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English Literature ‘Frameworks’ 13: Symbolism

Steph Atkinson | Thursday February 10, 2011

Categories:

Guide Navigation

  1. Close Reading & Textual Analysis
  2. Close Analysis
  3. Openings
  4. Characters and Characterisation
  5. Setting, Places and Scenes
  6. Atmosphere, Mood, Tone and Foreshadowing
  7. Dialogue
  8. Description, Imagery, Figurative Language
  9. Irony
  10. Alternative Interpretations
  11. Narrative
  12. Verisimilitude
  13. Time
  14. Symbolism
  15. Context
  16. Genre

Introduction

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The thirteenth in the EnglishEdu series on ‘frameworks’ for A Level English Literature.

This guide explores how to analyse the symbolism in novels, short stories or prose extracts in order to allow students access to the highest grades.

Symbolism: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The most straightforward way of demonstrating how to closely analyse a text in terms of the theme above is to exemplify it. The extract below is followed by a series of bullet points which demonstrate how to analyse closely using carefully chosen quotations in a variety of ways. These bullet points also include commentaries which aim to explain how and why such sections have been analysed and what they could highlight within the main text, contextually and thematically.

There are, of course, many more things that could be said about each extract, but it’s hoped that it will prove useful in your initial teaching stages to model it using the examples and then to ask students to find other things that they could analyse themselves as well as to consider ‘alternative’ interpretations and to derive possible contextual aspects.

From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

…They went, shutting the door, and locking it behind them.

The red-room was a square chamber, very seldom slept in, I might say never, indeed, unless when a chance influx of visitors at Gateshead Hall rendered it necessary to turn to account all the accommodation it contained…This room was chill, because it seldom had a fire; it was silent, because remote from the nursery and kitchen; solemn, because it was known to be so seldom entered. The house-maid alone came here...


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