The Important Role of Symbol

Symbolism is no mere idle fancy or corrupt E-generation: it is inherent in the very texture of human life.”- Arnold Whitehead. In literary works, symbols are crucial in communicating, the main ideas and identifying what is occurring in the story. The actions of characters are amongst the most important symbols, they provide deep and insightful information towards. Outside of stories, someone can learn a lot about someone based on their actions; such as if they are kicking and punching things, one can assume that something is not right with the person. In Romeo and Juliet, symbols played an important part in identifying Juliet's emotions after Romeo’s death. (find a quote of Juliet stabbing herself). Because of her action, one can assume that she was not in a proper state of mind, because of her impulsive decision. In a variety of literary works, symbols are used to establish the mental state of characters based on their actions.
In the short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates, Connie’s panic attack reveals her scared state of mind. After the devilish Arnold's friend began to press forwards and began to become more hostile towards Connie, with threats to hurt her family if she doesn’t go with him. Connie runs to the kitchen out of fear and tries to call the police, but is unsuccessful because Arnold had already cut the telephone wire. Connie then spirals into a panic attack “She began to scream into the phone, into the roaring. She cried out, she cried out for her mother, she felt her breath jerking back and forth in her lungs as if it were something Arnold Friend was stabbing her with again and again with no tenderness” (Oates 353). Her panic attack symbolized her fear. Her continuous screaming with no answer establishes that she is becoming afraid scared and is in need of assistance, but when she realizes that she is fully alone and there is no one to come and save her and she cannot overpower the muscular man in front of her she begins to enter her fight or flight mode. Because of her fear, Connie begins to breathe faster and keeps screaming which creates an aura, of her being trapped.
Also, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, used Janes actions are used to demonstrate her declining mental state. After some time in isolation and the rest cure, Jane begins to act strange until eventually, she reaches a point of insanity. After constantly inspecting a wall for weeks on end, Jane starts to create weird ideas such as the women in the wall and begins asking bizarre questions such as “I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?”(Gilman 186) about the wall. These weird questions illustrate a strange and crazy image of Jane. Since no sane person would even question if people come out of wallpaper, it would be safe to assume that Jane isn’t really in a sane state of mind. Also when Jane rips off the wallpaper “And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back” (Gilman 187), it is quite accurate to assume that her mental state is completely out of whack. No person in their right mind would ever pull down wallpaper, and believe that they are destroying some sort of portal into the wallpaper land or something along those lines, leading the reader to believe that Jane's mental state is not correct and that she is insane.
In multiple texts, symbols were used to establish the mental state of characters based on their actions. Most actions are used to symbolize change or something more than just taking off the wallpaper. In texts such as the Yellow Wallpaper, it is very prevalent since the actions did are very dramatic and symbolize a very clear mental change. But in some texts such as "The Things They Carried" the burning of a picture was used to symbolize the change in one's mindset while not being as obvious and crazy as ripping down wallpaper and it did not show a clear mind change, they both carry the same value and importance. 2019-11-20 19:44:27
Fairytales and Disney Princesses grab a lot of kid's attention when mentioned. Researchers from Brigham Young University did a study on 198 preschoolers and found that “98% of girls and 87% of boys had viewed Disney princess media” (Kirsten Slayer). Fairytales are still widely popular bedtime stories and have been told to kids for centuries. This being said it’s safe to say that parents read their kids fairytales or let them grow familiar with the Disney princesses: Thinking that they are going to learn a valuable lesson or even look up to the characters as a role model however this couldn’t be farther from the truth. First will be the problems that fairytales and princesses cause with self-image, next would be how they affect the reality that kids perceive to be true; following, would be how Disney tries to hide what the original fairytales were actually about.; and lastly, how fairytales are sometimes too scary for children. While fairytales and the Disney twist on fairytales help children have an outlet, the negative impact on children's life outweighs the good.
