Student Question

Discuss the importance of symbols in works by Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

We might argue that the best known works of each of these three writers employ a primary or central symbol which anchors both the plot and the meaning of the work. 

"The Raven", The Scarlet Letter and Moby Dick each use a significant and central symbol and the meaning of this symbol (the raven, the letter and the whale) is discussed directly in the text.

We might say then that the importance of symbols is nearly equal to the importance of the story/narrative itself, if not more important.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial