You may have already known this, but your English teacher is full of shit. All that symbolism they have you chasing just isn’t there.
You always wondered if your college lit professor was just making crap up.
Turns out, maybe they were.
This article from The Paris Review offers a revealing take by many famous authors on how much symbolism played a part in their work.
Their comments were prompted by a letter from a 16-year-old Bruce McCallister in 1963. He was tired of the constant find-the-symbolism game in English class, so he took it upon himself to ask them what the big deal was with symbolism.
He mailed a simple four-question survey to more than 150 novelists. About half of them responded. The responses were varied, but most of the authors seemed to think symbolism is overanalyzed. Their comments were awesome:
The survey included the following questions:
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