It came to the attention of the TRS that we somehow lack a real trope on Symbolism and that Symbolism merely redirects to Rule of Symbolism. This page will not be used to gather examples of symbolism but rather to gather subtropes.
Symbolism is a very old, common and broad trope used to represent an idea, belief, event or other similar things by using a lesser object or event to represent it. For example, the color green will often represent envy and jealousy or red may represent wrath. Objects can symbolize many different things as well: An apple could easily represent temptation, conflict
or knowledge depending on how it's used. In a mundane way, you can even have very common cases like a flag representing a country.
As such a widespread and useful trope for making a point, symbolism has a massive amount of usage and subtropes, so please do not list examples on this page.
- Arc Symbol: A symbol appears over and over again, often with no explanation for what it means until much later.
- Color Motif: Colors often represent complex emotions or ideas such as passion, warmth, wisdom or love.
- Crucified Hero Shot: A character makes a grave sacrifice and ends up with their body positioned as though it were crucified.
- Dying for Symbolism: Death of a characters is death of hope.
- Environmental Symbolism: The setting represents the mood.
- Faux Symbolism: When a trope seems symbolic, but closer examination reveals that it makes no sense.
- Freud Was Right: Whatever it is, it represents sex.
- Gold and White Are Divine: Gold and white are precious, rare and valuable and therefore associated with God or the gods.
- Gold Tooth: The character is wealthy but likely ostentatious and villainous.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: Certain colors indicate morality and personality.
- Heavenly Blue: Divinity or holiness are associated with blue due to the association with the sky.
- Messianic Archetype: This guy represents Jesus.
- Phallic Weapon: Weapons represent penises.
- Purple Is Powerful: Purple is regal, powerful and amazing.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red eyes are unnatural and red is a color with a mixed reputation, making red eyes dangerous.
- Red Is Heroic: Red is associated with blood, masculinity and power, so heroes often wear red.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Reptiles are associated with villainy.
- Rule of Symbolism: When symbolism is used in a manner that would otherwise break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief but is swallowed by the reader because it gets across the real point so well.
- Something Else Also Rises: Something represents an erection or arousal.
- Stock Monster Symbolism: Certain monsters represent certain fears like drug addiction or STDs.
- Supernatural Is Purple: Magical things are often purple to represent their mystique.
- Surreal Symbolic Heads: A person's head is replaced by something bizarre and meaningful.
- Symbolic Blood: It's not blood... technically.
- Symbolic Mutilation: A missing body part or injury reveals something about the character.
- Symbol Motif Clothing: A character's clothing regularly represents something important about them.
- World of Symbolism: The story is built out of symbolism. Reading it literally is a waste of your time.