A symbol represents something other than itself. The symbol may represent an idea, a person, a place, an object or anything else that has meaning for you.
Symbols can have many different meanings at once. For example, the dove is often used as a symbol of peace and love because it can mate for life and raise its young together. However, it’s also a symbol of war because it was once used by the Romans as a messenger during battle.
Symbols can also represent abstract ideas such as love or hate or even death itself (many times with skulls). The use of symbols in literature allows authors to use fewer words to convey their message clearly and powerfully.
Symbols are also used in literature to create metaphors that help readers understand characters’ feelings and motives. For example, if a character dreams about a black cat, the author could use this as a symbol for something bad happening.
Symbols can also represent universal truths and themes present throughout literature.
When analyzing a work of literature with symbols, it’s important to look at how they’re used throughout the text. You’ll want to pay attention to how they’re presented and what they mean in relation to each other (or not).
Symbolism is often found in poetry and short stories because they allow the writer more flexibility than other forms of writing such as novels or non-fiction books do.