Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Safety or Refuge

Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer's advantage by planting symbols in the reader's path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.

Look at the setting and the character's state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character's emotional plight?

In Nature:

High ground--ridge, cliff, tree
Enclosed, defensible space: cave, crevasse
Treeline across a open space
Holes to hide in
Desert oasis
Nests
Forests
Presence of others (the pack, flock, animal family or group)
Firm ground
Animal burrows
Cocoons
The shelter of tree branches during a storm
A rock overhang
Shallows (river, lake, etc)
Shoreline
Darkness
Trails, tracks
Rock handholds, footholds
Close proximity to a food or water source

In Society:

Car
House
Locker
School Office
Crowds
Street lights
Books/reading
Well lit stores
Bank vaults
Locks
Alarms
Locked or even closed doors
Family
Parents
Friends
Being hugged, held
A warm blanket
Weapons close at hand
Phones
Banks
Police station
Crosswalks
Fire
Bus shelter
Umbrellas
Candles
Flashlight
Personal bedroom
Closet/under the bed
Headphones/music
Library
Homeless shelter
A house with lights on
Church
Restaurant booth
Corners
Back to a wall
Panic Room
Bars on a window
Fences, chains, barbed wire, sensors, railings
Bank account, investments, mutual funds, RRSPs
Insurance (home, auto, life)
Stocked pantry, full fridge
An extra layer of clothing (jacket draped over shoulders, etc)
Bathroom (home)
Bathroom stall (public washroom)
Well populated areas
Shoreline
Boats
Life preserver, life jacket

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Safety or Refuge. Some are more powerful than others. One's own bedroom is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a bird's nest may not foreshadow safety or refuge on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.

10 comments:

SWK said...

A perfect post to start my writing day! I find that when I connect to an image that reflects my mc's sense of self, their anxieties, or another aspect of their personality, it tends to bring the story to a new level. Exploring this type of imagery (even if it doesn't wind up in the final draft) is an essential part of character-building for me. Love following your blog! Stasia

Susanne Drazic said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing!

Tahereh said...

you always amaze me with your posts.

thank you!!

Karen Lange said...

Your blog is a treasure trove of info and goodies! Have a wonderful weekend:)
Blessings,
Karen

Julie Musil said...

"A house with lights on"

So perfect, and I wouldn't have thought of that.

Jaleh D said...

Your posts never cease to provide new things to consider. Fascinating.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

What a great writing exercise! It's a great idea to do with your characters. :)

Angela Ackerman said...

Glad this list helps! If anyone has something you'd like to see symbolized, please do let me know! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL. In my novel, forests and darkness are definitely NOT refuge for my mc. ;)

Great post as usual, Angela!

Jan Markley said...

great collection of words. thanks for breaking it down for us!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...