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On Writing > Famous Novelists on Symbolism in Their Work and Whether It Was Intentional

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message 1: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod

Katie posted this today and I thought it was very interesting. Who didn't want to get answers like these from authors when your English teacher was grilling you on supposed symbolism in classic texts?

I'm curious how the authors in this group would answer these same questions.

message 2: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
Wow. I guess no one has anything to say about this.

message 3: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 12 comments Very interesting, thank you Kerry!

I really like this response: Joseph Heller: “This happens often, and in every case there is good reason for the inference; in many cases, I have been able to learn something about my own book, for readers have seen much in the book that is there, although I was not aware of it being there.”

I find it interesting how some of the consciously do, and some don't; but even more so how a lot of them admit to it being a subconscious process.

message 4: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
I would definitely think that is the norm. My guess would be writers who set out specifically to add symbolism to their work probably write crappy books. The subtlety would be missing. No one wants to be hit over the head with symbolism.

message 5: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 12 comments Well... I guess we all tend to read patterns into things and see symbols--ever lie on your back and look up at the clouds and see shapes in them?

So, maybe the ones that said yes, are simply better at recognizing the fact that there is symbolism in most good works of art.

I agree with you about not wanting to be hit over the head with anything in fiction actually--not symbolism or moralizing or the author's own agenda-- but I guess that is what makes some authors better than others--not the fact that they use symbolism, but how they use it.

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