Symbolism Essay

How to Write a Symbolism Essay that gets you a Scholarship

Symbolism is a very important literary device that can be observed in lots of renowned pieces of literature. Symbolism is essentially the creative art of representing a figure, an idea, a person or a viewpoint. Symbolism essays are generally assigned to students of literature at the graduate or under graduate level in order for them to comprehend the nuances of this subtle device that makes a piece of writing more beautiful and poetic. You may be either asked to write a symbolism essay on a particular poem or book or a general one on a material of your choice. In the latter case, you can research essay topics online first.

The following tips can help you create flawless symbolism essays:

Picking out the base material

If you are called upon to write a general symbolism essay, you need to first assemble some literature that you are going to be elucidating and examining for its inherent symbolism. While doing so, you need to make sure that the text you choose richly contains symbols and not a scarce scattering of them. They should be present at various points throughout the narrative in a consistent manner. Some of the writers that are known to be adept at symbolism are James Joyce, Virginia Woolfe, Charles Dickens, etc.

Evaluation of symbols

The first step while writing such an essay on a particularly assigned book or on several books is to determine the words and expressions that showcase symbolism. For this, you need to be aware of exactly what symbolism is. A direct reference and ready explanation of a certain idea or viewpoint does not qualify as symbolism. It is rather a complicated instrument that enables the reader to arrive at their own interpretation that may or may not be exactly what the writer wanted to convey but is still more or less the same.

Reason for usage

The most important step in the evaluation and interpretation of symbols is comprehending the reason for the author to employ the symbols that he/she has applied in their writing. If there is no concrete and justifiable reason for the author to use symbolism at any point in the narrative or poetry, it may well be the case that you are reading too much into the words used and the author does not intend them to be an example of symbolism at all.


The last step while evaluating a text for symbolism is to interpret the symbols and connotations used. Doing this requires a certain amount of imagination as well as creative thinking. If you are too rigid in your thought process, you may not be able to do this. So, it is vital to keep an open mind and think of all possible meanings that may be attached to the use of a particular word. This step blurs the lines between symbolism and an analytical essays to a certain extent.
Before actually beginning the task of writing such an essay, it is imperative that all students spend some time understanding the ways in which symbols have formed an important part of culture and conduct a thorough historical analysis on the subject. This will make them well-informed and help them write an intellectually stimulating and high quality essay. If you have doubts about the number of words that are ideal for this kind of an essay, you can read up on the prescribed essay length that is appropriate for essays on different topics.