epigenetics: How the Environment Shapes Our Genes by a professor named Richard Francis and Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life by Len Fisher. These are both non-fiction books, so I won’t exactly be focusing … More Epigenetics (2012) and Game Theory (2008)