Why should We Use Metaphor and Symbolism?

Is symbolism necessary? Are metaphor’s necessary? Things tying in to our present lives, and the world around us can make for an interesting read. A man struggling to keep his own beliefs against a domineering faith could easily reflect minorities dealing with increasing Christian pressures in America. Yet, is that what the author intended?

I ask this question, in hopes of getting some answers. I mostly ask, because it doesn’t seem to matter. When Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn, he put at the beginning that we shouldn’t look for symbolism in the book, because there is none. Yet, in school, the first thing a teacher will do, is point out the symbolism. When Gary Paulsen was interviewed after Hatchet took off, people asked about all of the symbolism. He just shrugged and said none of it was intentional. He never meant for any of it, and just wanted to write a story.

So, are metaphors and symbolism needed? Or are they maybe something we seen in works as a reflection of the author’s time and experience, that were never intended? Surely there are some that are purposely placed in there, but I can’t help wondering…


About writing underdog

I'm an aspiring writer of fantasy and science fiction. I graduated from a university with a degree in Writing and a minor in Philosophy. I try to learn a little about everything. I hope to update regularly, meaning at least once per week. View all posts by writing underdog

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