POTW: Symbolism

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Diana, Jul 21, 2013.


Do you use symbolism in your character or plot design?

  1. Yes, I symbolize the hell out of everything!

  2. Yes, but in subtle amounts.

  3. Yes, but rarely.

  4. No, symbolism is dumb!

  5. No, I never think about it, so if I do it's by accident!


  7. herpaderpa! *Draws symbols all over Rory*

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. One of the random topics of discussion that came up this week in the Siderhouse was about the use of symbolism in roleplays! Some of our high profile Game Masters love slipping in symbolism, where an object, a color, or theme seems to stand for something else. Most of the Iwaku Mythos roleplays are rife with different kinds of symbolism, the most obvious being the correlation between life & stories.

    So here is our poll topic this week! 8D

    Do YOU use symbolism in your character design, roleplay plots, or stories? What are some of your favorite examples of symbolism?

    And if you're looking for a little bit of exercising, Zen has this great exercise on using Symbolism!
  2. Since roleplaying allows for an outlet to cite/quote/reference an endless amount of material without fear of backlash, I jam as much in as I can. Nearly every single post I write has references added in. I do this not only for my own vain satisfaction, but in the secret hope that someone will identify my references.

    foreveralone.jpg #no regrets
    #2 Tegan, Jul 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  3. I love using symbolism. It's such versatile shorthand and I often use it to foreshadow too. Names in particular are my thing.
  4. To quote: "It's just an object. It doesn't mean what you think."
    —River Tam, Firefly

    I'm not really a fan of 'symbolism' in terms of written works. Symbolism when the movement was founded in the mid-1800s was largely a reaction against naturalism and realism. Back in the day it was an artistic movement in favour of spirituality, the imagination, and dreams. It works better when looking at artwork, where it is more abstract.

    However since the 1950s, almost every little thing in a written work can be made into some kind of 'deeper meaning' that only hipsters or beatniks seem to like.

    I reject the concept largely because in all my creative writing stories people were more focused on trying to find "hidden messages" versus enjoying or telling a good story. I do not deny that readers have the right to find analogies between a work of literature and other aspects of the universe. I also do not deny that trying to find as many plausible analogies between a given text and other aspects of the universe not directly cited in the text can be an amusing parlor game.

    I prefer the concept of allegories. An Allegory is used to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, that have both literal and figurative meanings. The difference between an allegory and a symbol is that an allegory is a complete narrative that conveys abstract ideas to get a point across, while a symbol is a representation of an idea or concept that can have a different meaning throughout a literary work.
    #4 Blind Hemingway, Jul 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
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  5. I really don't use symbolism that much mostly because I was slapped so hard by it when I was in high school. I caught most of the symbols in the books we read, but everyone in class, including me were getting tired of hunting for them instead of enjoying the book and story itself. I was also getting annoyed at the constant references to the Bible. No offense to the religion or the book but I always kept thinking, "Why aren't we reading books from other cultures and nationalities? Why can't we learn about their symbols?" It always bothered me and still does.