Symbolism may play a major role in accurately interpreting a story or poem. In Ernest Hemingway’s story The Cat in the Rain (pages 55-58) the author uses a helpless little kitten to symbolize the young girl in the story. Kate Chopin uses a fierce rain storm to stand for passion in her story The Storm. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s disturbing and yet conveying essay entitled The Yellow Wallpaper, she selects a gaudy yellow patterned wallpaper to some how come to represent a woman. All of these elements play a major role in bringing across the ideas the author is trying to relate to the reader.
In the story The Cat in the Rain Hemingway describes a young, American woman stuck in Italy with her uncaring, older husband. He then goes on to add a kitten to the story that he describes as young, wet and most of all, stuck in the rain. The way he selects his words and uses to describe the two objects could almost be interchangeable. He uses words such as kitty (page 56) to describe the youth of the cat and young to describe the woman. He also pronounces them both as lonely. The young woman it is being forced to stay in a country where she knows no one and is being oppressed by her husband, who wants nothing more for her to do than to stand there, always looks innocent, and keep her thoughts to herself. As for the kitten, it is forced to stay out in the cold rain and continue to get soaked because it has no shelter to run to in order to find safety. In the story the woman sees herself in the kitten and that is why she makes such a big deal about getting it for her own. I think this is also Hemingway’s of leaving drops of evidence for the reader to pick up on the symbolism that he sees important to the story.
Goodman Brown stood there bewildered, as to what these holy men were doing in between the forest, where there was no church or place of worship. He began thinking of Faith, his wife, as deacon Gookin mentioned about a goodly young woman who was to attend the communion. He wondered if Faith would ever do such a thing as attend a communion of the evil. As he thought, the forest broke into all sorts ...
Kate Chopin goes about presenting symbolism in her story The Storm in a different manner than Hemingway. Instead of focusing on live objects in her writing she chooses to use a feeling such as passion and represent it through a furious rain storm. Calixta and Alycee who were former lovers but were forced apart due to financial circumstances are rejoined during the storm. It appears that during the time span of the rain that all time elsewhere on earth ceased. During the storm the two people free themselves from the rest of reality and give into the passion that once existed. An example of this is found on page 79 when she states “They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms. After the storm has passed and their desires are fulfilled they both go back to there normal lives as though nothing has ever happened. Chopin presents a correlation between these two elements based on their related definitions. Both a rain storm and a storm of passion can be something that creeps up suddenly and unnoticed, hits hard, and when it’s gone it’s forgotten until the next time it happens.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a story that is unlike either of the two previous ones. Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses her writing ability to compare a human being to a lifeless object in the literary work. In the essay the woman is forced to spend her days in an isolated bedroom where all she is able to do is stare at hideous yellow wallpaper. The longer she stares at it the more it affects her mind. As the days go by she starts to see more and more objects in the paper. This is presented on page 339 where she mentions how there is a faint figure behind the wallpaper that seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out. Eventually it gets to the point where she sees a woman in the pattern. The conclusion of the story is that it is she herself that is actually the woman in the wallpaper. This symbolizes how two completely different objects can still be related.
The Novel: The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men against the Sea by Sebastian Junger I enjoyed this book because it was based on a real story about a brave crew of fishermen, which happened in 1991. I think that the perfect writing skills of Junger embellished it with the makings of a superb thriller. Critics highly evaluated the style and language of The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men ...
All of these authors have different ways of presenting the idea of symbolism. Ernest Hemingway prefers to use two life forms to represent one another. Another author, Kate Chopin compares two objects in their story. Lastly Charlotte Perkins takes symbolism to a different level altogether and compares a living person to a bland object. All of these writings use insightful ideas to present symbolism as a key element of a story to their audiences.