In Foster’s Chapter, Is That a Symbol?, he implies that symbols are used through literature and are frequently used in several pieces of literature. Symbols are used everywhere and typically can have multiple meanings or a more complex concept to grasp. Being able to identify a symbol is the simple part but being able to find its deeper meaning in a piece of literature is the more complex part.
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Foster also says that allegories can be mistaken as symbols; symbols could have several different meanings. Symbols can mean something different to everyone depending on their walk in life and depending on the different pieces of literature they have read using that specific symbol. According to
Foster, in order to analyze symbols throughout literature, they have to use questions, experience, and preexisting knowledge. Symbols are not only limited to objects but they can even be events and actions. Symbols are not always going to be easy to comprehend but one must find a way to use context clues and connect the themes in a piece of literature to further understand a symbol. In Frankenstein, one of the most common symbols is lightning. In the beginning, main character, Victor Frankenstein witnessed a tree being struck by lightning. Victor states that, I never behold anything so utterly destroyed (Shelley 26).
With this being said, it shows a lot of irony because the lightning blasted the tree’s life, but it is also used to show how the lightning striked the monster to life. So ultimately, the lightning eliminated life but also sparked up a new one in the process.
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