What Are Some Commonly Used Literary Symbols?


Quick Answer

Some commonly used literary symbols include biblical imagery such as water and fire, and natural symbols such as mountains or sun. Writers also commonly use colors and numbers with significance.

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Water often signifies rebirth or renewal because of its association with baptism. Fire might symbolize destruction or hell, but it also signifies a new start or transformation. Natural symbolism in literature often includes using mountains to symbolize strength or ambition, rivers to allude to change, and the sun to signify knowledge or awakening.

Numbers associated with biblical imagery are common, such as three to signify the three parts of the divine trinity or the three elements that make up man, including the mind, body and spirit. Writers sometimes use colors as literary symbols for emotions. For example, red is usually the color of passion or violence, while white often portrays innocence or purity.

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