Define Symbolism


Defining literary terms is always easier using pop culture examples. THe problem is that sometimes students have trouble focussing on the actual example, and get caught up in the fact that it’s a reference to Harry Potter. On second thought, perhaps it isn’t easier, but I perceive it as so because I’d love any shortcut.

↓ Transcript
MEGAN: Professor, why does it always rain in stories?
HOBO: It's often symbolic of cleansing or purification of a character.

BILLY: Like in Sorority House Slumber Party 4 when they all take a shower together?
HOBO: No, that's titillation, and not symbolism.

AMANDA: So it's more like in Bridesmaids when they all get food poisoning and probably took long showers afterwards?
HOBO: No, that's scatological, and not symbolism.

TREY: More like in a Friday the 13th film when Jason is hacking everyone up and they keep slipping in the mud trying to get away?
HOBO: No, that's trite, and not symbolism.

JABEZ: Then we give up. Give us another example.
HOBO: Well, for instance, this window might be a symbol. Windows often symbolize freedom, or lack thereof.

RICK: Freedom from what?
VICTORIA: We don't understand!


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