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Symbolism Speak Unit, 9A. Definition A symbol is a person, place, object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more.

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Presentation on theme: "Symbolism Speak Unit, 9A. Definition A symbol is a person, place, object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more."— Presentation transcript:

1 Symbolism Speak Unit, 9A

2 Definition A symbol is a person, place, object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more abstract nature. An example of a literary symbol could be a child, in a story, dressed in white used to represent innocence or hope.

3 How to determine it Ask yourself these three questions: Does anything appear repeatedly? Often symbols are repeated several times over the course of the story. Are they described with language of emphasis? Could the word have more significance than its literal meaning would suggest?

4 Example in Speak One example of symbolism is the janitor's closet that Melinda hides in during school. It is a place for contemplation and safety, but also of isolation and terror. The empty supply closet at school provides Melinda with a place to reflect on her artwork and her life, take naps, vent her emotions, and escape from mean people at school. This space symbolizes her feeling of alienation and being an outcast — she hides away in this closet to escape from the troubles of her life, and it is the only place she feels free to express herself and escape from the issues around her. It also shows that although she is unable to do it verbally, she actually is able to express herself, and she decorates the space with things that make her happy. An event that takes place in the closet at the end of the story will change the feeling of sanctuary that the closet provides early in the story…

5 Let’s pretend… …that my English teacher wanted me to prove the following: Claim Melinda’s struggles are paralleled by a number of symbols used throughout the novel. I’d like to use the janitor’s closet as my evidence; however, I need to find a quote that proves the janitor’s closet is a symbol.

6 Claim and Evidence At this point, we have our claim and our evidence (properly punctuated in MLA format): Claim Melinda’s struggles are paralleled by a number of symbols used throughout the novel. Evidence

7 Reasoning

8 Symbols in “Speak” Janitor’s closet Changing seasons Changing mascots Art project Melinda’s lips Mr. Freeman Mr. Neck Melinda’s parents Others?....

9 Claim: (the symbol you are discussing) Setup: (introducing the quote) Evidence: (quote in MLA format) Reasoning: (at least three full sentences explaining the evidence and the claim)

10 Claim: (the symbol you are discussing and what it represents) The janitor’s closet represents Melinda’s feelings of isolation and abandonment throughout the novel. Setup: (introducing the quote) When Melinda is trying to hide from Mr. Neck, she discovers the empty maintenance closet and decides to make it her own. When she finds it she thinks, Evidence: (quote in MLA format) “This closet is abandoned – it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me” (26). Reasoning: (at least three full sentences explaining the evidence and the claim) After losing her friends and becoming an outcast among her peers, she feels abandoned by the people around her. The closet is a place she can be alone, and she makes it a home throughout the story. As she starts to feel less alone through the year, she becomes less dependent on the closet.

11 Now you have a paragraph! The janitor’s closet represents Melinda’s feelings of isolation and abandonment throughout the novel. When Melinda is trying to hide from Mr. Neck, she discovers the empty maintenance closet and decides to make it her own. When she finds it she thinks, “This closet is abandoned – it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me” (26). After losing her friends and becoming an outcast among her peers, she feels abandoned by the people around her. The closet is a place she can be alone, and she makes it a home throughout the story. As she starts to feel less alone through the year, she becomes less dependent on the closet.

12 Classwork Find your third symbol Create a claim and find a piece of evidence from the text to support your claim Complete a “Claim Sheet” for the third symbol While you do this, I will call up students individually to conference about the other two claim sheets. If I approve your claim sheets, fill out a new, printed claim sheet for each and turn in your old, handwritten versions.

13 Homework Create a “working” thesis for your essay Thesis = Claim that states how your three symbols represent Melinda’s struggles throughout the novel. (full sentence including each symbol) Example: Essay Prompt: How do Melinda’s relationships with other characters in the novel encourage her personal growth throughout the story? Choose at least three characters to discuss. Thesis: Despite Melinda’s feelings of isolation and despair, she is able to grow emotionally and find her way back to herself through her relationships with David Petrakis, Mr. Freeman, and ironically, Heather from Ohio.


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