Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Pride

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:

A straight, tall pine or spruce tree
A strutting rooster

In Society:

A freshly washed or waxed car
A parent with her well-groomed/dressed children
Awards, trophies, medals, ribbons
T-shirts bearing team names and slogans
School Jackets
Displaying items with a designer logo or brand
A mother holding her newborn
Flag waving
Army, navy, air force
People clapping and cheering
Award ceremonies
A lifted chin
Someone who is well dressed
Professional manicures, pedicures (especially ornate ones)
The statue of Liberty
Tall, designer buildings
Sports players
Pep rallies
Class rings, Jackets, etc
Status symbols: corner office, name on placard, business cards, student council spot, leading role,club membership, team member
Popularity, having a sought after boyfriend/girlfriend

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Pride. Some are more powerful than others. A screaming crowd cheering for their school football team is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a single tree growing straight and tall may not foreshadow Pride on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.


Susanne Drazic said...

Great examples! Thanks for sharing.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

As I pondered this post, I realized how important viewpoint is in symbols. For instance, letter jackets are a symbol of accomplishment, status, belonging to the elite to many people, but to others they are seen as conformist, arrogant, elitist.

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks Susanne :)

Tricia, I couldn't agree more. Often what clarifies or enhances a symbol is how the POV character feels about it, or how it affects them. :)

Matthew Rush said...

Context can also help to focus or blur a symbol, which is probably pretty obvious.

Angela, have I told you you're brilliant lately? Oh, that was in an email? Well then I'll say it publicly.


Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Your right pride is both good and bad depending on how far it is pushed. Thanks for the new entry.

Deb Salisbury said...

A great list! I was a little surprised there were so few symbols in nature, but I certainly can't think of any more. Everytime I thought I had, it turned out to be a fantasy creature - dragon, phoenix, griffin ... :blush:

Jen said...

What a great post! I loved this. It really is neat to see how all of us interpret words. If you grabbed six people and put them in a different room and asked them what Pride meant, I'm sure you'd get six completely different answers.

I would have never thought about animals, such a lion being the leader of the Pride but with a football game and all of us cheering for support, pride is on the brain!

Great blog!

Medeia Sharif said...

Wonderful examples.

It's interesting to see that I use so many symbols unintentionally.

Bish Denham said...

Thanks Angela. The darkening sky of thickening rain clouds is a good one.

Laura Pauling said...

Thanks! And what a great word to choose after visiting Africa! Welcome back!

C.R. Evers said...

Another awesome entry. You go girl!


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