Fairytales are “the inspiration behind the box office hits that indoctrinate our childhood” (Oliva Petter). These fairytales and the Disney remakes despite having drastic changes from short story to a long movie. They have relatively no change in how negative their effect on young kid's body image and the way they view themselves. These problems with body image have been even more prevalent in the Disney remakes because they are more desirable to young kids than fairytales are. What do the original Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella have in common in both the fairytales and the Disney movies; “Asides from their porcelain skin and inexplicably glossy hair, they are a heroic prince charming figure”(Petter). Young girls reading these stories hear about these white and thin and that’s how they are able to attract these charming princes and it can't be a coincidence that “90% of teens with anorexia are females and the majority of cases the teen is white”(Teenhelp), these young girls hear the stories and try so hard to match the image of what Disney calls a princess that they are willing to harm their selves. Young girls begin to view themselves as damsels in distress that can only have happy ever after if saved by a man. Society has this view that princesses must be slim and able to attract men from all around the world. Thus, having kids grow up without having ever seen an overweight yet smart and kind princess or do they ever see a man of no status save a princess. Doing so puts the princess effect into action, the princess effect is when a young girl is talking about a princess, they will almost always characterize her with being beautiful and the child will only say that because of her appearance and not how that person truly is on the inside. This creates a problem because that young girl will grow up thinking beauty is your outward appearance. Next, she will start to think that her skin isn't smooth enough or her hair is not silky enough. That young girl will soon start saying things like I wish I was as pretty as this princess or start asking am I beautiful. The list of negatives is not shorter for young boys either. They grow up thinking that their role in life is to try to save this young girl from the troubles in her life, while this girl might not need saving the boy will push his way into her life. They think that they must be a in charge prince that is willing to face a dragon to save a princess when actually the princess might need to save the prince.
Additionally, fairytales and Disney alter people's reality and it makes people think that their lives should follow a set-in stone plan. “Fairytales only show the characters riding off into the sunset” (Elizabeth Danish). But they fail to shoe what happens when the sun rises the next do or when they have their first fight. Fairytales and Disney movies have this fantasy land that kids get lost in and then get disappointed when their lives don’t turn out that way. “Many women waiting out for their man that fits the image of ‘Prince Charming’ and who will ride in on a steed and rescue them” (Danish), and they will walk over the guys who are trying to get to know them but don’t match the image of the guy she has in mind. Another thing that is in the fantasy land of fairytales are the magic mirrors on the wall or the magic and witchcraft that the character use to either hurt people or find their way through life. By putting those aspect on the front burner and not letting the character use their own skills to help them through the situation, teaches kids that they need magical help to get them through a tough problem. The fairytales that kids are told also normalizes getting your happy ever after in a huge castle with maids and everything coming together, but they don’t normalize paying bills or having to get a job and maybe even settling for a small house because it is all that you can afford at the time. Kids learn this when they are younger, and it follows them into adult hood when they finally start to realize that life is not a fairytale. The fairytales kids hear fill their minds with false hope of what their true happiness will be. They think that they are waiting for prince charming when in reality he is a cashier at the local grocery store and that beautiful white horse you want him to ride up on is actually a 19-year-old beat up white Honda. This attitude on how guys are supposed to be this strong manly figure puts pressure on the guys of today to strive to find their princess and get married so they can live happily ever after. This is so far from the truth we live in a world where people are getting married later in life and believing they do not need another person to make them happy
Furthermore, the new version of stories that are told to kids are a lot more “Hollywood” than their original counterparts. The new stories that are told end in happy ever after, that is very far from the truth. Take Cinderella for example in the new version at the end of the story, the shoe fits Cinderella and her and the Prince live happily ever after however, in the “oldest version of the story, the slightly more sinister Cinderella actually kills her first stepmother so that her father will marry the housekeeper” (Stacy Conradt). Another example is Sleeping Beautiful and “in the original version of the tale, it’s not the kiss of a handsome prince that wakes Sleeping Beauty, but the nudging of her newborn twins” (Conradt), instead of in the new version when she was a woken by a gentle kiss from a prince, she was “unconscious, the princess is impregnated by a monarch and wakes up to find out she's a mom twice over” (Conradt). That is just another example of how Disney tries to hide the original version of the story's kids have drilled into their brains. Lastly, is The Little Mermaid and kids being “likely familiar with the Disney version of The Little Mermaid in which Ariel and her sassy crab friend, Sebastian, overcome the wicked sea witch, and Ariel swims off to marry the man of her dreams” (Conradt). That is the story that the kids from today know and love, but do they know what happens in the original version of the story. Where “in Hans Christian Andersen's original tale, the title character can only come to land if she drinks a potion that makes it feel like she is walking on knives at all times. She does this and you would expect her selfless act to end with the two of them getting married.” (Conradt), like how every story our kids know today. “Nope, the prince marries a different woman, and The Little Mermaid throws herself into the sea, where her body turns into sea foam” (Conradt). The original versions of story's are much deeper and could actually harm kids more than they could help them. When kids read these original stories, they might act like these characters do, not that they would go as far as to kill someone but in a similar way that the original little mermaid tried to be excepted and would rather cause herself pain then be herself; a kid might harm themselves or do illegal activity to fit into a group of people.
Lastly, some fairytales are just too scary from children to hear.
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