– publishes two posts as self-punishment for not blogging yesterday during NaBoPoMo –
Today’s Daily Prompt: Flames
Fire is one of my favourite literary symbols. It can stand for so many things: destruction, anger, passion, warmth, and hope (just to name a few).
When flames engulf a house, we feel terror and devastation. When flames light up inside of us, we feel a burning sense of hatred or love. When we light a bonfire, we feel connected to the other people sitting in the circle. Or if we are stranded on a desert island, flames become a symbol of survival. If we see a tiny flame flickering in the dark, we pray and dream.
When a fire is distinguished, we may feel burnt out. When a fire dies between two people, we may feel a dullness. When the spark in our eyes fade away, we may feel unmotivated. Sometimes if there is no fire, we feel calm and peaceful.
There are so many meanings a flame can represent depending on the context, and I like how the meanings can be so directly opposite. Destruction and hope? Anger and love? How can one thing mean both things and make so much sense at the same time?
I know when you’re in school doing novel study, you roll your eyes when the teacher says stuff like, “And here these black curtains in his room symbolizes the darkness and emptiness he feels from the outside world, blah blah blah.” We scoff at the constant digging of symbols, the notion that there must be something deeper the author is trying to tell us. Well, maybe he has black curtains just because. Maybe they don’t mean anything – maybe they are just what they are: the color, black.
I get how ridiculous literary analysis can be when you just aren’t into the story. Sometimes it is true – this candle on the piano top in this chapter means nothing to the development of the story, main character, or you as a reader. But when it does mean something to you, when you catch on to it, and when you see it pop up throughout the novel again and again, each time reminding you of something or making you feel a certain emotion, then let it.
There are so many things in our world that can evoke certain feelings and connotations. I think this is what makes something seemingly ordinary – a flame, a pen, a random sock on the floor – special, just like how we all have certain things that are special to us and maybe not to others.