How do I write an essay about symbolism in The Stone Angel?I have to write an essay exploring the symbolism in The Stone Angel, mainly focusing on the Stone Angel and the family pin but also...

How do I write an essay about symbolism in The Stone Angel?

I have to write an essay exploring the symbolism in The Stone Angel, mainly focusing on the Stone Angel and the family pin but also mentioning other symbols in the story.

Do I just talk about the symbols, what is represents and how it relates to the character? I don't know what else to talk about and it has to be 1200 words.

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Writing an essay on symbolism is harder than it sounds; you have to have the symbols in mind and know what they represent to both the reader and the fictional characters. For a 1,200 word essay, you should probably choose no more than three symbols, with only one forming the base of your thesis.

The most important aspect of a symbolism essay is to associate the symbols with the characters, and discuss the how and why of their significance. For example, the family pin represents the unbroken lineage of family to Hagar, but it is simply a bauble to John; the disconnect between those views shows their different interpretations and how meaning is a function of memory and nostalgic importance. Another powerful symbol is the nursing home itself; to Marvin and his wife, it represents a place of care, while to Hagar, it represents impending death. Hagar's resistance to being thought of as "nearly dead" is contrasted with Marvin, who claims to want what is best for her.

Try to write a solid thesis that indirectly refers to your other symbols, but don't shoehorn them all in without something significant to say. See the following links and check the OWL at Purdue for more information. Good luck!

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